Virtual screening, identification, and biochemical characterization of novel inhibitors of the reverse transcriptase of human immunodeficiency virus type-1

The reverse transcriptase (RT) of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) is a leading target in current antiretroviral therapy. Unfortunately, drug-resistant RT mutants evolve under the pressure of these drugs, and therefore, new anti-RT inhibitors are constantly required for HIV-1/AIDS treatment. We virtually screened a large chemical library of compounds against two crystal structures of HIV-1 RT to identify novel inhibitors. Top-scoring compounds were tested experimentally; 71 inhibited the RT-associated DNA polymerase, while several also inhibited HIV-1 pseudovirus infection in a cell-based assay. A combination of substituents from two structurally related inhibitors in a single molecule improved the inhibition efficacy. This compound strongly suppressed the RT-associated activity also protecting human lymphocytes from HIV-1 infection. RT inhibition by this compound was reversible and noncompetitive. This molecule and another structurally unrelated potent compound inhibited a known drug-resistant mutant of HIV-1 RT and affected moderately the HIV-2 RT-associated DNA polymerase. These inhibitors may serve as promising anti-HIV lead compounds.

Alon Herschhorn, Amnon Hizi
September 25, 2008
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