Donald M. Coen
from: Alpha Herpesviruses: Molecular and Cellular Biology (Edited by: R. M. Sandri-Goldin). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2006)
The human alphaherpesviruses, herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 and varicella zoster virus, cause significant disease in patients. This has led to the development of drugs active against these viruses, in particular, acyclovir, which is one of the most successful antiviral agents. Acyclovir and its relatives act via a two step mechanism, entailing selective phosphorylation by viral thymidine kinase and selective inhibition of viral DNA polymerase. Molecular genetic, biochemical, and crystallographic studies have illuminated the details of the mechanisms of these drugs, as well as how the virus can mutate to evade the drug, yet retain pathogenicity. Similar studies of how alphaherpesviruses replicate in cells have identified interesting new drugs and drug targets. However, much more work will be needed to pinpoint molecular targets and specific strategies that could cure latent alphaherpesvirus infections read more ...