A symmetric inhibitor binds HIV-1 protease asymmetrically.
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Potential advantages of C2-symmetric inhibitors designed for the symmetric HIV-1 protease include high selectivity, potency, stability, and bioavailability. Pseudo-C2-symmetric monools and C2-symmetric diols, containing central hydroxymethylene and (R,R)-dihydroxyethylene moieties flanked by a variety of hydrophobic P1/P1' side chains, were studied as HIV-1 protease inhibitors. The monools and diols were synthesized in 8-10 steps from D-(+)-arabitol and D-(+)-mannitol, respectively. Monools with ethyl or isobutyl P1/P1' side chains were weak inhibitors of recombinant HIV-1 protease (Ki > 10 microM), while benzyl P1/P1' side chains afforded a moderately potent inhibitor (apparent Ki = 230 nM). Diols were 100-10,000x more potent than analogous monools, and a wider range of P1/P1' side chains led to potent inhibition. Both classes of compounds exhibited lower apparent Ki values under high-salt conditions. Surprisingly, monool and diol HIV-1 protease inhibitors were potent inhibitors of porcine pepsin, a prototypical asymmetric monomeric aspartic protease. These results were evaluated in the context of the pseudosymmetric structure of monomeric aspartic proteases and their evolutionary kinship with the retroviral proteases. The X-ray crystal structure of HIV-1 protease complexed with a symmetric diol was determined at 2.6 A. Contrary to expectations, the diol binds the protease asymmetrically and exhibits 2-fold disorder in the electron density map. Molecular dynamics simulations were conducted beginning with asymmetric and symmetric HIV-1 protease/inhibitor model complexes. A more stable trajectory resulted from the asymmetric complex, in agreement with the observed asymmetric binding mode. A simple four-point model was used to argue more generally that van der Waals and electrostatic force fields can commonly lead to an asymmetric association between symmetric molecules.
author list (cited authors)
Dreyer, G. B., Boehm, J. C., Chenera, B., DesJarlais, R. L., Hassell, A. M., Meek, T. D., Tomaszek, T. A., & Lewis, M.