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Structure-based identification of inhibitors targeting obstruction of the HIVgp41 N-heptad repeat trimer.

Structure-based identification of inhibitors targeting obstruction of the HIVgp41 N-heptad repeat trimer.
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McGee TD, Yi HA, Allen WJ, Jacobs A, Rizzo RC,


McGee TD, Yi HA, Allen WJ, Jacobs A, Rizzo RC, (click to view)

McGee TD, Yi HA, Allen WJ, Jacobs A, Rizzo RC,

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Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 2017 05 0827(14) 3177-3184 pii 10.1016/j.bmcl.2017.05.020

Abstract

The viral protein HIVgp41 is an attractive and validated drug target that proceeds through a sequence of conformational changes crucial for membrane fusion, which facilitates viral entry. Prior work has identified inhibitors that interfere with the formation of a required six-helix bundle, composed of trimeric C-heptad (CHR) and N-heptad (NHR) repeat elements, through blocking association of an outer CHR helix or obstructing formation of the inner NHR trimer itself. In this work, we employed similarity-based scoring to identify and experimentally characterize 113 compounds, related to 2 small-molecule inhibitors recently reported by Allen et al. (Bioorg. Med. Chem Lett.2015, 25 2853-59), proposed to act via the NHR trimer obstruction mechanism. The compounds were first tested in an HIV cell-cell fusion assay with the most promising evaluated in a second, more biologically relevant viral entry assay. Of the candidates, compound #11 emerged as the most promising hit (IC50=37.81µM), as a result of exhibiting activity in both assays with low cytotoxicity, as was similarly seen with the known control peptide inhibitor C34. The compound also showed no inhibition of VSV-G pseudotyped HIV entry compared to a control inhibitor suggesting it was specific for HIVgp41. Molecular dynamics simulations showed the predicted DOCK pose of #11 interacts with HIVgp41 in an energetic fashion (per-residue footprints) similar to the four native NHR residues (IQLT) which candidate inhibitors were intended to mimic.

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