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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Dec 14;127(49):17253-60.

Effect of a bound non-nucleoside RT inhibitor on the dynamics of wild-type and mutant HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Center for Computational Sciences, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15282, USA.


HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) is an important target for drugs used in the treatment of AIDS. Drugs known as non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTI) appear to alter the structural and dynamical properties of RT which in turn inhibit RT's ability to transcribe. Molecular dynamics (MD), principal component analysis (PCA), and binding free energy simulations are employed to explore the dynamics of RT and its interaction with the bound NNRTI nevirapine, for both wild-type and mutant (V106A, Y181C, Y188C) RT. These three mutations commonly arise in the presence of nevirapine and result in resistance to the drug. We show that a bound NNRTI hinders the motion of almost all RT amino acids. The mutations, located in the non-nucleoside RT inhibitor binding pocket, partially restore RT flexibility. The binding affinities calculated by molecular mechanics/Poisson-Boltzmann surface accessibility (MM-PBSA) show that nevirapine interacts stronger with wild-type RT than with mutant RT. The mutations cause a loss of van der Waals interactions between the drug and the binding pocket. The results from this study suggest that a good inhibitor should efficiently enter and maximally occupy the binding pocket, thereby interacting effectively with the amino acids around the binding pocket.

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