Scientific reports 2016 08 266() 32161 doi 10.1038/srep32161
Peptides derived from the N-terminal heptad repeat (NHR) of HIV-1 gp41 can be potent inhibitors against viral entry when presented in a nonaggregating trimeric coiled-coil conformation via the introduction of exogenous trimerization motifs and intermolecular disulfide bonds. We recently discovered that crosslinking isopeptide bridges within the de novo helical trimers added exceptional resistance to unfolding. Herein, we attempted to optimize (CCIZN17)3, a representative disulfide bond-stabilized chimeric NHR-trimer, by incorporating site-specific interhelical isopeptide bonds as the redox-sensitive disulfide surrogate. In this process, we systematically examined the effect of isopeptide bond position and molecular sizes of auxiliary trimeric coiled-coil motif and NHR fragments on the antiviral potency of these NHR-trimers. Pleasingly, (IZ14N24N)3 possessed promising inhibitory activity against HIV-1 infection and markedly increased proteolytic stability relative to its disulfide-tethered counterpart, suggesting good potential for further development as an effective antiviral agent for treatment of HIV-1 infection.