A Class of Potent Inhibitors of the HIV-1 Nucleocapsid Protein Based on Aminopyrrolic Scaffolds.
- HIV Clinical and Translational Research
The HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein 7 (NC) is a potential target for effective antiretroviral therapy due to its central role in virus replication, mainly linked to nucleic acid (NA) chaperone activity, and low susceptibility to drug resistance. By screening a compounds library, we identified the aminopyrrolic compound CN14_17, a known carbohydrate binding agent, that inhibits the NC chaperone activity in the low micromolar range. Different from most of available NC inhibitors, CN14_17 fully prevents the NC-induced annealing of complementary NA sequences. Using fluorescence assays and isothermal titration calorimetry, we found that CN14_17 competes with NC for the binding to NAs, preferentially targeting single-stranded sequences. Molecular dynamics simulations confirmed that binding to cTAR occurs preferably within the guanosine-rich single stranded sequence. Finally, CN14_17 exhibited antiretroviral activity in the low micromolar range, although with a moderate therapeutic index. Overall, CN14_17 might be the progenitor of a new promising class of NC inhibitors.