Drug targeting of HIV-1 RNA.DNA hybrid structures: thermodynamics of recognition and impact on reverse transcriptase-mediated ribonuclease H activity and viral replication.

Department of Pharmacology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 675 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-5635, USA.
Biochemistry (Impact Factor: 3.19). 09/2004; 43(30):9732-42. DOI: 10.1021/bi0497345
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT RNA degradation via the ribonuclease H (RNase H) activity of human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) is a critical component of the reverse transcription process. In this connection, mutations of RT that inactivate RNase H activity result in noninfectious virus particles. Thus, interfering with the RNase H activity of RT represents a potential vehicle for the inhibition of HIV-1 replication. Here, we demonstrate an approach for inhibiting the RNase H activity of HIV-1 RT by targeting its RNA.DNA hybrid substrates. Specifically, we show that the binding of the 4,5-disubstituted 2-deoxystreptamine aminoglycosides, neomycin, paromomycin, and ribostamycin, to two different chimeric RNA-DNA duplexes, which mimic two distinct intermediates in the reverse transcription process, inhibits specific RT-mediated RNase H cleavage, with this inhibition being competitive in nature. UV melting and isothermal titration calorimetry studies reveal a correlation between the relative binding affinities of the three drugs for each of the chimeric RNA-DNA host duplexes and the relative extents to which the drugs inhibit RT-mediated RNase H cleavage of the duplexes. Significantly, this correlation also extends to the relative efficacies with which the drugs inhibit HIV-1 replication. In the aggregate, our results highlight a potential strategy for AIDS chemotherapy that should not be compromised by the unusual genetic diversity of HIV-1.

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