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J Chem Theory Comput. 2012 Oct 9;8(10):3452-3462. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Differential Flap Dynamics in Wild-type and a Drug Resistant Variant of HIV-1 Protease Revealed by Molecular Dynamics and NMR Relaxation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, 01605, USA.


In the rapidly evolving disease of HIV drug resistance readily emerges, nullifying the effectiveness of therapy. Drug resistance has been extensively studied in HIV-1 protease where resistance occurs when the balance between enzyme inhibition and substrate recognition and turn-over is perturbed to favor catalytic activity. Mutations which confer drug resistance can impact the dynamics and structure of both the bound and unbound forms of the enzyme. Flap+ is a multi-drug-resistant variant of HIV-1 protease with a combination of mutations at the edge of the active site, within the active site, and in the flaps (L10I, G48V, I54V, V82A). The impact of these mutations on the dynamics in the unliganded form in comparison with the wild-type protease was elucidated with Molecular Dynamic simulations and NMR relaxation experiments. The comparative analyses from both methods concur in showing that the enzyme's dynamics are impacted by the drug resistance mutations in Flap+ protease. These alterations in the enzyme dynamics, particularly within the flaps, likely modulate the balance between substrate turn-over and drug binding, thereby conferring drug resistance.

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