Ergosterol peroxide blocks HDV infection as a novel entry inhibitor by targeting human NTCP receptor

Wei Chung Chiou, Yi Syuan Lyu, Tzu Lan Hsia, Jui Chieh Chen, Lie Chwen Lin, Ming Fu Chang, Meng Shiuan Hsu*, Cheng Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hepatitis D virus (HDV), which co-infects or superinfects patients with hepatitis B virus, is estimated to affect 74 million people worldwide. Chronic hepatitis D is the most severe form of viral hepatitis and can result in liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Currently, there are no efficient HDV-specific drugs. Therefore, there is an urgent need for novel HDV therapies that can achieve a functional cure or even eliminate the viral infection. In the HDV life cycle, agents targeting the entry step of HDV infection preemptively reduce the intrahepatic viral RNA. Human sodium taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (hNTCP), a transporter of bile acids on the plasma membrane of hepatocytes, is an essential entry receptor of HDV and is a promising molecular target against HDV infection. Here, we investigated the effect of ergosterol peroxide (EP) on HDV infection in vitro and in vivo. EP inhibited HDV infection of hNTCP-expressing dHuS-E/2 hepatocytes by interrupting the early fusion/endocytosis step of HDV entry. Furthermore, molecular modeling suggested that EP hinders LHBsAg binding to hNTCP by blocking access to S267 and V263. In addition, we generated hNTCP-expressing transgenic (Tg) C57BL/6 mice using the Cre/loxP system for in vivo study. EP reduced the liver HDV RNA level of HDV-challenged hNTCP-Cre Tg mice. Intriguingly, EP downregulated the mRNA level of liver IFN-γ. We demonstrate that EP is a bona fide HDV entry inhibitor that acts on hNTCP and has the potential for use in HDV therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116077
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Volume170
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Entry inhibitor
  • Ergosterol peroxide
  • Hepatitis D virus
  • Human NTCP

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