Identification of Novel Non-Nucleoside Inhibitors of Zika Virus NS5 Protein Targeting MTase Activity

Int J Mol Sci. 2024 Feb 19;25(4):2437. doi: 10.3390/ijms25042437.


Zika virus (ZIKV) is a positive-sense single-stranded virus member of the Flaviviridae family. Among other arboviruses, ZIKV can cause neurological disorders such as Guillain Barré syndrome, and it can have congenital neurological manifestations and affect fertility. ZIKV nonstructural protein 5 (NS5) is essential for viral replication and limiting host immune detection. Herein, we performed virtual screening to identify novel small-molecule inhibitors of the ZIKV NS5 methyltransferase (MTase) domain. Compounds were tested against the MTases of both ZIKV and DENV, demonstrating good inhibitory activities against ZIKV MTase. Extensive molecular dynamic studies conducted on the series led us to identify other derivatives with improved activity against the MTase and limiting ZIKV infection with an increased selectivity index. Preliminary pharmacokinetic parameters have been determined, revealing excellent stability over time. Preliminary in vivo toxicity studies demonstrated that the hit compound 17 is well tolerated after acute administration. Our results provide the basis for further optimization studies on novel non-nucleoside MTase inhibitors.

Keywords: DENV; LD50; NS5; ZIKV; antiviral agents; non-nucleoside inhibitors.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism
  • Zika Virus Infection* / drug therapy
  • Zika Virus* / metabolism


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins