The design, synthesis, thermodynamic and crystallographic characterization of a potent, broad spectrum, second-generation HIV-1 entry inhibitor that engages conserved carbonyl hydrogen bonds within gp120 has been achieved. The optimized antagonist exhibits a sub-micromolar binding affinity (110 nM) and inhibits viral entry of clade B and C viruses (IC50 geometric mean titer of 1.7 and 14.0 μM, respectively), without promoting CD4-independent viral entry. thermodynamic signatures indicate a binding preference for the (R,R)-over the (S,S)-enantiomer. The crystal structure of the small molecule-gp120 complex reveals the displacement of crystallographic water and the formation of a hydrogen bond with a backbone carbonyl of the bridging sheet. Thus, structure-based design and synthesis targeting the highly conserved and structurally characterized CD4:gp120 interface is an effective tactic to enhance the neutralization potency of small molecule HIV-1 entry inhibitors.
Keywords: CD4; HIV; entry inhibitor; gp120; protein-protein interactions; structure-based drug design; thermodynamics; viral inhibition; x-ray crystallography.