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J Mol Biol. 2007 Jun 15;369(4):1029-40. Epub 2007 Mar 24.

Structural characterization of B and non-B subtypes of HIV-protease: insights into the natural susceptibility to drug resistance development.

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Grupo de Cristalografia, Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Trabalhador Saocarlense, 400, CEP 13560-970, São Carlos, SP, Brazil.


Although a majority of HIV-1 infections in Brazil are caused by the subtype B virus (also prevalent in the United States and Western Europe), viral subtypes F and C are also found very frequently. Genomic differences between the subtypes give rise to sequence variations in the encoded proteins, including the HIV-1 protease. The current anti-HIV drugs have been developed primarily against subtype B and the effects arising from the combination of drug-resistance mutations with the naturally existing polymorphisms in non-B HIV-1 subtypes are only beginning to be elucidated. To gain more insights into the structure and function of different variants of HIV proteases, we have determined a 2.1 A structure of the native subtype F HIV-1 protease (PR) in complex with the protease inhibitor TL-3. We have also solved crystal structures of two multi-drug resistant mutant HIV PRs in complex with TL-3, from subtype B (Bmut) carrying the primary mutations V82A and L90M, and from subtype F (Fmut) carrying the primary mutation V82A plus the secondary mutation M36I, at 1.75 A and 2.8 A resolution, respectively. The proteases Bmut, Fwt and Fmut exhibit sevenfold, threefold, and 54-fold resistance to TL-3, respectively. In addition, the structure of subtype B wild type HIV-PR in complex with TL-3 has been redetermined in space group P6(1), consistent with the other three structures. Our results show that the primary mutation V82A causes the known effect of collapsing the S1/S1' pockets that ultimately lead to the reduced inhibitory effect of TL-3. Our results further indicate that two naturally occurring polymorphic substitutions in subtype F and other non-B HIV proteases, M36I and L89M, may lead to early development of drug resistance in patients infected with non-B HIV subtypes.

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