The viral infectivity factor (Vif)-apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like 3G (APOBEC3G) axis has been recognized as a valid target for developing novel small-molecule therapies for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or for enhancing innate immunity against viruses. Our previous work reported the novel Vif antagonist 2-amino-N-(2-methoxyphenyl)-6-((4-nitrophenyl)sulfonyl)benzamide (2) with strong antiviral activity. In this work, through optimizations of ring C of 2, we discovered the more potent compound 6m with an EC of 0.07 μM in non-permissive H9 cells, reflecting an approximately 5-fold enhancement of antiviral activity compared to that of 2. Western blotting indicated that 6m more strongly suppressed the defensive protein Vif than 2 at the same concentration. Furthermore, 6m suppressed the replication of various clinical drug-resistant HIV strains (FI, NRTI, NNRTI, IN and PI) with relatively high efficacy. These results suggested that compound 6m is a more potent candidate for treating AIDS.
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