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Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society (BKCS)

ISSN 0253-2964(Print)
ISSN 1229-5949(Online)
Volume 26, Number 2
BKCSDE 26(2)
February 20, 2005 

Purification and Characterization of HCV RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase from Korean Genotype 1b Isolate: Implications for Discovery of HCV Polymerase Inhibitors
Jeongmin Kim*, Mikyoung Lee, Yong-Zu Kim
HCV, Polymerase, Inhibitor
The nonstructural protein 5B (NS5B) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), which is the essential catalytic enzyme for the viral replication and is an appealing target for the development of new therapeutic agents against HCV infection. A small amount of serum from a single patient with hepatitis C was used to get the genome of a Korean HCV isolate. Sequence analysis of NS5B 1701 nucleotides showed the genotype of a Korean isolate to be subtype 1b. The soluble recombinant HCV NS5B polymerase lacking the C-terminal 24 amino acids was expressed and purified to homogeneity. With the highly purified NS5B protein, we established in vitro systems for RdRp activity to identify potential polymerase inhibitors. The rhodanine family compounds were found to be potent and specific inhibitors of NS5B from high throughput screening (HTS) assay utilizing the scintillation proximity assay (SPA) system. The binding mode of an inhibitor was analyzed by measuring various kinetic parameters. Lineweaver-Burk plots of the inhibitor suggested it binds not to the active site of NS5B polymerase, but to an allosteric site of the enzyme. The activity of NS5B in in vitro polymerase reactions with homopolymeric RNA requires interaction with multiple substrates that include a template/primer and ribonucleotide triphosphate. Steady-state kinetic parameter, such as Km, was determined for the ribonucleotide triphosphate. One of compounds found interacts directly with the viral polymerase and inhibits RNA synthesis in a manner noncompetitively with respect to UTP. Furthermore, we also investigated the ability of the compound to inhibit NS5B-directed viral RNA replication using the Huh7 cell-based HCV replicon system. The investigation is potentially very useful for the utility of such compounds as anti-hepatitic agents.
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