Two-dimensional infrared spectra reveal relaxation of the nonnucleoside inhibitor TMC278 complexed with HIV-1 reverse transcriptase

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 5;105(5):1472-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0709320104. Epub 2007 Nov 26.


The two nitrile groups at the wings of the nonnucleoside HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor TMC278 are both identified in high-sensitivity 2D IR spectroscopy experiments of the HIV-1 RT/TMC278 complex. The vibrational spectra indicate that the two arms of the inhibitor sense quite different environments within the hydrophobic pocket. The vibrational relaxation of the two arms are almost equal at 3 ps from model studies. The 2D IR spectra expose a significant distribution of nitrile frequencies that diffuse at equilibrium on ultrafast time scales ranging from hundreds of femtoseconds to tens of picoseconds. The slow spectral diffusion of the cyanovinyl arm of the inhibitor is attributed to its interaction with the backbone and side chains in the hydrophobic tunnel. The results show that the inhibitor cyano modes lose memory of their structural configurations relative to the hydrophobic pocket within tens of picoseconds. The cross-peaks between the two arms of the drug are tentatively attributed to relaxation of the nitrile state with both arms excited.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / chemistry*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Nitriles / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry*
  • Rilpivirine
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared / methods


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Nitriles
  • Pyrimidines
  • reverse transcriptase, Human immunodeficiency virus 1
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • Rilpivirine