HIV-1 Ribonuclease H: Structure, Catalytic Mechanism and Inhibitors

Viruses. 2010 Apr;2(4):900-26. doi: 10.3390/v2040900. Epub 2010 Mar 30.


Since the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was discovered as the etiological agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), it has encouraged much research into antiviral compounds. The reverse transcriptase (RT) of HIV has been a main target for antiviral drugs. However, all drugs developed so far inhibit the polymerase function of the enzyme, while none of the approved antiviral agents inhibit specifically the necessary ribonuclease H (RNase H) function of RT. This review provides a background on structure-function relationships of HIV-1 RNase H, as well as an outline of current attempts to develop novel, potent chemotherapeutics against a difficult drug target.

Keywords: HIV; RNase H; drug resistance; inhibitors; reverse transcriptase.