Combining mutations in HIV-1 protease to understand mechanisms of resistance

Proteins. 2002 Jul 1;48(1):107-16. doi: 10.1002/prot.10140.


HIV-1 develops resistance to protease inhibitors predominantly by selecting mutations in the protease gene. Studies of resistant mutants of HIV-1 protease with single amino acid substitutions have shown a range of independent effects on specificity, inhibition, and stability. Four double mutants, K45I/L90M, K45I/V82S, D30N/V82S, and N88D/L90M were selected for analysis on the basis of observations of increased or decreased stability or enzymatic activity for the respective single mutants. The double mutants were assayed for catalysis, inhibition, and stability. Crystal structures were analyzed for the double mutants at resolutions of 2.2-1.2 A to determine the associated molecular changes. Sequence-dependent changes in protease-inhibitor interactions were observed in the crystal structures. Mutations D30N, K45I, and V82S showed altered interactions with inhibitor residues at P2/P2', P3/P3'/P4/P4', and P1/P1', respectively. One of the conformations of Met90 in K45I/L90M has an unfavorably close contact with the carbonyl oxygen of Asp25, as observed previously in the L90M single mutant. The observed catalytic efficiency and inhibition for the double mutants depended on the specific substrate or inhibitor. In particular, large variation in cleavage of p6(pol)-PR substrate was observed, which is likely to result in defects in the maturation of the protease from the Gag-Pol precursor and hence viral replication. Three of the double mutants showed values for stability that were intermediate between the values observed for the respective single mutants. D30N/V82S mutant showed lower stability than either of the two individual mutations, which is possibly due to concerted changes in the central P2-P2' and S2-S2' sites. The complex effects of combining mutations are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Drug Resistance, Viral*
  • Enzyme Stability
  • HIV Protease / chemistry
  • HIV Protease / genetics*
  • HIV Protease / metabolism*
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • HIV-1 / enzymology*
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation*
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Peptides
  • HIV Protease