Inhibitor binding to the Phe53Trp mutant of HIV-1 protease promotes conformational changes detectable by spectrofluorometry. Academic Article uri icon


  • HIV-1 protease contains two identical, conformationally mobile loops, known as flaps, which form in part the binding pockets for substrates and inhibitors. We have constructed a site-specific mutant of the protease in which residues Phe-53 and Phe-153 at the end of the flaps have been mutated to Trp residues, in order to incorporate a specific fluorescent probe to monitor conformational changes upon the binding of an inhibitor. The Phe53Trp (F53W) mutant of HIV-1 protease was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified from bacterial lysates. Analysis of the purified mutant protease demonstrated that its kinetic properties were highly similar to those of the wild-type protease. While binding of a potent peptide-analogue inhibitor (Ki = 9 nM) to the wild-type enzyme led to no change in protein fluorescence, a 5-8% increase in fluorescence was observed with the F53W mutant, indicating an enhancement of the Trp fluorescence due to flap movement upon inhibitor binding. Investigation of the kinetics of the F53W protease-inhibitor binding by stopped-flow spectrofluorometry revealed a rapid increase in protein fluorescence upon formation of the enzyme-inhibitor complex. These data were consistent with a one-step mechanistic model of inhibitor binding in which flap movement was concomitant with inhibitor binding, from which respective rate constants of association and dissociation of 2.5 x 10(6) M-1 s-1 and 0.023 s-1 were obtained.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Rodrguez, E. J., Debouck, C., Deckman, I. C., Abu-Soud, H., Raushel, F. M., & Meek, T. D.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Rodríguez, EJ||Debouck, C||Deckman, IC||Abu-Soud, H||Raushel, FM||Meek, TD

publication date

  • April 1993