New HIV therapies are urgently needed to address the growing problem of drug resistance. In this article, we characterize the anti-HIV drug candidate 3-O-(3′,3′-dimethylsuccinyl) betulinic acid (PA-457). We show that PA-457 potently inhibits replication of both WT and drug-resistant HIV-1 isolates and demonstrate that the compound acts by disrupting a late step in Gag processing involving conversion of the capsid precursor (p25) to mature capsid protein (p24). We find that virions from PA-457-treated cultures are noninfectious and exhibit an aberrant particle morphology characterized by a spherical, acentric core and a crescent-shaped, electron-dense shell lying just inside the viral membrane. To identify the determinants of compound activity we selected for PA-457-resistant virus in vitro. Consistent with the effect on Gag processing, we found that mutations conferring resistance to PA-457 map to the p25 to p24 cleavage site. PA-457 represents a unique class of anti-HIV compounds termed maturation inhibitors that exploit a previously unidentified viral target, providing additional opportunities for HIV drug discovery.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Nov 11 2003|
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