Translation of Mycobacterium survival strategy to develop a lipo-peptide based fusion inhibitor
The entry of enveloped viruses requires the fusion of viral and host cell membranes. An effective fusion inhibitor aiming at impeding such membrane fusion may emerge as a broad-spectrum antiviral agent against a wide range of viral infections. Mycobacterium survives inside the phagosome by inhibiting phagosome-lysosome fusion with the help of a coat protein coronin 1. Structural analysis of coronin 1 and other WD40-repeat protein suggest that the trp-asp (WD) sequence is placed at distorted β-meander motif (more exposed) in coronin 1. The unique structural feature of coronin 1 was explored to identify a simple lipo-peptide sequence (myr-WD), which effectively inhibits membrane fusion by modulating the interfacial order, water penetration, and surface potential. The mycobacterium inspired lipo-dipeptide was successfully tested to combat type 1 influenza virus (H1N1) and murine coronavirus infections as a 'potential broad-spectrum' antiviral agent.