Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 2016 09 2360(10) 5731-41 doi 10.1128/AAC.00341-16
Three compounds (1, 2, and 3) previously reported to inhibit HIV-1 replication and/or in vitro activity of reverse transcriptase were studied, but only fullerene derivatives 1 and 2 showed strong antiviral activity on the replication of HIV-1 in human CD4(+) T cells. However, these compounds did not inhibit infection by single-round infection vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein G (VSV-G)-pseudotyped viruses, indicating no effect on the early steps of the viral life cycle. In contrast, analysis of single-round infection VSV-G-pseudotyped HIV-1 produced in the presence of compound 1 or 2 showed a complete lack of infectivity in human CD4(+) T cells, suggesting that the late stages of the HIV-1 life cycle were affected. Quantification of virion-associated viral RNA and p24 indicates that RNA packaging and viral production were unremarkable in these viruses. However, Gag and Gag-Pol processing was affected, as evidenced by immunoblot analysis with an anti-p24 antibody and the measurement of virion-associated reverse transcriptase activity, ratifying the effect of the fullerene derivatives on virion maturation of the HIV-1 life cycle. Surprisingly, fullerenes 1 and 2 did not inhibit HIV-1 protease in an in vitro assay at the doses that potently blocked viral infectivity, suggesting a protease-independent mechanism of action. Highlighting the potential therapeutic relevance of fullerene derivatives, these compounds block infection by HIV-1 resistant to protease and maturation inhibitors.