Treatment of chronic hepadnavirus infection in a woodchuck animal model with an inhibitor of protein folding and trafficking

Nat Med. 1998 May;4(5):610-4. doi: 10.1038/nm0598-610.


A novel strategy for anti-viral intervention of hepatitis B virus (HBV) through the disruption of the proper folding and transport of the hepadnavirus glycoproteins is described. Laboratory reared woodchucks chronically infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) were treated with N-nonyl-deoxynojirimycin (N-nonyl-DNJ), an inhibitor of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) alpha-glucosidases. The woodchucks experienced significant dose dependent decreases in enveloped WHV, resulting in undetectable amounts in some cases. The reduction in viremia correlated with the levels of hyperglucosylated glycan in the serum of treated animals. This correlation supports the mechanism of action associated with the drug and highlights the extreme sensitivity of the virus to this type of glycan inhibitor. At N-nonyl-DNJ concentrations that prevented WHV secretion, the glycosylation of most serum glycoproteins appeared unaffected, suggesting great selectivity for this class of therapeutics. Indeed, this may account for the low toxicity of the compound over the treatment period. We provide the first evidence that glucosidase inhibitors can be used in vivo to alter specific steps in the N-linked glycosylation pathway and that this inhibition has anti-viral effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Deoxynojirimycin / analogs & derivatives*
  • 1-Deoxynojirimycin / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / enzymology
  • Glucosides / blood
  • Glycoside Hydrolase Inhibitors*
  • Glycosylation
  • Hepatitis B Virus, Woodchuck / drug effects*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / therapy
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / veterinary*
  • Mannosides / blood
  • Marmota
  • Oligosaccharides / blood
  • Protein Folding
  • Rodent Diseases / therapy*
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Glucosides
  • Glycoside Hydrolase Inhibitors
  • Mannosides
  • N-nonyl-1-deoxynojirimycin
  • Oligosaccharides
  • 1-Deoxynojirimycin