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Enfuvirtide (T20)-Based Lipopeptide Is a Potent HIV-1 Cell Fusion Inhibitor: Implications for Viral Entry and Inhibition.

Enfuvirtide (T20)-Based Lipopeptide Is a Potent HIV-1 Cell Fusion Inhibitor: Implications for Viral Entry and Inhibition.
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Ding X, Zhang X, Chong H, Zhu Y, Wei H, Wu X, He J, Wang X, He Y,


Ding X, Zhang X, Chong H, Zhu Y, Wei H, Wu X, He J, Wang X, He Y, (click to view)

Ding X, Zhang X, Chong H, Zhu Y, Wei H, Wu X, He J, Wang X, He Y,

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Journal of virology 2017 08 2491(18) pii 10.1128/JVI.00831-17

Abstract

The peptide drug enfuvirtide (T20) is the only viral fusion inhibitor used in combination therapy for HIV-1 infection, but it has relatively low antiviral activity and easily induces drug resistance. Emerging studies demonstrate that lipopeptide-based fusion inhibitors, such as LP-11 and LP-19, which mainly target the gp41 pocket site, have greatly improved antiviral potency and in vivo stability. In this study, we focused on developing a T20-based lipopeptide inhibitor that lacks pocket-binding sequence and targets a different site. First, the C-terminal tryptophan-rich motif (TRM) of T20 was verified to be essential for its target binding and inhibition; then, a novel lipopeptide, termed LP-40, was created by replacing the TRM with a fatty acid group. LP-40 showed markedly enhanced binding affinity for the target site and dramatically increased inhibitory activity on HIV-1 membrane fusion, entry, and infection. Unlike LP-11 and LP-19, which required a flexible linker between the peptide sequence and the lipid moiety, addition of a linker to LP-40 sharply reduced its potency, implying different binding modes with the extended N-terminal helices of gp41. Also, interestingly, LP-40 showed more potent activity than LP-11 in inhibiting HIV-1 Env-mediated cell-cell fusion while it was less active than LP-11 in inhibiting pseudovirus entry, and the two inhibitors displayed synergistic antiviral effects. The crystal structure of LP-40 in complex with a target peptide revealed their key binding residues and motifs. Combined, our studies have not only provided a potent HIV-1 fusion inhibitor, but also revealed new insights into the mechanisms of viral inhibition.IMPORTANCE T20 is the only membrane fusion inhibitor available for treatment of viral infection; however, T20 requires high doses and has a low genetic barrier for resistance, and its inhibitory mechanism and structural basis remain unclear. Here, we report the design of LP-40, a T20-based lipopeptide inhibitor that has greatly improved anti-HIV activity and is a more potent inhibitor of cell-cell fusion than of cell-free virus infection. The binding modes of two classes of membrane-anchoring lipopeptides (LP-40 and LP-11) verify the current fusion model in which an extended prehairpin structure bridges the viral and cellular membranes, and their complementary effects suggest a vital strategy for combination therapy of HIV-1 infection. Moreover, our understanding of the mechanism of action of T20 and its derivatives benefits from the crystal structure of LP-40.

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