Design, synthesis, biological and X-ray crystallographic studies of a series of potent HIV-1 protease inhibitors are described. Various polar functionalities have been incorporated on the tetrahydropyranyl-tetrahydrofuran-derived P2 ligand to interact with the backbone atoms in the S2 subsite. The majority of the inhibitors showed very potent enzyme inhibitory and antiviral activity. Two high-resolution X-ray structures of 30b- and 30j-bound HIV-1 protease provide insight into ligand-binding site interactions. In particular, the polar functionalities on the P2 ligand appear to form unique hydrogen bonds with Gly48 amide NH and amide carbonyl groups in the flap region.
HIV-1 protease inhibitors; antiviral; darunavir; multidrug-resistant; design; synthesis; X-ray crystal structure; backbone binding
We describe the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of a series of novel HIV-1 protease inhibitors bearing isophthalamide derivatives as the P2–P3 ligands. We have investigated a range of acyclic and heterocyclic amides as the extended P2–P3 ligands. These inhibitors displayed good to excellent HIV-1 protease inhibitory activity. Also, a number of inhibitors showed very good antiviral activity in MT cells. Compound 5n has shown an enzyme Ki of 0.17 nM and antiviral IC50 of 14 nM. An X-ray crystal structure of inhibitor 5o-bound to HIV-1 protease was determined at 1.11 Å resolution. This structure revealed important molecular insight into the inhibitor-HIV-1 protease interactions in the active site.
HIV-1 Protease; Inhibitors; Design; Synthesis; Antiviral; Isophthalamide
Molecular mechanisms leading to high level drug resistance have been analyzed for the clinical variant of HIV-1 protease bearing 20 mutations (PR20); which has several orders of magnitude worse affinity for tested drugs. Two crystal structures of ligand-free PR20 with the D25N mutation of the catalytic aspartate (PR20D25N) revealed three dimers with different flap conformations. The diverse conformations of PR20D25N included a dimer with one flap in a unique “tucked” conformation; directed into the active site. Analysis of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the ligand-free PR20 and wild-type enzymes showed that the mutations in PR20 alter the correlated interactions between two monomers in the dimer. The two flaps tend to fluctuate more independently in PR20 than in the wild type enzyme. Combining the results of structural analysis by X-ray crystallography and MD simulations; unusual flap conformations and weakly correlated inter-subunit motions may contribute to the high level resistance of PR20.
HIV-1 protease; drug resistance mutations; flap dynamics; resistance mechanisms; X-ray crystallography; molecular dynamics simulations; coordinated motions
Structure-based design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of a series of very potent HIV-1 protease inhibitors are described. In an effort to improve backbone ligand-binding site interactions, we have incorporated basic-amines at the C4 position of the bis-tetrahydrofuran (bis-THF) ring. We speculated that these substituents would make hydrogen bonding interactions in the flap region of HIV-1 protease. Synthesis of these inhibitors was performed diastereoselectively. A number of inhibitors displayed very potent enzyme inhibitory and antiviral activity. Inhibitors 25f, 25i, and 25j were evaluated against a number of highly-PI-resistant HIV-1 strains and they exhibited improved antiviral activity over darunavir. Two high resolution X-ray structures of 25f and 25g-bound HIV-1 protease revealed unique hydrogen bonding interactions with the backbone carbonyl group of Gly48 as well as with the backbone NH of Gly48 in the flap region of the enzyme active site. These ligand-binding site interactions are possibly responsible for their potent activity.
HIV-1 protease inhibitors; Darunavir; amino-bis-THF; multidrug-resistant; design; synthesis; X-ray crystal structure; backbone binding
We report the design, synthesis, X-ray structural studies, and biological evaluation of a novel series of HIV-1 protease inhibitors. We designed a variety of functionalized biphenyl derivatives to make enhanced van der Waals interactions in the S1 subsite of HIV-1 protease. These biphenyl derivatives were conveniently synthesized using a Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction as the key step. We examined the potential of these functionalized biphenyl-derived P1 ligands in combination with 3-(S)-tetrahydrofuranyl urethane and bis-tetrahydrofuranyl urethane as the P2 ligands. Inhibitor 21e, with a 2-methoxy-1, 1’-biphenyl derivative as P1 ligand and bis-THF as the P2 ligand, displayed the most potent enzyme inhibitory and antiviral activity. This inhibitor also exhibited potent activity against a panel of multidrug-resistant HIV-1 variants. A high resolution X-ray crystal structure of related Boc-derivative 17a-bound HIV-1 protease provided important molecular insight into the ligand-binding site interactions of the biphenyl core in the S1 subsite of HIV-1 protease.
An extremely drug resistant mutant of HIV-1 protease (PR) bearing 20 mutations (PR20) has been studied with two potent antiviral investigational inhibitors. GRL-5010A and GRL-4410A were designed to introduce hydrogen bond interactions with the flexible flaps of the PR by incorporating gem-difluorines and alkoxy, respectively, at the C4 position of the bis-THF of darunavir. PR20 provides an excellent model for high level resistance, since clinical inhibitors are >1000-fold less active on PR20 than on wild-type enzyme. GRL-5010A and GRL-4410A show inhibition constants of 4.3 ± 7.0 and 1.7 ± 1.8 nM, respectively, for PR20, compared to the binding affinity of 41 ± 1 nM measured for darunavir. Crystal structures of PR20 in complexes with the two inhibitors confirmed the new hydrogen bond interactions with Gly 48 in the flap of the enzyme. The two new compounds are more effective than darunavir in inhibiting mature PR20 and show promise for further development of antiviral agents targeting highly resistant PR mutants.
Structure-based design, synthesis, biological evaluation and X-ray structural studies of fluorine containing HIV-1 protease inhibitors are described. The synthesis of both enantiomers of the gem-difluoro-bis-THF ligands was carried out in a stereoselective manner using a Reformatskii-Claisen reaction as the key step. Optically active ligands HIV-1LAI were converted to protease inhibitors. Two of these inhibitors (3 and 4) exhibited HIV-1 protease inhibitory Ki’s in picomolar range. Both inhibitors showed very potent antiviral activity with EC50 values of 0.8 nM and 3.1 nM respectively against the laboratory strain HIV-1LAI. Both inhibitors exhibited improved lipophilicity profiles compared to darunavir. Also, both inhibitors showed much improved blood-brain-barrier permeability in an in vitro model. A high resolution X-ray structure of inhibitor 4-bound HIV-1 protease was determined. The X-ray structure revealed that fluoro ligand makes extensive interactions with the HIV-1 protease S2 subsite, including hydrogen-bonding interactions with the protease backbone atoms. Also, both fluorine atoms on the bis-THF ligand formed strong interactions with the flap Gly48 carbonyl oxygen.
HIV-1 protease inhibitor; multidrug-resistant HIV-1 strains; blood-brain-barrier; fluoro-bis-THF; ligands; X-ray structure
The design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of a series of HIV-1 protease inhibitors incorporating stereochemically defined fused tricyclic P2-ligands are described. Various substituent effects were investigated in order to maximize the ligand-binding site interactions in the protease active site. Inhibitors 16a and 16f showed excellent enzyme inhibitory and antiviral activity while incorporation of sulfone functionality resulted in a decrease in potency. Both inhibitors 16a and 16f have maintained activity against a panel of multidrug resistant HIV-1 variants. A high-resolution X-ray crystal structure of 16a-bound HIV-1 protease revealed important molecular insights into the ligand-binding site interactions which may account for the inhibitor’s potent antiviral activity and excellent resistance profiles.
Extreme drug resistant mutant of HIV-1 protease (PR) bearing 20 mutations (PR20) has been studied with the clinical inhibitor amprenavir (1) and two potent antiviral investigational inhibitors GRL-02031 (2) and GRL-0519 (3). Clinical inhibitors are >1000-fold less active on PR20 than on wild type enzyme, which is consistent with dissociation constants (KL) from isothermal titration calorimetry of 40 nM for 3, 178 nM for amprenavir, and 960 nM for 2. High resolution crystal structures of PR20-inhibitor complexes revealed altered interactions compared with the corresponding wild-type PR complexes in agreement with relative inhibition. Amprenavir lacks interactions due to PR20 mutations in the S2/S2′ subsites relative to PR. Inhibitors 2 and 3 lose interactions with Arg8′ in PR20 relative to the wild type enzyme since Arg8′ shifts to interact with mutated L10F side chain. Overall, inhibitor 3 compares favorably with darunavir in affinity for PR20 and shows promise for further development.
HIV/AIDS; aspartic protease; X-ray crystallography; drug resistance
GRL-0519 (1) is a potent antiviral inhibitor of HIV-1 protease (PR) possessing tris-tetrahydrofuran (tris-THF) at P2. The high resolution X-ray crystal structures of inhibitor 1 in complexes with single substitution mutants PRR8Q, PRD30N, PRI50V, PRI54M, and PRV82A were analyzed in relation to kinetic data. The smaller valine side chain in PRI50V eliminated hydrophobic interactions with inhibitor and the other subunit consistent with 60-fold worse inhibition. Asn30 in PRD30N showed altered interactions with neighboring residues and 18-fold worse inhibition. Mutations V82A and I54M showed compensating structural changes consistent with 6-7-fold lower inhibition. Gln8 in PRR8Q replaced the ionic interactions of wild type Arg8 with hydrogen bond interactions without changing the inhibition significantly. The carbonyl oxygen of Gly48 showed two alternative conformations in all structures likely due to the snug fit of the large tris-THF group in the S2 subsite in agreement with high antiviral efficacy of 1 on resistant virus.
HIV / AIDS; aspartic protease; X-ray crystallography; drug resistance
The escape mutant of HIV-1 protease (PR) containing 20 mutations (PR20) undergoes efficient polyprotein processing even in the presence of clinical protease inhibitors (PIs). PR20 shows >3 orders of magnitude decreased affinity for PIs darunavir (DRV) and saquinavir (SQV) relative to PR. Crystal structures of PR20 crystallized with yttrium, substrate analog p2-NC, DRV and SQV reveal three distinct conformations of the flexible flaps and diminished interactions with inhibitors through the combination of multiple mutations. PR20 with yttrium at the active site exhibits widely separated flaps lacking the usual intersubunit contacts seen in other inhibitor-free dimers. Mutations of residues 35–37 in the hinge loop eliminate interactions and perturb the flap conformation. Crystals of PR20/p2-NC contain one uninhibited dimer with one very open flap and one closed flap, and a second inhibitor-bound dimer in the closed form showing six fewer hydrogen bonds with the substrate analog relative to wild type enzyme. PR20 complexes with PIs exhibit expanded S2/S2′ pockets and fewer PI interactions arising from coordinated effects of mutations throughout the structure, in agreement with the strikingly reduced affinity. In particular, insertion of the large aromatic side chains of L10F and L33F alters intersubunit interactions and widens the PI binding site through a network of hydrophobic contacts. The two very open conformations of PR20 as well as the expanded binding site of the inhibitor-bound closed form suggest possible approaches for modifying inhibitors to target extreme drug resistant HIV.
The design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of novel C3-substituted cyclopentyltetrahydrofuranyl (Cp-THF)-derived HIV-1 protease inhibitors are described. Various C3-functional groups on the Cp-THF ligand were investigated in order to maximize the ligand-binding site interactions in the flap region of the protease. Inhibitors 3c and 3d have displayed the most potent enzyme inhibitory and antiviral activity. Both inhibitors have maintained impressive activity against a panel of multidrug resistant HIV-1 variants. A high-resolution X-ray crystal structure of 3c-bound HIV-1 protease revealed a number of important molecular insights into the ligand-binding site interactions.
HIV-1 protease inhibitors; P2 ligand; Drug resistance; Design and synthesis; X-ray crystal structure
The HIV-1 protease (PR) mediates its own release (autoprocessing) from the polyprotein precursor, Gag-Pol, flanked by the transframe region (TFR) and reverse transcriptase at its N- and C-termini, respectively. Autoprocessing at the N terminus of PR mediates stable dimer formation essential for catalytic activity leading to the formation of infectious virus. An antiparallel β-sheet interface formed by the four N- and C-terminal residues of each subunit is important for dimer stability. Here, we present the first high-resolution crystal structures of model protease precursor-clinical inhibitor (PI darunavir or saquinavir) complexes revealing varying conformations of the N-terminal flanking (S−4FNF−1) and interface residues (P1QIT4). A 180° rotation of the T4-L5 peptide bond is accompanied by a new Q2-L5 hydrogen bond and complete disengagement of PQIT from the β-sheet dimer interface, which may be a feature for intramolecular autoprocessing. This result is consistent with drastically lower thermal stability by 14–20 °C of PI complexes of precursors and the mature PR lacking its PQIT residues (by 18.3 °C). Similar to the TFR-PR precursor, this deletion also results in a darunavir dissociation constant 2x104-fold higher and a markedly increased dimer dissociation constant relative to the mature PR. The terminal β-sheet perturbations of the dimeric structure likely account for the drastically poorer inhibition of autoprocessing of TFR-PR relative to the mature PR, even though significant differences in active site-PI interactions in these structures were not observed. The novel conformations of the dimer interface may be exploited to target selectively the protease precursor prior to its N-terminal cleavage.
HIV-1 protease; Precursor processing; Crystal structure; Protease inhibitor; Calorimetry
dimerization inhibition; HIV-1 protease inhibitor; multidrug-resistant HIV-1 strains; oxatricyclic ligands; X-ray structure
We report the design, synthesis, biological evaluation, and the X-ray crystal structure of a novel inhibitor-bound HIV-1 protease. Various C3-functionalized cyclopentanyltetrahydrofurans (Cp-THF) were designed to interact with the flap Gly48 carbonyl or amide NH in the S2-subsite of the HIV-1 protease. We investigated the potential of those functionalized ligands in combination with hydroxyethyl sulfonamide isosteres. Inhibitor 26 containing a 3-(R)-hydroxyl group on the Cp-THF core, displayed the most potent enzyme inhibitory and antiviral activity. Our studies revealed a preference for the 3-(R)-configuration over the corresponding 3-(S)-derivative. Inhibitor 26 exhibited potent activity against a panel of multidrug-resistant HIV-1 variants. A high resolution X-ray structure of 26-bound HIV-1 protease revealed important molecular insight into the ligand-binding site interactions.
We investigated substituted bis-THF-derived HIV-1 protease inhibitors
in order to enhance ligand-binding site interactions in the HIV-1
protease active site. In this context, we have carried out convenient
syntheses of optically active bis-THF and C4-substituted bis-THF ligands
using a [2,3]-sigmatropic rearrangement as the key step. The synthesis
provided convenient access to a number of substituted bis-THF derivatives.
Incorporation of these ligands led to a series of potent HIV-1 protease
inhibitors. Inhibitor 23c turned out to be the most potent
(Ki = 2.9 pM; IC50 = 2.4 nM)
among the inhibitors. An X-ray structure of 23c-bound
HIV-1 protease showed extensive interactions of the inhibitor with
the protease active site, including a unique water-mediated hydrogen
bond to the Gly-48 amide NH in the S2 site.
HIV-1 protease inhibitors; Darunavir; bis-THF; drug-resistant; design; synthesis; X-ray structure
We investigated substituted bis-THF-derived HIV-1 protease inhibitors in order to enhance ligand-binding site interactions in the HIV-1 protease active site. In this context, we have carried out convenient syntheses of optically active bis-THF and C4-substituted bis-THF ligands using a [2,3]-sigmatropic rearrangement as the key step. The synthesis provided convenient access to a number of substituted bis-THF derivatives. Incorporation of these ligands led to a series of potent HIV-1 protease inhibitors. Inhibitor 23c turned out to be the most potent (Ki = 2.9 pM; IC50 = 2.4 nM) among the inhibitors. An X-ray structure of 23c-bound HIV-1 protease showed extensive interactions of the inhibitor with the protease active site, including a unique water-mediated hydrogen bond to the Gly-48 amide NH in the S2 site.
HIV-1 protease inhibitors; Darunavir; bis-THF; drug-resistant; design; synthesis; X-ray structure
When properly applied, pseudosymmetry can be used to improve crystallographic phases through averaging and to facilitate crystal structure determination.
Here, a case is presented of an unusual structure determination which was facilitated by the use of pseudosymmetry. Group A streptococcus uses cysteine protease Mac-1 (also known as IdeS) to evade the host immune system. Native Mac-1 was crystallized in the orthorhombic space group P21212. Surprisingly, crystals of the inactive C94A mutant of Mac-1 displayed monoclinic symmetry with space group P21, despite the use of native orthorhombic Mac-1 microcrystals for seeding. Attempts to solve the structure of the C94A mutant by MAD phasing in the monoclinic space group did not produce an interpretable map. The native Patterson map of the C94A mutant showed two strong peaks along the (1 0 1) diagonal, indicating possible translational pseudosymmetry in space group P21. Interestingly, one-third of the monoclinic reflections obeyed pseudo-orthorhombic P21212 symmetry similar to that of the wild-type crystals and could be indexed and processed in this space group. The pseudo-orthorhombic and monoclinic unit cells were related by the following vector operations: a
m = b
o − c
m = a
o and c
m = −2c
o − b
o. The pseudo-orthorhombic subset of data produced good SAD phases, leading to structure determination with one monomer in the asymmetric unit. Subsequently, the structure of the Mac-1 mutant in the monoclinic form was determined by molecular replacement, which showed six molecules forming three translationally related dimers aligned along the (1 0 1) diagonal. Knowing the geometric relationship between the pseudo-orthorhombic and the monoclinic unit cells, all six molecules can be generated in the monoclinic unit cell directly without the use of molecular replacement. The current case provides a successful example of the use of pseudosymmetry as a powerful phase-averaging method for structure determination by anomalous diffraction techniques. In particular, a structure can be solved in a higher pseudosymmetry subcell in which an NCS operator becomes a crystallographic operator. The geometrical relationships between the subcell and parental cell can be used to generate a complete molecular representation of the parental asymmetric unit for refinement.
pseudosymmetry; structure determination; cysteine proteases; Mac-1
Antiviral inhibitors of HIV-1 protease are a notable success of structure-based drug design and have dramatically improved AIDS therapy. Analysis of the structures and activities of drug resistant protease variants has revealed novel molecular mechanisms of drug resistance and guided the design of tight-binding inhibitors for resistant variants. The plethora of structures reveals distinct molecular mechanisms associated with resistance: mutations that alter the protease interactions with inhibitors or substrates; mutations that alter dimer stability; and distal mutations that transmit changes to the active site. These insights will inform the continuing design of novel antiviral inhibitors targeting resistant strains of HIV.
protease inhibitors; drug resistance; aspartic protease; molecular mechanism; darunavir
Caspase-3, 6 and 7 cleave many proteins at specific sites to induce apoptosis. Their recognition of the P5 position in substrates has been investigated by kinetics, modeling and crystallography. Caspase-3 and -6 recognize P5 in pentapeptides as shown by enzyme activity data and interactions observed in the crystal structure of caspase-3/LDESD and in a model for caspase-6. In caspase-3 the P5 main-chain was anchored by interactions with Ser209 in loop-3 and the P5 Leu side-chain interacted with Phe250 and Phe252 in loop-4 consistent with 50% increased hydrolysis of LDEVD relative to DEVD. Caspase-6 formed similar interactions and showed a preference for polar P5 in QDEVD likely due to interactions with polar Lys265 and hydrophobic Phe263 in loop-4. Caspase-7 exhibited no preference for P5 residue in agreement with the absence of P5 interactions in the caspase-7/LDESD crystal structure. Initiator caspase-8, with Pro in the P5-anchoring position and no loop-4, had only 20% activity on tested pentapeptides relative to DEVD. Therefore, caspases-3 and -6 bind P5 using critical loop-3 anchoring Ser/Thr and loop-4 side-chain interactions, while caspase-7 and -8 lack P5-binding residues.
Enzyme catalysis; Cysteine protease; Protein recognition; Apoptosis; Induced fit
Heavy-atom derivatization is routinely used in protein structure determination and is thus of critical importance in structural biology. In order to replace the current trial-and-error heavy-atom derivative screening with a knowledge-based rational derivative-selection method, the reactivity of more than 40 heavy-atom compounds over a wide range of buffer and pH values was systematically examined using peptides which contained a single reactive amino-acid residue.
Heavy-atom derivatization is routinely used in protein structure determination and is thus of critical importance in structural biology. In order to replace the current trial-and-error heavy-atom derivative screening with a knowledge-based rational derivative-selection method, the reactivity of more than 40 heavy-atom compounds over a wide range of buffer and pH values was systematically examined using peptides which contained a single reactive amino-acid residue. Met-, Cys- and His-containing peptides were derivatized against Hg, Au and Pt compounds, while Tyr-, Glu-, Asp-, Asn- and Gln-containing peptides were assessed against Pb compounds. A total of 1668 reactive conditions were examined using mass spectrometry and were compiled into heavy-atom reactivity tables (http://sis.niaid.nih.gov/cgi-bin/heavyatom_reactivity.cgi). The results showed that heavy-atom derivatization reactions are highly linked to buffer and pH, with the most accommodating buffer being MES at pH 6. A group of 21 compounds were identified as most successful irrespective of ligand or buffer/pH conditions. To assess the applicability of the peptide heavy-atom reactivity to proteins, lysozyme crystals were derivatized with a list of peptide-reactive compounds that included both known and new compounds for lysozyme derivatization. The results showed highly consistent heavy-atom reactivities between the peptides and lysozyme.
heavy-atom derivatization; heavy-atom screening