The HIV-1 nucleocapsid (NC) protein represents an excellent molecular target for the development of antiretrovirals by virtue of its well-characterized chaperone activities, which play pivotal roles in essential steps of the viral life cycle. Our ongoing search for candidates able to impair NC binding/annealing activities led to the identification of peptidylanthraquinones as a promising class of nucleic acid ligands. Seeking to elucidate the inhibition determinants and increase the potency of this class of compounds, we have now explored the effects of chirality in the linker connecting the planar nucleus to the basic side chains. We show here that the non-natural linker configuration imparted unexpected TAR RNA targeting properties to the 2,6-peptidyl-anthraquinones and significantly enhanced their potency. Even if the new compounds were able to interact directly with the NC protein, they manifested a consistently higher affinity for the TAR RNA substrate and their TARbinding properties mirrored their ability to interfere with NC-TAR interactions. Based on these findings, we propose that the viral Tat protein, sharing the same RNA substrate but acting in distinct phases of the viral life cycle, constitutes an additional druggable target for this class of peptidyl-anthraquinones. The inhibition of Tat-TAR interaction for the test compounds correlated again with their TAR-binding properties, while simultaneously failing to demonstrate any direct Tat-binding capabilities. These considerations highlighted the importance of TAR RNA in the elucidation of their inhibition mechanism, rather than direct protein inhibition. We have therefore identified anti-TAR compounds with dual in vitro inhibitory activity on different viral proteins, demonstrating that it is possible to develop multitarget compounds capable of interfering with processes mediated by the interactions of this essential RNA domain of HIV-1 genome with NC and Tat proteins.

Non-Natural Linker Configuration in 2,6-Dipeptidyl-Anthraquinones Enhances the Inhibition of TAR RNA Binding/Annealing Activities by HIV-1 NC and Tat Proteins

Sosic, Alice;CARRARO, CATERINA;Gamba, Elia;Gatto, Barbara
2018

Abstract

The HIV-1 nucleocapsid (NC) protein represents an excellent molecular target for the development of antiretrovirals by virtue of its well-characterized chaperone activities, which play pivotal roles in essential steps of the viral life cycle. Our ongoing search for candidates able to impair NC binding/annealing activities led to the identification of peptidylanthraquinones as a promising class of nucleic acid ligands. Seeking to elucidate the inhibition determinants and increase the potency of this class of compounds, we have now explored the effects of chirality in the linker connecting the planar nucleus to the basic side chains. We show here that the non-natural linker configuration imparted unexpected TAR RNA targeting properties to the 2,6-peptidyl-anthraquinones and significantly enhanced their potency. Even if the new compounds were able to interact directly with the NC protein, they manifested a consistently higher affinity for the TAR RNA substrate and their TARbinding properties mirrored their ability to interfere with NC-TAR interactions. Based on these findings, we propose that the viral Tat protein, sharing the same RNA substrate but acting in distinct phases of the viral life cycle, constitutes an additional druggable target for this class of peptidyl-anthraquinones. The inhibition of Tat-TAR interaction for the test compounds correlated again with their TAR-binding properties, while simultaneously failing to demonstrate any direct Tat-binding capabilities. These considerations highlighted the importance of TAR RNA in the elucidation of their inhibition mechanism, rather than direct protein inhibition. We have therefore identified anti-TAR compounds with dual in vitro inhibitory activity on different viral proteins, demonstrating that it is possible to develop multitarget compounds capable of interfering with processes mediated by the interactions of this essential RNA domain of HIV-1 genome with NC and Tat proteins.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3278832
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