Journal of virology

Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate inhibits herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 replication, and its activity may be mediated through dysregulation of the ubiquitin-proteasome system.

PMID 23740985


Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) is widely used as an antioxidant or an NF-κB inhibitor. It has been reported to inhibit the replication of human rhinoviruses, poliovirus, coxsackievirus, and influenza virus. In this paper, we report that PDTC could inhibit the replication of herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2). PDTC suppressed the expression of HSV-1 and HSV-2 viral immediate early (IE) and late (membrane protein gD) genes and the production of viral progeny. This antiviral property was mediated by the dithiocarbamate moiety of PDTC and required the presence of Zn(2+). Although PDTC could potently block reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, it was found that this property did not contribute to its anti-HSV activity. PDTC showed no activity in disrupting the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway activation induced by viral infection that was vital for the virus's propagation. We found that PDTC modulated cellular ubiquitination and, furthermore, influenced HSV-2-induced IκB-α degradation to inhibit NF-κB activation and enhanced PML stability in the nucleus, resulting in the inhibition of viral gene expression. These results suggested that the antiviral activity of PDTC might be mediated by its dysregulation of the cellular ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS).