An interferon-like small chemical compound CDM-3008 suppresses hepatitis B virus through induction of interferon-stimulated genes

PLoS One. 2019 Jun 12;14(6):e0216139. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216139. eCollection 2019.


Oral administration of nucleotide analogues and injection of interferon-α (IFNα) are used to achieve immediate suppression in replication of hepatitis B virus (HBV). Nucleotide analogs and IFNα inhibit viral polymerase activity and cause long-term eradication of the virus at least in part through removing covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) via induction of the APOBEC3 deaminases family of molecules, respectively. This study aimed to explore whether the orally administrable low molecular weight agent CDM-3008 (RO8191), which mimics IFNα through the binding to IFNα/β receptor 2 (IFNAR2) and the activation of the JAK/STAT pathway, can suppress HBV replication and reduce cccDNA levels. In primary cultured human hepatocytes, HBV DNA levels were decreased after CDM-3008-treatment in a dose-dependent manner with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) value of 0.1 μM, and this was accompanied by significant reductions in cellular cccDNA levels, both HBeAg and HBsAg levels in the cell culture medium. Using a microarray we comprehensively analyzed and compared changes in gene (mRNA) expression in CDM-3008- and IFNα-treated primary cultured human hepatocytes. As reported previously, CDM-3008 mimicked the induction of genes that participate in the interferon signaling pathway. OAS1 and ISG20 mRNA expression was similarly enhanced by both CDM-3008 and IFNα. Thus, CDM-3008 could suppress pgRNA expression to show anti-HBV activity. APOBEC3F and 3G mRNA expression was also induced by CDM-3008 and IFNα treatments, suggesting that cccDNA could be degraded through induced APOBEC3 family proteins. We identified the genes whose expression was specifically enhanced in CDM-3008-treated cells compared to IFNα-treated cells. The expression of SOCS1, SOCS2, SOCS3, and CISH, which inhibit STAT activation, was enhanced in CDM-3008-treated cells suggesting that a feedback inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway was enhanced in CDM-3008-treated cells compared to IFNα-treated cells. In addition, CDM-3008 showed an additive effect with a clinically-used nucleoside entecavir on inhibition of HBV replication. In summary, CDM-3008 showed anti-HBV activity through activation of the JAK/STAT pathway, inducing the expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), with greater feedback inhibition than IFNα.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA, Viral / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Hepatitis B virus / drug effects*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Hepatocytes / virology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / pharmacology*
  • Molecular Mimicry
  • Naphthyridines / pharmacology*
  • Oxadiazoles / pharmacology*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • CDM-3008
  • DNA, Viral
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Naphthyridines
  • Oxadiazoles
  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases

Grant support

This work was supported by Research on the Innovative Development and the Practical Application of New Drugs for Hepatitis B Grant JP17fk0310112 (S.K.), JP18fk0310112 (S.K.), JP17fk03101120401 (H.K.), and JP18fk03101120002 (H.K.) from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, and partly supported by Gilead Sciences Research Grant (Y.F.). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.