Semisynthetic analogues of PSC-RANTES, a potent anti-HIV protein

Department of Structural Biology and Bioinformatics, Centre Médical Universitaire, 1 rue Michel Servet, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.
Bioconjugate Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.51). 03/2008; 19(2):480-9. DOI: 10.1021/bc7003044
Source: PubMed


New HIV prevention methods are needed, and among those currently being explored are "microbicides", substances applied topically to prevent HIV acquisition during sexual intercourse. The chemokine analogue PSC-RANTES (N(alpha)(n-nonanoyl)-des-Ser(1)-[ L-thioprolyl(2), L-cyclohexylglycyl(3)]-RANTES(4-68)) is a highly potent HIV entry inhibitor which has shown promising efficacy in its initial evaluation as a candidate microbicide. However, a way must be found to produce the molecule by cheaper means than total chemical synthesis. Since the only noncoded structures are located at the N-terminus, a possible solution would be to produce a protein fragment representing all but the N-terminal region using low-cost recombinant production methods and then to attach, site specifically, a short synthetic fragment containing the noncoded N-terminal structures. Here, we describe the evaluation of a range of different conjugation chemistries in order to identify those with potential for development as economical routes to production of a PSC-RANTES analogue with antiviral activity as close as possible to that of the parent protein. The strategies tested involved linkage through oxime, hydrazone/hydrazide, and Psi[CH2-NH] bonds, as well as through a peptide bond obtained either by a thiazolidine rearrangement or by direct alpha-amino acylation of a protein fragment in which 4 of the 5 lysine residues of the native sequence were replaced by arginine (the fifth lysine is essential for activity). Where conjugation involved replacement of one or more residues with a linker moiety, the point in the main chain at which the linker was introduced was varied. The resulting panel of 22 PSC-RANTES analogues was evaluated for anti-HIV activity in an entry inhibition assay. The [Arg (25,45,56,57)] PSC-RANTES analogue has comparable potency to PSC-RANTES, and one of the oxime linked analogues, 4L-57, has potency only 5-fold lower, with scope for improvement. Both represent promising leads for development as microbicide compounds that could be produced at low cost via semisynthesis.

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    • "Human serum albumin (HSA) was a gift from GeneProt (Geneva, Switzerland). Rantes 10–68 was chemically synthesized using Boc chemistry solid phase peptide synthesis and native chemical ligation as previously described [21]. CYAKYAKL, CPYAKYAKL, GCYAKYAKL and TYAKYAKL were chemically synthesized as previously described [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: To highlight promising areas of research and preview future generations of microbicides, this review will focus on reports that described new cellular or viral targets, drug substances, or strategies that are specifically intended for topical microbicides. Those reports that dealt with the design, discovery, and synthesis of anti-HIV agents for use in oral or parenteral formulations, while important for the microbicide field, are beyond the scope of this review. Drug substances intended for topical microbicides are becoming increasingly target specific and, structurally, more complex. New production methods might reduce the cost of microbicides that contain these complex molecules. Genetically engineered probiotic vaginal bacteria express an even wider range of antiviral compounds, perhaps resulting in uninterrupted, coitally independent protection. Combination microbicides that contain two or more drug substances frequently act synergistically. The discovery of new cellular targets such as syndecan-3 might lead to more effective microbicides. Future generations of microbicides will likely contain one or more complex or highly specific drug substances, resulting in safer and more effective products. Since compliance issues continue to confound HIV and herpes simplex virus trials, efforts to bring practical, coitally independent microbicides to developing countries will become a top priority.
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