Clicking 3'-azidothymidine into novel potent inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus

J Med Chem. 2013 Nov 14;56(21):8765-80. doi: 10.1021/jm401232v. Epub 2013 Oct 28.


3'-Azidothymidine (AZT) was the first approved antiviral for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Reported efforts in clicking the 3'-azido group of AZT have not yielded 1,2,3-triazoles active against HIV or any other viruses. We report herein the first AZT-derived 1,2,3-triazoles with submicromolar potencies against HIV-1. The observed antiviral activities from the cytopathic effect (CPE) based assay were confirmed through a single replication cycle assay. Structure-activity-relationship (SAR) studies revealed two structural features key to antiviral activity: a bulky aromatic ring and the 1,5-substitution pattern on the triazole. Biochemical analysis of the corresponding triphosphates showed lower ATP-mediated nucleotide excision efficiency compared to AZT, which along with molecular modeling suggests a mechanism of preferred translocation of triazoles into the P-site of HIV reverse transcriptase (RT). This mechanism is corroborated with the observed reduction of fold resistance of the triazole analogue to an AZT-resistant HIV variant (9-fold compared to 56-fold with AZT).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Anti-HIV Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • HIV / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Zidovudine / chemical synthesis
  • Zidovudine / chemistry
  • Zidovudine / pharmacology*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Zidovudine