Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 resistance to the small molecule maturation inhibitor 3-O-(3',3'-dimethylsuccinyl)-betulinic acid is conferred by a variety of single amino acid substitutions at the CA-SP1 cleavage site in Gag.
The compound 3-O-(3',3'-dimethylsuccinyl)-betulinic acid (DSB) potently and specifically inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication by delaying the cleavage of the CA-SP1 junction in Gag, leading to impaired maturation of the viral core. In this study, we investigated HIV-1 resistance to DSB by analyzing HIV-1 mutants encoding a variety of individual amino acid substitutions in the CA-SP1 cleavage site. Three of the substitutions were lethal to HIV-1 replication owing to a deleterious effect on particle assembly. The remaining mutants exhibited a range of replication efficiencies; however, each mutant was capable of replicating in the presence of concentrations of DSB that effectively inhibited wild-type HIV-1. Mutations conferring resistance to DSB also led to impaired binding of the compound to immature HIV-1 virions and loss of DSB-mediated inhibition of cleavage of Gag. Surprisingly, two of the DSB-resistant mutants retained an intermediate ability to bind the compound, suggesting that binding of DSB to immature HIV-1 particles may not be sufficient for antiviral activity. Overall, our results indicate that Gag amino acids L363 and A364 are critical for inhibition of HIV-1 replication by DSB and suggest that these residues form key contacts with the drug in the context of the assembling HIV-1 particle. These results have implications for the design of and screening for novel inhibitors of HIV-1 maturation.
Zhou, J; Chen, CH; Aiken, C
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