An AZT Analog with Strongly Pairing Ethynylpyridone Nucleobase and Its Antiviral Activity against HSV1
Challenges resulting from novel viruses or new strains of known viruses call for new antiviral agents. Nucleoside analogs that act as inhibitors of viral polymerases are an attractive class of antivirals. For nucleosides containing thymine, base pairing is weak, making it desirable to identify nucleobase analogs that pair more strongly with adenine, in order to compete successfully with the natural substrate. We have recently described a new class of strongly binding thymidine analogs that contain an ethynylmethylpyridone as base and a C-nucleosidic linkage to the deoxyribose. Here we report the synthesis of the 3'-azido-2',3'-deoxyribose derivative of this compound, dubbed AZW, both as free nucleoside and as ProTide phosphoramidate. As a proof of principle, we studied the activity against Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1). Whereas the ProTide phosphoramidate suffered from low solubility, the free nucleoside showed a stronger inhibitory effect than that of AZT in a plaque reduction assay. This suggests that strongly pairing C-nucleoside analogs of pyrimidines have the potential to become active pharmaceutical ingredients with antiviral activity.