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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jun 27;103(26):10080-5. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

Discovery of a small-molecule HIV-1 integrase inhibitor-binding site.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


Herein, we report the identification of a unique HIV-1 integrase (IN) inhibitor-binding site using photoaffinity labeling and mass spectrometric analysis. We chemically incorporated a photo-activatable benzophenone moiety into a series of coumarin-containing IN inhibitors. A representative of this series was covalently photo-crosslinked with the IN core domain and subjected to HPLC purification. Fractions were subsequently analyzed by using MALDI-MS and electrospray ionization (ESI)-MS to identify photo-crosslinked products. In this fashion, a single binding site for an inhibitor located within the tryptic peptide (128)AACWWAGIK(136) was identified. Site-directed mutagenesis followed by in vitro inhibition assays resulted in the identification of two specific amino acid residues, C130 and W132, in which substitutions resulted in a marked resistance to the IN inhibitors. Docking studies suggested a specific disruption in functional oligomeric IN complex formation. The combined approach of photo-affinity labeling/MS analysis with site-directed mutagenesis/molecular modeling is a powerful approach for elucidating inhibitor-binding sites of proteins at the atomic level. This approach is especially important for the study of proteins that are not amenable to traditional x-ray crystallography and NMR techniques. This type of structural information can help illuminate processes of inhibitor resistance and thereby facilitate the design of more potent second-generation inhibitors.

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