Molecular informatics 2016 Oct 12() doi 10.1002/minf.201600060
The fusion of viral and host cell membranes is mediated using gp41 subunit of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein. As the HIV-1 enters the host cells, the two helical regions (HR1 and HR2) in the ectodomain of gp41 form a six-helix bundle, which carries the target and viral cell membranes to close proximity. Steps of this process serve as attractive targets for developing HIV-1 fusion inhibitors. Identification of some novel HIV fusion inhibitors with the goal of blocking the formation of the six-helix bundle was accomplished by computer-aided drug design techniques. A virtual screening strategy was employed to recognize small molecules presumably able to bind the gp41 at the internal interface of the NHR helices at the core native viral six-helix. This study was carried out in two stages. In the first stage, a library of more than seven thousand compounds was collected from ZINC, PubChem and BindingDB databases and protein data bank. Key contacts of known inhibitors with gp41 binding site residues were considered as the collecting criteria. In the second stage series of filtering processes were performed on this library in subsequent steps to find the potential gp41 inhibitors. The filtering criteria included pharmacokinetic and ADMET properties as well as in silico anti-HIV-1 prediction. Molecular docking simulation was carried out to identify interactions of the filtered molecules with the key residues in the gp41 binding site. Finally, molecular dynamics simulation indicates the superior inhibitory ability of three selected compounds over the known gp41inhibitor, NB-64.