This week in therapeutics




Licensing status

Publication and contact information

Infectious disease

Viral infection; West Nile virus

ATG6 autophagy related 6 homolog (BECN1; ATG6); GLI pathogenesis-related 2 (GLIPR2; GAPR-1)

Mouse and cell culture studies suggest blocking the interaction between BECN1 and GAPR-1 could help treat viral infections. In human cells, a BECN1 peptide conjugated to the cell-penetrating peptide Tat (Tat-BECN1) bound to GAPR-1, a newly identified negative regulator of autophagy. In neonatal mice infected with Chikungunya or West Nile virus, Tat-BECN1 increased autophagy and decreased both viral titers and mortality compared with Tat peptide alone. Next steps could include identifying a small molecule that modulates the BECN1-GAPR-1 interaction.

SciBX 6(7); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.164
Published online Feb. 21, 2013

Patent application filed; available for licensing

Shoji-Kawata, S. et al. Nature;
published online Jan. 30, 2013;
Contact: Beth Levine, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas