Fexaramine as an entry blocker for feline caliciviruses

Antiviral Res. 2018 Apr;152:76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2018.02.009. Epub 2018 Feb 15.


Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a small non-enveloped virus containing a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA genome of approximately 7.7 kb. FCV is a highly infectious pathogen of cats and typically causes moderate, self-limiting acute oral and upper respiratory tract diseases or chronic oral diseases. In addition, in recent years, virulent, systemic FCV (vs-FCV) strains causing severe systemic diseases with a high mortality rate of up to 67% have been reported in cats. Although FCV vaccines are commercially available, their efficacy is limited due to antigenic diversity of FCV strains and short duration of immunity. In this study, we identified fexaramine as a potent inhibitor of FCV including vs-FCV strains in cell culture and demonstrated that fexaramine is a entry blocker for FCV by using various experiments including time-of-addition studies, generation of resistant viruses in cell culture and the reverse genetics system. A fexaramine resistant FCV mutant has a single amino acid change in the P2 domain of VP1 (the major capsid), and the importance of this mutation for conferring resistance was confirmed using the reverse genetics system. A comparative analysis of viral resistance was also performed using a peptidyl inhibitor (NPI52) targeting FCV 3C-like protease. Finally, the effects of combination treatment of fexaramine and NPI52 against FCV replication and emergence of resistant viruses were investigated in cell culture.

Keywords: Combination treatment; Entry blocker; Feline calicivirus; Fexaramine; Virus resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzene Derivatives / pharmacology*
  • Caliciviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Caliciviridae Infections / virology
  • Calicivirus, Feline / drug effects*
  • Calicivirus, Feline / genetics
  • Calicivirus, Feline / physiology
  • Capsid Proteins / genetics
  • Capsid Proteins / metabolism
  • Cat Diseases / virology*
  • Cats
  • Cell Line
  • Virus Internalization / drug effects*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Benzene Derivatives
  • Capsid Proteins
  • fexaramine