The Importance of Epigallocatechin as a Scaffold for Drug Development against Flaviviruses
Arboviruses such as Dengue, yellow fever, West Nile, and Zika are flaviviruses vector-borne RNA viruses transmitted biologically among vertebrate hosts by blood-taking vectors. Many flaviviruses are associated with neurological, viscerotropic, and hemorrhagic diseases, posing significant health and socioeconomic concerns as they adapt to new environments. Licensed drugs against them are currently unavailable, so searching for effective antiviral molecules is still necessary. Epigallocatechin molecules, a green tea polyphenol, have shown great virucidal potential against flaviviruses, including DENV, WNV, and ZIKV. The interaction of EGCG with the viral envelope protein and viral protease, mainly identified by computational studies, describes the interaction of these molecules with viral proteins; however, how the viral NS2B/NS3 protease interacts with epigallocatechin molecules is not yet fully deciphered. Consequently, we tested the antiviral potential of two epigallocatechin molecules (EGC and EGCG) and their derivative (AcEGCG) against DENV, YFV, WNV, and ZIKV NS2B/NS3 protease. Thus, we assayed the effect of the molecules and found that a mixture of the molecules EGC (competitive) and EGCG (noncompetitive) inhibited the virus protease of YFV, WNV, and ZIKV more effectively with IC 50 values of 1.17 ± 0.2 µM, 0.58 ± 0.07 µM, and 0.57 ± 0.05 µM, respectively. As these molecules fundamentally differ in their inhibitory mode and chemical structure, our finding may open a new line for developing more effective allosteric/active site inhibitors to combat flaviviruses infection.