Cellular invasion by HIV-1 requires the concerted action of two proteins on the viral surface: gp120 and gp41. The function of gp41 is to get the viral contents into the interior of the host cells. This requires the association of two distinct regions of gp41 called N-HR and C-HR.
Anti-HIV-1 agents known as fusion inhibitors target the N-HR or C-HR and disrupt their association, which prevents the virus from entering into the host cell. One drug that works like this is Fuzeon (Roche), and there are other agents in the pipeline.
But blocking the N-HR/C-HR association is not only mechanism by which fusion inhibitors prevent HIV-1 entry, according to Michael Root, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. The inhibitors also induce irreversible deactivation of gp41.
“After these drugs bind, they seem to shuttle gp41 into a dead conformation from which the protein cannot recover,” Dr. Root said. “Importantly, the speed of this drug-induced deactivation greatly influences how potent a drug is at preventing HIV-1 infection.”
When the inhibitors bind to the gp41 C-HR, the protein rapidly deactivates before inhibitors have time to dissociate. But when the inhibitors bind to the gp41 N-HR, deactivation takes a very long time, and many inhibitors can readily unbind. To potently inhibit HIV-1 entry, a C-HR targeting fusion inhibitor can have a relatively low affinity, but an N-HR targeting fusion inhibitor must bind extremely tightly.
A major drawback to using Fuzeon and related drugs that target N-HR is the rapid emergence of HIV-1 strains resistant to the drugs. Dr. Root’s study suggests that the resistance phenomenon is related to the slow speed of gp41 deactivation induced by these fusion inhibitors. HIV-1 appears to have more difficulty developing resistance to drugs that can remain bound to gp41 for much longer than gp41 takes to deactivate, even if the drugs are no more potent than Fuzeon against the original HIV-1 strain. Armed with this knowledge, Dr. Root and his team have developed a new strategy to improve the antiviral activities of N-HR-targeting fusion inhibitors.
These unexpected properties of HIV-1 fusion inhibitors are a consequence of the short time interval these drugs have to work. The N-HR and C-HR are only accessible to drug binding in a short-lived “intermediate state” that occurs right before N-HR/C-HR association. Most pharmaceutical agents bind targets that exist for long times, but a growing class of drugs target similar, short-lived intermediate states. These drugs include local anesthetics, antibiotics and immunosuppressive agents used in clinical practice. The results of this study might also be extended to understand the activities and limitations of these drugs.
Emily Shafer | Newswise Science News
Staying in Shape
16.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik
Chips, light and coding moves the front line in beating bacteria
16.08.2018 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences
16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences