The human T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLVs) are causative agents of severe diseases including adult T-cell leukemia. Similar to human immunodeficiency viruses (HIVs), the viral protease (PR) plays a crucial role in the viral life-cycle via the processing of the viral polyproteins. Thus, it is a potential target of anti-retroviral therapies. In this study, we performed in vitro comparative analysis of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1, 2, and 3 (HTLV-1, -2, and -3) proteases. Amino acid preferences of S4 to S1' subsites were studied by using a series of synthetic oligopeptide substrates representing the natural and modified cleavage site sequences of the proteases. Biochemical characteristics of the different PRs were also determined, including catalytic efficiencies and dependence of activity on pH, temperature, and ionic strength. We investigated the effects of different HIV-1 PR inhibitors (atazanavir, darunavir, DMP-323, indinavir, ritonavir, and saquinavir) on enzyme activities, and inhibitory potentials of IB-268 and IB-269 inhibitors that were previously designed against HTLV-1 PR. Comparative biochemical analysis of HTLV-1, -2, and -3 PRs may help understand the characteristic similarities and differences between these enzymes in order to estimate the potential of the appearance of drug-resistance against specific HTLV-1 PR inhibitors.
Keywords: HIV protease inhibitor; HTLV-1; HTLV-2; HTLV-3; human T-cell leukemia virus; human T-lymphotropic virus; protease; protease inhibitor; retroviral protease.