5-(Perylen-3-yl)ethynyl-arabino-uridine (aUY11), an arabino-based rigid amphipathic fusion inhibitor, targets virion envelope lipids to inhibit fusion of influenza virus, hepatitis C virus, and other enveloped viruses

J Virol. 2013 Apr;87(7):3640-54. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02882-12. Epub 2013 Jan 2.


Entry of enveloped viruses requires fusion of viral and cellular membranes. Fusion requires the formation of an intermediate stalk structure, in which only the outer leaflets are fused. The stalk structure, in turn, requires the lipid bilayer of the envelope to bend into negative curvature. This process is inhibited by enrichment in the outer leaflet of lipids with larger polar headgroups, which favor positive curvature. Accordingly, phospholipids with such shape inhibit viral fusion. We previously identified a compound, 5-(perylen-3-yl)ethynyl-2'-deoxy-uridine (dUY11), with overall shape and amphipathicity similar to those of these phospholipids. dUY11 inhibited the formation of the negative curvature necessary for stalk formation and the fusion of a model enveloped virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). We proposed that dUY11 acted by biophysical mechanisms as a result of its shape and amphipathicity. To test this model, we have now characterized the mechanisms against influenza virus and HCV of 5-(perylen-3-yl)ethynyl-arabino-uridine (aUY11), which has shape and amphipathicity similar to those of dUY11 but contains an arabino-nucleoside. aUY11 interacted with envelope lipids to inhibit the infectivity of influenza virus, hepatitis C virus (HCV), herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1/2), and other enveloped viruses. It specifically inhibited the fusion of influenza virus, HCV, VSV, and even protein-free liposomes to cells. Furthermore, aUY11 inhibited the formation of negative curvature in model lipid bilayers. In summary, the arabino-derived aUY11 and the deoxy-derived dUY11 act by the same antiviral mechanisms against several enveloped but otherwise unrelated viruses. Therefore, chemically unrelated compounds of appropriate shape and amphipathicity target virion envelope lipids to inhibit formation of the negative curvature required for fusion, inhibiting infectivity by biophysical, not biochemical, mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Dogs
  • Hepacivirus / drug effects*
  • Influenza A virus / drug effects*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Liposomes
  • Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Peptides
  • Perylene / analogs & derivatives*
  • Perylene / pharmacology
  • Species Specificity
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Uridine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Uridine / pharmacology
  • Vero Cells
  • Virus Internalization / drug effects*


  • 5-(perylen-3-yl)ethynylarabinouridine
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Liposomes
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Peptides
  • R18 peptide
  • viral envelope lipids
  • Perylene
  • Uridine