Inhibition of the replication of the DNA polymerase M550V mutation variant of human hepatitis B virus by adefovir, tenofovir, L-FMAU, DAPD, penciclovir and lobucavir


Neyts Rega Institute for Medical Research, Minderbroedersstraat 10, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Several nucleoside analogues (penciclovir, lobucavir, dioxalane guanine [DXG], 1-β-2,6-diaminopurine dioxalane [DAPD], L-FMAU, lamivudine) and acyclic nucleoside phosphonate analogues (adefovir, tenofovir) that are in clinical use, in clinical trials or under preclinical development for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections, were evaluated for their inhibitory effect on the replication of a la- mivudine-resistant HBV variant containing the methionine → valine substitution (M550V) in the polymerase nucleoside-binding domain. The antiviral activity was determined in the tetracycline-responsive HepAD38 and HepAD79 cells, which are stably transfected with either a cDNA copy of the wild-type pregenomic RNA or with cDNA containing the M550V mutation. As expected, lamivudine was much less (≈ 200-fold) effective at inhibiting replication of the M550V mutant virus than the wild-type virus. In contrast, adefovir, tenofovir, lobucavir, L-FMAU, DXG and DAPD proved almost equally effective against both viruses. A second objective of this study was to directly compare the antiviral potency of the anti-HBV agents in HepG2 2.2.15 cells (which are routinely used for anti-HBV drug-screening purposes) with that in HepAD38 cells. HepAD38 cells produce much larger quantities of HBV than HepG2 2.2.15 cells, and thus allow drug screening in a multiwell plate format. All compounds were found to be almost equally effective at inhibiting HBV replication in HepAD38 cells (as in HepG2 2.2.15 cells), except for penciclovir, which was clearly less effective in HepAD38 cells.