Send to

Choose Destination
J Biol Chem. 2001 Dec 28;276(52):48725-32. Epub 2001 Oct 19.

The emergence of different resistance mechanisms toward nucleoside inhibitors is explained by the properties of the wild type HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.

Author information

UPR9002 du CNRS, Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, 15 rue René Descartes, Strasbourg 67084 cedex, France.


Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) represent one of the main drug families used against AIDS. Once incorporated in DNA, they act as chain terminators, due to the lack of a 3'-hydroxyl group. As for the other anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 drugs, their efficiency is limited by the emergence of resistant viral strains. Unexpectedly, previous studies indicated that resistance toward NRTIs is achieved via two distinct and generally exclusive mechanisms. Resistance mutations either decrease the efficiency of NRTIs incorporation or increase their excision from the extended primer. To understand the emergence of different resistance mechanisms toward a single inhibitor class, we compared the incorporation and the pyrophosphorolysis of several NRTIs using wild type reverse transcriptase (WT RT). We found that the efficiency of discrimination or excision by pyrophosphorolysis in the presence of nucleotides of a given NRTI is a key determinant in the emergence of one or the other resistance pathway. Indeed, our results suggest that the pathway by which RT become resistant toward a given NRTI can be predicted by studying the inhibition of WT RT, because the resistance mutations do not confer new properties to the mutant enzyme, but rather exacerbate pre-existing properties of the WT enzyme. They also help to understand the low cross-resistance toward d4T observed with the 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (AZT or zidovudine)-resistant RT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center