Antifungal triazole posaconazole targets an early stage of the parechovirus A3 life cycle

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DOI: 10.1128/AAC.02372-19; PMCID: PMC7038243


© 2020 American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved. Viruses in species Parechovirus A (Picornaviridae) are associated with a wide variety of clinical manifestations. Parechovirus A3 (PeV-A3) is known to cause sepsis-like illness, meningitis, and encephalitis in infants and young children. To date, no specific therapies are available to treat PeV-A3-infected children. We had previously identified two FDA-cleared antifungal drugs, itraconazole (ITC) and posaconazole (POS), with potent and specific antiviral activity against PeV-A3. Time-of-addition and synchronized infection assays revealed that POS targets an early stage of the PeV-A3 life cycle. POS exerts an antiviral effect, evidenced by a reduction in viral titer following the addition of POS to Vero-P cells before infection, coaddition of POS and PeV-A3 to Vero-P cells, incubation of POS and PeV-A3 prior to Vero-P infection, and at attachment. POS exerts less of an effect on virus entry. A PeV-A3 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay inhibition experiment, using an anti-PeV-A3 monoclonal antibody, suggested that POS binds directly to the PeV-A3 capsid. POS-resistant PeV-A3 strains developed by serial passage in the presence of POS acquired substitutions in multiple regions of the genome, including the capsid. Reverse genetics confirmed substitutions in capsid proteins VP0, VP3, and VP1 and nonstructural proteins 2A and 3A. Single mutants VP0_K66R, VP0_A124T, VP3_N88S, VP1_Y224C, 2A_S78L, and 3A_T1I were 4-, 9-, 12-, 34-, 51-, and 119-fold more resistant to POS, respectively, than the susceptible prototype strain. Our studies demonstrate that POS may be a valuable tool in developing an antiviral therapy for PeV-A3.

Journal Title

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy






Antiviral, Enterovirus, Itraconazole, Parechovirus, Posaconazole

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