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Publication 185  

  1. Withaferin A, a polyfunctional pharmacophore that includes covalent engagement of IPO5, is an inhibitor of influenza A replication
    R. Patouret, S. Barluenga, N. Winssinger
    Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2022, 69, 116883

Withaferin A, a natural steroidal lactone found in the extracts of Withania somnifera, is used extensively in traditional medicine and part of an ancient remedy in ayurvedic medicine. Prior investigations into its mode of action have shown withaferin to be a polyfunctional pharmacophore with the covalent engagement of a multitude of therapeutic targets. Herein, we report that withaferin A is also a covalent inhibitor of IPO5, an importin that translocates cargos from the cytosol to the nucleus. We show that withaferin inhibits influenza A replication in epithelial cells (A549). Using a panel of inhibitors that selectively recapitulate part of withaferin A’s pharmacological profile (goyazensolide, withaferin A derivatives, FiVe1, and bardoxolone methyl), we show that IPO5 inhibition contributes to the influenza replication inhibition but is not essential for the observed activity of withaferin A. We show that bardoxolone methyl, a semisynthetic triterpenoid in clinical development to treat chronic kidney disease and that shares some of the pharmacological profile of withaferin, also inhibits influenza A replication effectively. The inhibitory activity against influenza A replication should stimulate further studies to repurpose this therapeutic.

DOI: 10.1016/j.bmc.2022.116883 

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