Noncompetitive inhibition of hepatitis B virus reverse transcriptase protein priming and DNA synthesis by the nucleoside analog clevudine

Scott A. Jones, Eisuke Murakami, William Delaney, Phillip Furman, Jianming Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


All currently approved antiviral drugs for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI), which inhibit the DNA synthesis activity of the HBV polymerase. The polymerase is a unique reverse transcriptase (RT) that has a novel protein priming activity in which HP initiates viral DNA synthesis using itself as a protein primer. We have determined the ability of NRTI-triphosphates (TP) to inhibit HBV protein priming and their mechanisms of action. While entecavir-TP (a dGTP analog) inhibited protein priming initiated specifically with dGTP, clevudine-TP (a TTP analog) was able to inhibit protein priming independently of the deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) substrate and without being incorporated into DNA. We next investigated the effect of NRTIs on the second stage of protein priming, wherein two dAMP nucleotides are added to the initial deoxyguanosine nucleotide. The obtained results indicated that clevudine-TP as well as tenofovir DF-DP strongly inhibited the second stage of protein priming. Tenofovir DF-DP was incorporated into the viral DNA primer, whereas clevudine-TP inhibited the second stage of priming without being incorporated. Finally, kinetic analyses using the HBV endogenous polymerase assay revealed that clevudine-TP inhibited DNA chain elongation by HP in a noncompetitive manner. Thus, clevudine-TP appears to have the unique ability to inhibit HBV RT via binding to and distorting the HP active site, sharing properties with both NRTIs and nonnucleoside RT inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4181-4189
Number of pages9
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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