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Biochem Pharmacol. 1994 Aug 3;48(3):595-608.

Inhibition of HIV-1 integrase by flavones, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) and related compounds.

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Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


The inhibition of HIV-1 integrase by flavones and related compounds was investigated biochemically and by means of structure-activity relationships. Purified enzyme and synthetic oligonucleotides were used to assay for three reactions catalysed by integrase: (1) processing of 3' termini by cleavage of the terminal dinucleotide; (2) strand transfer, which models the integration step; and (3) "disintegration," which models the reversal of the strand transfer reaction. Inhibitions of all three reactions by flavones generally occurred in parallel, but caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) appeared to inhibit reaction 2 selectively. CAPE, however, inhibited reactions 1 and 3 effectively when preincubated with the enzyme, suggesting that this compound differs from the flavones primarily in requiring more time to block the enzyme. The core integrase fragment consisting of amino acids 50-212 retained the ability to catalyse reaction 3, and flavones and CAPE retained the ability to inhibit. Hence, the putative zinc-finger region that is deleted in this fragment is probably not the target of inhibition. Inhibition by flavones usually required the presence of at least one ortho pair of phenolic hydroxyl groups and at least one or two additional hydroxyl groups. Potency was enhanced by the presence of additional hydroxyl groups, especially when present in ortho pairs or in adjacent groups of three. Inhibitory activity was reduced or eliminated by methoxy or glycosidic substitutions or by saturation of the 2,3 double bond. These structure-activity findings for flavones were generally concordant with those previously reported for reverse transcriptase and topoisomerase II. These findings are discussed in the context of a review of the effects of flavones on various enzymes, the possible mechanisms of inhibition, and the potential for building upon a general pharmacophore to generate target specificity.

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