Whiskers-less HIV-protease: A possible way for HIV-1 deactivation

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Background: Among viral enzymes, the human HIV-1 protease comprises the most interesting target for drug discovery. There are increasing efforts focused on designing more effective inhibitors for HIV-1 protease in order to prevent viral replication in AIDS patients. The frequent and continuous mutation of HIV-1 protease gene creates a formidable obstacle for enzyme inhibition which could not be overcome by the traditional single drug therapy. Nowadays, in vitro and in silico studies of protease inhibition constitute an advanced field in biological researches. In this article, we tried to simulate protease-substrate complexes in different states; a native state and states with whiskers deleted from one and two subunits. Molecular dynamic simulations were carried out in a cubic box filled with explicit water at 37°C and in 1atomsphere of pressure. Results: Our results showed that whisker truncation of protease subunits causes the dimer structure to decrease in compactness, disrupts substrate-binding site interactions and changes in flap status simultaneously. Conclusions: Based on our findings we claim that whisker truncation even when applied to a single subunit, threats dimer association which probably leads to enzyme inactivation. We may postulate that inserting a gene to express truncated protease inside infected cells can interfere with protease dimerization. The resulted proteases would presumably have a combination of native and truncated subunits in their structures which exert no enzyme activities as evidenced by the present work. Our finding may create a new field of research in HIV gene therapy for protease inhibition, circumventing problems of drug resistance. © 2013 Dayer and Dayer; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Dayer, M. R., & Dayer, M. S. (2013). Whiskers-less HIV-protease: A possible way for HIV-1 deactivation. Journal of Biomedical Science, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1423-0127-20-67

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