Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Microbiology & Immunology

First Advisor

Michael McVoy


Current FDA approved anti-cytomegalovirus antivirals are ganciclovir, foscarnet, and cidofovir. These drugs target the viral polymerase to inhibit DNA synthesis. Halogenated benzimidazoles target a step later in viral replication during packaging and cleavage of the viral genome. The compounds 2-Bromo-5,6-dichloro-1-(β-D-ribofuranosyl)benzimidazole (BDCRB) and 2,5,6-trichloro-1-(β-D-ribofuranosyl)benzimidazole (TCRB) are novel inhibitors of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and resistance to these compounds are found within the human cytomegalovirus viral terminase. Terminase is unique to the virus and in theory provides a good target for antiviral development. Beginning with a BDCRB resistant guinea pig cytomegalovirus observations found a single mutation located in the viral terminase gene UL89 and unique formation found in genomic ends. In guinea pigs, the virus continued to produce large amounts of monomer. This is in contrast to human cytomegalovirus treated with either BDCRB or TCRB. Both compounds produced very little monomer DNA but created a supergenomic species, called monomer-plus that migrates to the apparent size of 270-kb on a pulse field gel. A model was developed to explain formation of monomer plus and my project aims originated from the model. In the presence of BDCRB and TCRB, packaging is relaxed resulting in the normal cleavage site being skipped and cleavage occurring at the next available cleavage site creating a short-long-short genome. In guinea pigs, cleavage has been relaxed by premature cleavage of the terminal ends. Current antivirals do not block viral entry therefore, patients are infected with HCMV. Blocking entry of HCMV into cells would prevent HCMV infection. It has been shown that antibodies to epitopes within the gH/gL/UL128-131 complex can block viral entry into endothelial, epithelial, and other cell types while antibodies to gB block entry into fibroblasts. The majority of the current work on entry into epithelial cells has been performed in retinal pigment epithelium and epithelial cells derived from tumors. Viral entry into cell lines derived from mucosa cells was dependent on the complex gH/gL/UL128-131. Rabbit antibodies raised against UL130 and UL131 peptides neutralized epithelial entry with effects as potent as human seropositive sera. This suggests that the entry complex can be blocked by single epitopes.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011