European journal of medicinal chemistry 2017 12 24145() 154-164 pii 10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.12.073
In this report, we present a new benzoxazole derivative endowed with inhibitory activity against the HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein (NC). NC is a 55-residue basic protein with nucleic acid chaperone properties, which has emerged as a novel and potential pharmacological target against HIV-1. In the pursuit of novel NC-inhibitor chemotypes, we performed virtual screening and in vitro biological evaluation of a large library of chemical entities. We found that compounds sharing a benzoxazolinone moiety displayed putative inhibitory properties, which we further investigated by considering a series of chemical analogues. This approach provided valuable information on the structure-activity relationships of these compounds and, in the process, demonstrated that their anti-NC activity could be finely tuned by the addition of specific substituents to the initial benzoxazolinone scaffold. This study represents the starting point for the possible development of a new class of antiretroviral agents targeting the HIV-1 NC protein.