HIV protease inhibitors: effects on viral maturation and physiologic function in macrophages.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the retrovirus believed to be the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), infects a variety of CD4+ cells, including lymphocytes and cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. Encoded in the HIV genome are several precursor proteins that must undergo proteolytic cleavage to yield functional proteins. The gag precursor protein of HIV (p55) is cleaved by a virally encoded aspartate protease (HIV protease). Because cleavage of p55 is required for viral maturation and infectivity, inhibition of HIV protease is an attractive target for therapy designed to block the progression of HIV infection. Inhibitors of HIV protease from a variety of chemical classes have been synthesized and antiviral activity has been demonstrated in lymphocytes and cells from the monocyte/macrophage lineage. A few HIV protease inhibitors have progressed to the clinic and some have shown promise in early trials. There are, however, several important issues that will affect the development of a successful HIV protease inhibitor, including cell and tissue distribution and immunotoxicity. These issues are tissue distribution and immunotoxicity. These issues are discussed, with an emphasis on the complexities posed by cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage.
Bugelski, PJ; Kirsh, R; Hart, TK
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