Investigating N-arylpyrimidinamine (NAPA) compounds as early-stage inhibitors against human cytomegalovirus

Andrea J. Parsons, Sabrina I. Ophir, Thomas J. Gardner, Jailene Casado Paredes, Kathryn R. Stein, Steven M. Kwasny, Steven C. Cardinale, Matthew Torhan, Mark N. Prichard, Scott H. James, Kristina E. Atanasoff, Narendran G-Dayanandan, Terry L. Bowlin, Timothy J. Opperman, Domenico Tortorella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a ubiquitous β-herpesvirus that establishes latent asymptomatic infections in healthy individuals but can cause serious infections in immunocompromised people, resulting in increased risk of morbidity and mortality. The current FDA-approved CMV drugs target late stages of the CMV life-cycle. While these drugs are effective in most cases, they have serious drawbacks, including poor oral bioavailability, dose-limiting toxicity, and a low barrier to resistance. Given the clinical relevance of CMV-associated diseases, novel therapies are needed. Thus, a novel class of compounds that inhibits the early stages of the CMV life-cycle was identified and found to block infection of different strains in physiologically relevant cell types. This class of compounds, N-arylpyrimidinamine (NAPA), demonstrated potent anti-CMV activity against ganciclovir-sensitive and -resistant strains in in vitro replication assays, a selectivity index >30, and favorable in vitro ADME properties. Mechanism of action studies demonstrated that NAPA compounds inhibit an early step of virus infection. NAPA compounds are specific inhibitors of cytomegaloviruses and exhibited limited anti-viral activity against other herpesviruses. Collectively, we have identified a novel class of CMV inhibitor that effectively limits viral infection and proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105474
JournalAntiviral Research
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Congenital CMV and transplant recipients
  • Early-stage infection inhibitors
  • High-throughput screening
  • Human cytomegalovirus
  • NAPA compounds


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