Chemical inhibition of RNA viruses reveals REDD1 as a host defense factor

Miguel A. Mata, Neal Satterly, Gijs A. Versteeg, Doug Frantz, Shuguang Wei, Noelle Williams, Mirco Schmolke, Samuel Peña-Llopis, James Brugarolas, Christian V. Forst, Michael A. White, Adolfo García-Sastre, Michael G. Roth, Beatriz M A Fontoura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


A chemical genetics approach was taken to identify inhibitors of NS1, a major influenza A virus virulence factor that inhibits host gene expression. A high-throughput screen of 200,000 synthetic compounds identified small molecules that reversed NS1-mediated inhibition of host gene expression. A counterscreen for suppression of influenza virus cytotoxicity identified naphthalimides that inhibited replication of influenza virus and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). The mechanism of action occurs through activation of REDD1 expression and concomitant inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) via TSC1-TSC2 complex. The antiviral activity of naphthalimides was abolished in REDD1 -/- cells. Inhibition of REDD1 expression by viruses resulted in activation of the mTORC1 pathway. REDD1 -/- cells prematurely upregulated viral proteins via mTORC1 activation and were permissive to virus replication. In contrast, cells conditionally expressing high concentrations of REDD1 downregulated the amount of viral protein. Thus, REDD1 is a new host defense factor, and chemical activation of REDD1 expression represents a potent antiviral intervention strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-719
Number of pages8
JournalNature chemical biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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