Mycobacterium Survival Strategy Translated to Develop a Lipo-Peptide Based Fusion Inhibitor

The entry of enveloped viruses requires fusion of viral and host cell membranes. An effective fusion inhibitor aiming at impeding such virus-host cell membrane fusion may emerge as a broad-spectrum antiviral agent to neutralize the infection from an increasing diversity of harmful new viruses. Mycobacterium survives inside the phagosome of the host cells by inhibiting phagosome-lysosome fusion with the help of a coat protein coronin 1. Structural analysis of coronin 1 and other WD40-repeat containing protein suggest that the tryptophan-aspartic acid (WD) sequence is placed at distorted β-meander motif (more exposed) whereas the WD resides in regular β-meander motif in other WD40 proteins. The unique structural feature of coronin 1 was explored to identify a simple lipo-peptide sequence (lipid-WD), which effectively inhibit the membrane fusion by increasing interfacial order and decreasing water penetration, surface potential. The effective fusion inhibitory role of mycobacterium inspired lipo-dipeptide was applied to combat type 1 influenza virus (H1N1) infection as a ‘broad spectrum’ antiviral agent.