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J Biol Chem. 2005 Nov 4;280(44):36784-91. Epub 2005 Aug 8.

In vitro studies of cross-resistance mutations against two hepatitis C virus serine protease inhibitors, VX-950 and BILN 2061.

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  • 1Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


VX-950 is a potent, small molecule, peptidomimetic inhibitor of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3.4A serine protease and has recently been shown to possess antiviral activity in a phase I trial in patients chronically infected with genotype 1 HCV. In a previous study, we described in vitro resistance mutations against either VX-950 or another HCV NS3.4A protease inhibitor, BILN 2061. Single amino acid substitutions that conferred drug resistance (distinct for either inhibitor) were identified in the HCV NS3 serine protease domain. The dominant VX-950-resistant mutant (A156S) remains sensitive to BILN 2061. The major BILN 2061-resistant mutants (D168V and D168A) are fully susceptible to VX-950. Modeling analysis suggested that there are different mechanisms of resistance for these mutations induced by VX-950 or BILN 2061. In this study, we identified mutants that are cross-resistant to both HCV protease inhibitors. The cross-resistance conferred by substitution of Ala(156) with either Val or Thr was confirmed by characterization of the purified enzymes and reconstituted replicon cells containing the single amino acid substitution A156V or A156T. Both cross-resistance mutations (A156V and A156T) displayed significantly diminished fitness (or replication capacity) in a transient replicon cell system.

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