Scientific reports 2018 04 108(1) 5789 doi 10.1038/s41598-018-24124-5
HIV-2 protease (PR2) is naturally resistant to most FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-approved HIV-1 protease inhibitors (PIs), a major antiretroviral class. In this study, we compared the PR1 and PR2 binding pockets extracted from structures complexed with 12 ligands. The comparison of PR1 and PR2 pocket properties showed that bound PR2 pockets were more hydrophobic with more oxygen atoms and fewer nitrogen atoms than PR1 pockets. The structural comparison of PR1 and PR2 pockets highlighted structural changes induced by their sequence variations and that were consistent with these property changes. Specifically, substitutions at residues 31, 46, and 82 induced structural changes in their main-chain atoms that could affect PI binding in PR2. In addition, the modelling of PR1 mutant structures containing V32I and L76M substitutions revealed a cooperative mechanism leading to structural deformation of flap-residue 45 that could modify PR2 flexibility. Our results suggest that substitutions in the PR1 and PR2 pockets can modify PI binding and flap flexibility, which could underlie PR2 resistance against PIs. These results provide new insights concerning the structural changes induced by PR1 and PR2 pocket variation changes, improving the understanding of the atomic mechanism of PR2 resistance to PIs.