C7-Substituted 2-hydroxyisoquinoline-1,3-diones inhibit the strand transfer of HIV integrase (IN) and the reverse-transcriptase-associated ribonuclease H (RNH). Hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS5B polymerase shares a similar active site fold to RNH and IN, suggesting that N-hydroxyimides could be useful inhibitor scaffolds of HCV via targeting the NS5B. Herein we describe the design, chemical synthesis, replicon and biochemical assays, and molecular docking of C-6 or C-7 aryl substituted 2-hydroxyisoquinoline-1,3-diones as novel HCV inhibitors. The synthesis involved an improved and clean cyclization method, which allowed the convenient preparation of various analogs. Biological studies revealed that the C-6 analogs, a previously unknown chemotype, consistently inhibit both HCV replicon and recombinant NS5B at low micromolar range. Molecular modeling studies suggest that these inhibitors may bind to the NS5B active site.
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