Phenothiazines inhibit hepatitis C virus entry, likely by increasing the fluidity of cholesterol-rich membranes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite recent progress in the development of direct-acting antiviral agents against hepatitis C virus (HCV), more effective therapies are still urgently needed. We and others previously identified three phenothiazine compounds as potent HCV entry inhibitors. In this study, we show that phenothiazines inhibit HCV entry at the step of virus-host cell fusion, by intercalating into cholesterol-rich domains of the target membrane and increasing membrane fluidity. Perturbation of the alignment/packing of cholesterol in lipid membranes likely increases the energy barrier needed for virus-host fusion. A screening assay based on the ability of molecules to selectively increase the fluidity of cholesterol-rich membranes was subsequently developed. One compound that emerged from the library screen, topotecan, is able to very potently inhibit the fusion of liposomes with cell culture-derived HCV (HCVcc). These results yield new insights into HCV infection and provide a platform for the identification of new HCV inhibitors.

published proceedings

  • Antimicrob Agents Chemother

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Chamoun-Emanuelli, A. M., Pecheur, E., Simeon, R. L., Huang, D. a., Cremer, P. S., & Chen, Z.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Chamoun-Emanuelli, Ana M||Pecheur, Eve-Isabelle||Simeon, Rudo L||Huang, Da||Cremer, Paul S||Chen, Zhilei

publication date

  • June 2013