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ABSTRACT: Saquinavir (SQV) was the first HIV-1 PR inhibitor licensed for clinical use and widely used for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) therapy. Its effectiveness, however, has been hindered by the emergence of resistant mutations. The two most important HIV-1 PR mutants are G48V and G48V/L90M. Inhibition studies of SQV on these mutants demonstrated 13.5- and 419-fold reductions of susceptibility, respectively. In this study, an analysis of energetic binding affinity between saquinavir and the HIV-1 PR wild-type and these two mutants has been performed in detail based on density functional theory and the hybrid quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) calculations. We have found that the interaction of SQV with flap residue 48 of the mutants is significantly perturbed, as shown by the reduced stability of binding between SQV and residue 48 for the G48V and G48V/L90M mutants over the wild-type. This was associated with conformational changes of the inhibitor and the enzyme, leading to the loss of hydrogen bonding between the binding subsite P2 and the backbone carbonyl of residue 48. Moreover, the G48V/L90M mutations cause the repositioning of the residues close to residues 48 and 90, at important locations as a part of the flap and catalytic regions, respectively. The repositioning of these residues consequently perturbed the binding affinity of SQV in the pocket as indicated by the decreasing interaction energies. In addition to the loss of inhibitor/enzyme binding, it is interesting to observe that the mutation leads significantly to an increase of the stability of the enzyme.
Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling 12/2007; 26(4):720-7. · 2.02 Impact Factor