TSAO derivatives, inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase dimerization: recent progress

Curr Pharm Des. 2006;12(15):1895-907. doi: 10.2174/138161206776873563.


There is an urgent need for the development of new and safer drugs for the treatment of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection, active against the currently resistant viral strains or directed to novel targets in the viral replicative cycle that may be useful for multiple drug combination. TSAO derivatives are a peculiar group of highly functionalized nucleosides that belong to the so-called nonnucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs). HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) is a key enzyme that plays an essential and multifunctional role in the life cycle of the virus and thus represents a key target for antiviral chemotherapeutic intervention. The dimeric form of the enzyme is absolutely required for all enzymatic activities. Thus, the process of dimerization and subsequent maturation into the p66/p51 heterodimer is essential for a fully functional RT and constitutes a target for therapeutic intervention, however to date such agents have not been developed. TSAO molecules are a peculiar group of non-nucleoside RT inhibitors that exert a unique selectivity for HIV-1 through a specific interaction with the p51 subunit of HIV-1 RT. They interact at the p66/p51 heterodimer interface of the enzyme. They were the first small non peptidic molecules shown to interfere with the dimerization process of the enzyme. This review covers the recent work within this family of compounds aimed at enhancing their interaction with the dimer interface of HIV-1 RT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Dimerization
  • Enzyme Stability / drug effects
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Spiro Compounds / chemistry*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / trends
  • Thymidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Thymidine / chemistry
  • Uridine / analogs & derivatives


  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Spiro Compounds
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • Thymidine
  • TSAO-T
  • Uridine