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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Distinct thymidine kinases encoded by cowpox virus and herpes simplex virus contribute significantly to the differential antiviral activity of nucleoside analogs.

Orthopoxviruses and herpesviruses are both large enveloped DNA viruses, yet these virus families exhibit very different susceptibilities to antiviral drugs. We investigated the activation of nucleoside analogs by the types I and II thymidine kinase ( TK) homologs expressed by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and cowpox virus (CV). Antiviral activity against TK(-) and TK(+) strains of HSV-1 and CV was determined, and the ratio of the EC(50) values was used as a measurement of TK dependence. As to HSV-1, most of the selected compounds were markedly less effective against the TK(-) strains, suggesting that this enzyme was required for the activation of these nucleoside analogs. This differs from the results for CV where only idoxuridine and bromodeoxyuridine appeared to be activated, putatively by the type II TK expressed by this virus. These data confirm that the type II TK encoded by CV exhibits a more limited substrate specificity than the type I TK encoded by HSV-1. These data suggest that the inefficient activation of nucleoside analogs by the orthopoxvirus TK significantly limits their activity. Additional screening against orthopoxviruses will be required to identify nucleoside analogs that are efficiently activated by their type II TK.[1]


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