Inhibition of herpes simplex virus type 1 by the CDK6 inhibitor PD-0332991 (palbociclib) through the control of SAMHD1


doi: 10.1093/jac/dkv363



Sterile α motif and histidine–aspartate domain-containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) has been shown to restrict retroviruses and DNA viruses by decreasing the pool of intracellular deoxynucleotides. In turn, SAMHD1 is controlled by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) that regulate the cell cycle and cell proliferation. Here, we explore the effect of CDK6 inhibitors on the replication of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in primary monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM).



MDM were treated with palbociclib, a selective CDK4/6 inhibitor, and then infected with a GFP-expressing HSV-1. Intracellular deoxynucleotide triphosphate (dNTP) content was determined using a polymerase-based method.



CDK6 inhibitor palbociclib blocked SAMHD1 phosphorylation, intracellular dNTP levels and HSV-1 replication in MDM at subtoxic concentrations. Treatment of MDM with palbociclib reduced CDK2 activation, measured as the phosphorylation of the T-loop at Thr160. The antiviral activity of palbociclib was lost when SAMHD1 was degraded by viral protein X. Similarly, palbociclib did not block HSV-1 replication in SAMHD1-negative Vero cells at subtoxic concentrations, providing further evidence for a role of SAMHD1 in mediating the antiviral effect.



SAMHD1-mediated HSV-1 restriction is controlled by CDK and points to a preferential role for CDK6 and CDK2 as mediators of SAMHD1 activation. Similarly, the restricting activity of SAMHD1 against DNA viruses suggests that control of dNTP availability is the major determinant of its antiviral activity. This is the first study describing the anti-HSV-1 activity of palbociclib.


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Roger Badia, Guillem Angulo, Eva Riveira-Muñoz, Maria Pujantell, Teresa Puig, Cristina Ramirez, Javier Torres-Torronteras, Ramoón Martí, Eduardo Pauls, Bonaventura Clotet, Ester Ballana and José A. Este 


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IrsiCaixa linked groups: HIV Pathogenesis