Indexed on: 29 Jun '99Published on: 29 Jun '99Published in: Biological chemistry
In AIDS therapy, attempts have been made to inhibit the virus-encoded enzymes, e.g. HIV-1 protease, using active site-directed inhibitors. This approach is questionable, however, due to virus mutations and the high toxicity of the drugs. An alternative method to inhibit the dimeric HIV protease is the targeting of the interface region of the protease subunits in order to prevent subunit dimerization and enzyme activity. This approach should be less prone to inactivation by mutation. A list of improved 'dimerization inhibitors' of HIV-1 protease is presented. The main structural features are a short 'interface' peptide segment, including non-natural amino acids, and an aliphatic N-terminal blocking group. The high inhibitory power of some of the lipopeptides [e.g. palmitoyl-Tyr-Glu-Leu-OH, palmitoyl-Tyr-Glu-(L-thyronine)-OH, palmitoyl-Tyr-Glu-(L-biphenyl-alanine)-OH] with low nanomolar Ki values in the enzyme test suggests that mimetics with good bio-availability can be derived for AIDS therapy.