3′-NH2-BV-dUrd, the 3′-amino derivative of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine, was found to be a potent and selective inhibitor of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV) replication. 3′-NH2-BV-dUrd was about 4-12 times less potent but equally selective in its anti-herpes activity as BV-dUrd. Akin to BV-dUrd, 3′-NH2-BV-dUrd was much less inhibitory to herpes simplex virus type 2 than type 1. It was totally inactive against a thymidine kinase-deficient mutant of HSV-1. The 5′-triphosphate of 3′-NH2-BV-dUrd (3′-NH2-BV-dUTP) was evaluated for its inhibitory effects on purified herpes viral and cellular DNA polymerases. Among the DNA polymerases tested, HSV-1 DNA polymerase and DNA polymerase alpha were the most sensitive to inhibition by 3′-NH2-BV-dUTP (Ki values 0.13 and 0.10 microM, respectively). The Km/Ki ratio for DNA polymerase alpha was 47, as compared with 4.6 for HSV-1 DNA polymerase. Thus, the selectivity of 3′-NH2-BV-dUrd as an anti-herpes agent cannot be ascribed to a discriminative effect of its 5′-triphosphate at the DNA polymerase level. This selectivity most probably resides at the thymidine kinase level. 3′;-NH2-BV-dUrd would be phosphorylated preferentially by the HSV-1-induced thymidine kinase (Ki 1.9 microM, as compared with greater than 200 microM for the cellular thymidine kinase), and this preferential phosphorylation would confine the further action of the compound to the virus-infected cell.

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