Human Papillomavirus G-Rich Regions as Potential Antiviral Drug Targets

Josué Carvalho, Jéssica Lopes-Nunes, Maria Paula Cabral Campello, António Paulo, Janice Milici, Craig Meyers, Jean Louis Mergny, Gilmar F. Salgado, João A. Queiroz, Carla Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Herein, we report, for the first time, the screening of several ligands in terms of their ability to bind and stabilize G-quadruplexes (G4) found in seven human Papillomavirus (HPV) genomes. Using a variety of biophysical assays, HPV G-quadruplexes were shown to possess a high degree of structural polymorphism upon ligand binding, which may have an impact on transcription, replication, and viral protein production. A sequence found in high-risk HPV16 genotype folds into multiple non-canonical DNA structures; it was converted into a major G4 conformation upon interaction with a well-characterized highly selective G4 ligand, PhenDC3, which may have an impact on the viral infection. Likewise, HPV57 and 58, which fold into multiple G4 structures, were found to form single stable complexes in the presence of two other G4 ligands, C8 and pyridostatin, respectively. In addition, one of the selected compounds, the acridine derivative C8, demonstrated a significant antiviral effect in HPV18-infected organotypic raft cultures. Altogether, these results indicate that targeting HPV G4s may be an alternative route for the development of novel antiviral therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-81
Number of pages14
JournalNucleic Acid Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Drug Discovery


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