Identification of mechanistically distinct inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase through fragment screening

Jennifer La, Catherine Frances Mary Latham, Ricky Nathan Tinetti, Adam Peter Johnson, David P Tyssen, Kelly Dawn Huber, Nicolas Sluis-Cremer, Jamie Scott Simpson, Stephen James Headey, David Kenneth Chalmers, Gilda Tachedjian

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Fragment-based screening methods can be used to discover novel active site or allosteric inhibitors for therapeutic intervention. Using saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR and in vitro activity assays, we have identified fragment-sized inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) with distinct chemical scaffolds and mechanisms compared to nonnucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs) and nucleoside/nucleotide RT inhibitors (NRTIs). Three compounds were found to inhibit RNA- and DNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity of HIV-1 RT in the micromolar range while retaining potency against RT variants carrying one of three major NNRTI resistance mutations: K103N, Y181C, or G190A. These compounds also inhibit Moloney murine leukemia virus RT but not the Klenow fragment of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I. Steady-state kinetic analyses demonstrate that one of these fragments is a competitive inhibitor of HIV-1 RT with respect to deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) substrate, whereas a second compound is a competitive inhibitor of RT polymerase activity with respect to the DNA template/primer (T/P), and consequently also inhibits RNase H activity. The dNTP competing RT inhibitor retains activity against the NRTI-resistant mutants K65R and M184V, demonstrating a drug resistance profile distinct from the nucleotide competing RT inhibitors indolopyridone-1 (INDOPY-1) and 4-dimethylamino-6-vinylpyrimidine-1 (DAVP-1). In antiviral assays, the T/P competing compound inhibits HIV-1 replication at a step consistent with an RT inhibitor. Screening of additional structurally related compounds to the three fragments led to the discovery of molecules with improved potency against HIV-1 RT. These fragment inhibitors represent previously unidentified scaffolds for development of novel drugs for HIV-1 prevention or treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6979-6984
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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