Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is still a major health problem worldwide. The
current available antiviral drugs for the treatment of chronic HBV infection do not achieve
satisfactory results. Thus, it is desirable to develop novel anti-HBV drugs based on the recent
advances of basic research on molecular biology of HBV. HBV nucleocapsid assembly is
now considered as a potential target of anti-HBV therapy. Structural and functional analysis
provided essential insight of molecular interaction of the components of HBV nucleocapsid.
Prototypes of small molecule modulators of HBV nucleocapsid assembly were developed and
partly tested in clinical phase I.
In the present review, the recent advances in HBV molecular biology and approach to develop
inhibitors for anti-HBV treatment based on the disruption of viral nucleocapsids by either
prevention of assembly or induction of misassembly will be summarized. We will discuss the
future concepts of anti-HBV treatment based on such new approaches.
Keywords: Hepatitis B virus, core protein, capsid assembly, capsid assembly modulator, misassembly, antiviral
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