Effects on maribavir susceptibility of cytomegalovirus UL97 kinase ATP binding region mutations detected after drug exposure in vitro and in vivo

Sunwen Chou, Morgan Hakki, Stephen Villano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Resistance to the experimental human cytomegalovirus (CMV) UL97 kinase inhibitor maribavir has been mapped to UL97 mutations at codons 353, 397, 409 and 411, in the kinase ATP-binding region, and to mutations in the UL27 gene. We studied the maribavir susceptibility phenotypes of additional UL97 mutations observed in vitro and in clinical trials, and the effect of simultaneous mutation in both UL97 and UL27. In vitro selection under maribavir identified a new locus of UL97 mutation within the conserved kinase p-loop (L337M), which conferred low grade maribavir resistance (3.5-fold increased EC50) without ganciclovir cross-resistance. During maribavir Phase III CMV prevention clinical trials, three previously unknown UL97 sequence variants were detected in plasma samples after 27-98. days of drug exposure (I324V, S334G and S386L). These variants did not confer any drug resistance despite proximity to mutations that confer maribavir resistance. The UL27 resistance mutation R233S, when added to strains containing UL97 mutations L337M or V353A, doubled their maribavir EC50s. These results expand the range of UL97 maribavir-resistance mutations into another part of the kinase ATP-binding region, but offer no genotypic evidence that development of drug resistance affected the outcomes of Phase III maribavir clinical trials after drug exposure of up to 14. weeks. There is a potential for increased maribavir resistance in UL27-UL97 double mutants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-92
Number of pages5
JournalAntiviral Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012



  • Antiviral drug resistance
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Kinase
  • Maribavir
  • UL27
  • UL97

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Virology

Cite this