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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1990;616:125-48.

Peptides derived from the CDR3-homologous domain of the CD4 molecule are specific inhibitors of HIV-1 and SIV infection, virus-induced cell fusion, and postinfection viral transmission in vitro. Implications for the design of small peptide anti-HIV therapeutic agents.

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Laboratory of Cell Biology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Peptides 12-25 amino acids in length from the V1J1 region of the CD4 molecule (residues 1-120) were synthesized as randomly derivatized, deliberately derivatized, or pure peptide products, and tested for their ability to inhibit HIV-1-induced cell fusion, HIV-1 and SIV infection of CD4-positive human cells, HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein binding to the CD4 molecule, CD4-neutralizing antibody binding to the CD4 holoreceptor, and CD4-dependent cellular immune function in the mixed lymphocyte and cytotoxic T-cell bioassays. Only peptides derived from the complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3)-homologous domain of CD4, in particular CD4(81-92) and CD4(81-101), were effective antiviral agents. Within the CD4(81-92) series, R-group derivatization of selective amino acid residues was an absolute requirement for biological activity. The prototype compound T1C4E5-tribenzyl-K10-acetyl-TYICEVEDQKEE inhibited HIV-1-induced cell fusion at 32 microM, HIV-1 infection of CEM-SS cells at 10 microM, SIV infection of CEM-174 cells at less than 125 microM, gp120/CD4 binding at 60 microM, and postinfection cell-mediated viral transmission at 10-15 microM. Compounds of identical structure and derivatization, but of altered primary sequence, were substantially less active, or without activity, in these assays. These data indicate that the effect of amino acid derivatization of the CD4(81-92) peptide was most likely restriction of the flexible underivatized peptide backbone to a conformation closely approximating that of the CDR3-homologous gp120 binding site of the native CD4 molecule. Peptide antiviral activity was specific, as judged by lack of cytotoxicity, lack of inhibition of HTLV-1-induced cell fusion, and lack of inhibition of CD4-dependent cellular immune function in vitro. Further derivatization of the prototype compound involving the production of cyclic congeners yielded peptides with submicromolar potency to block HIV-1 infection, strengthening the hypothesis that previous peptide derivations accomplished partial restriction of the conformation of CD4(81-92) to one favorable for interaction with gp120. Concentrations of the original prototype compound T1C4E5-tribenzyl-CD4(81-92) that inhibited infection in vitro more than 50% could be achieved for several hours by intravenous infusion in primates and were well-tolerated at these levels. The peptide was not efficacious to inhibit establishment of viral infection at these doses; however, peptide treatment did lower average viral antigenemia and delay the cumulative time to morbidity relative to the control group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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