Cell-impermeable staurosporine analog targets extracellular kinases to inhibit HSV and SARS-CoV-2

Natalia Cheshenko, Jeffrey B. Bonanno, Hans Heinrich Hoffmann, Rohit K. Jangra, Kartik Chandran, Charles M. Rice, Steven C. Almo, Betsy C. Herold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) receptor engagement activates phospholipid scramblase triggering Akt translocation to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane where its subsequent phosphorylation promotes viral entry. We hypothesize that this previously unrecognized outside-inside signaling pathway is employed by other viruses and that cell-impermeable kinase inhibitors could provide novel antivirals. We synthesized a cell-impermeable analog of staurosporine, CIMSS, which inhibited outer membrane HSV-induced Akt phosphorylation and blocked viral entry without inducing apoptosis. CIMSS also blocked the phosphorylation of 3-phosphoinositide dependent protein kinase 1 and phospholipase C gamma, which were both detected at the outer leaflet following HSV exposure. Moreover, vesicular stomatitis virus pseudotyped with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (VSV-S), but not native VSV or VSV pseudotyped with Ebola virus glycoprotein, triggered this scramblase-Akt outer membrane signaling pathway. VSV-S and native SARS-CoV-2 infection were inhibited by CIMSS. Thus, CIMSS uncovered unique extracellular kinase processes linked to HSV and SARS-CoV-2 entry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1096
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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