Replication of human coronaviruses SARS-CoV, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E is inhibited by the drug FK506

Virus Res. 2012 Apr;165(1):112-7. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2012.02.002. Epub 2012 Feb 10.


Recent research has shown that Coronavirus (CoV) replication depends on active immunophilin pathways. Here we demonstrate that the drug FK506 (Tacrolimus) inhibited strongly the growth of human coronaviruses SARS-CoV, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E at low, non-cytotoxic concentrations in cell culture. As shown by plaque titration, qPCR, Luciferase- and green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene expression, replication was diminished by several orders of magnitude. Knockdown of the cellular FK506-binding proteins FKBP1A and FKBP1B in CaCo2 cells prevented replication of HCoV-NL63, suggesting the requirement of these members of the immunophilin family for virus growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Coronavirus 229E, Human / drug effects*
  • Coronavirus 229E, Human / physiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / genetics
  • Coronavirus Infections / metabolism
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Coronavirus NL63, Human / drug effects*
  • Coronavirus NL63, Human / physiology
  • Humans
  • SARS Virus / drug effects*
  • SARS Virus / physiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / genetics
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / metabolism
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Tacrolimus / pharmacology*
  • Tacrolimus Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Tacrolimus Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Tacrolimus Binding Proteins
  • Tacrolimus