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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2006 Dec;386(7-8):2213-7. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

Drug-protein interaction with Vpu from HIV-1: proposing binding sites for amiloride and one of its derivatives.

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Biomembrane Structure Unit, Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QU, UK.


Vpu is an 81-amino-acid auxiliary protein of the genome of HIV-1. It is proposed that one of its roles is to enhance particle release by self-assembling to form water-filled channels enabling the flux of ions at the site of the plasma membrane of the infected cell. Hexamethylene amiloride has been shown to block Vpu channel activity when the protein is reconstituted into lipid bilayers. In a docking approach with monomeric, pentameric and hexameric bundle models of Vpu corresponding to the transmembrane part of the protein, a putative binding site of hexamethylene amiloride is proposed and is compared with the site for the nonpotent amiloride. The binding mode for both ligands is achieved by optimizing hydrogen bond interactions with serines. Binding energies and binding constants are the lowest for protonated hexamethylene amiloride in the pentameric bundle.

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