Retrovirology 2017 11 0914(1) 50 doi 10.1186/s12977-017-0373-2
HIV-1 Integrase (IN) interacts with the cellular co-factor LEDGF/p75 and tethers the HIV preintegration complex to the host genome enabling integration. Recently a new class of IN inhibitors was described, the IN-LEDGF allosteric inhibitors (INLAIs). Designed to interfere with the IN-LEDGF interaction during integration, the major impact of these inhibitors was surprisingly found on virus maturation, causing a reverse transcription defect in target cells.
Here we describe the MUT-A compound as a genuine INLAI with an original chemical structure based on a new type of scaffold, a thiophene ring. MUT-A has all characteristics of INLAI compounds such as inhibition of IN-LEDGF/p75 interaction, IN multimerization, dual antiretroviral (ARV) activities, normal packaging of genomic viral RNA and complete Gag protein maturation. MUT-A has more potent ARV activity compared to other INLAIs previously reported, but similar profile of resistance mutations and absence of ARV activity on SIV. HIV-1 virions produced in the presence of MUT-A were non-infectious with the formation of eccentric condensates outside of the core. In studying the immunoreactivity of these non-infectious virions, we found that inactivated HIV-1 particles were captured by anti-HIV-specific neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies (b12, 2G12, PGT121, 4D4, 10-1074, 10E8, VRC01) with efficiencies comparable to non-treated virus. Autologous CD4(+) T lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine induction by monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDC) pulsed either with MUT-A-inactivated HIV or non-treated HIV were also comparable.
Although strongly defective in infectivity, HIV-1 virions produced in the presence of the MUT-A INLAI have a normal protein and genomic RNA content as well as B and T cell immunoreactivities comparable to non-treated HIV-1. These inactivated viruses might form an attractive new approach in vaccine research in an attempt to study if this new type of immunogen could elicit an immune response against HIV-1 in animal models.