Identification and Optimization of a Novel HIV-1 Integrase Inhibitor

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Chemistry and Biochemistry


Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) is the causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV-1, like all retroviruses, stably integrates its vDNA copy into host chromatin, a process allowing for permanent infection. This essential step for HIV-1 replication is catalyzed by viral integrase (IN) and aided by cellular protein LEDGF/p75. In addition, IN is also crucial for proper virion maturation as it interacts with the viral RNA genome to ensure encapsulation of ribonucleoprotein complexes within the protective capsid core. These key functions make IN an attractive target for the development of inhibitors with various mechanisms of action. We conducted a high-throughput screen (HTS) of ∼370,000 compounds using a homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence-based assay capable of capturing diverse inhibitors targeting multifunctional IN. Our approach revealed chemical scaffolds containing diketo acid moieties similar to IN strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) as well as novel compounds distinct from all current IN inhibitors including INSTIs and allosteric integrase inhibitors (ALLINIs). Specifically, our HTS resulted in the discovery of compound 12, with a novel IN inhibitor scaffold amenable for chemical modification. Its more potent derivative 14e similarly inhibited catalytic activities of WT and mutant INs containing archetypical INSTI- and ALLINI-derived resistant substitutions. Further SAR-based optimization resulted in compound 22 with an antiviral EC50 of ∼58 μM and a selectivity index of >8500. Thus, our studies identified a novel small-molecule scaffold for inhibiting HIV-1 IN, which provides a promising platform for future development of potent antiviral agents to complement current HIV-1 therapies.

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ACS Omega





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