HIV-1 capsid protein (CA) plays critical roles in both early and late stages of the viral replication cycle. Mutagenesis and structural experiments have revealed that capsid core stability significantly affects uncoating and initiation of reverse transcription in host cells. This has led to efforts in developing antivirals targeting CA and its assembly, although none of the currently identified compounds are used in the clinic for treatment of HIV infection. A specific interaction that is primarily present in pentameric interfaces in the HIV-1 capsid core was identified and is reported to be important for CA assembly. This is shown by multidisciplinary characterization of CA site-directed mutants using biochemical analysis of virus-like particle formation, transmission electron microscopy of in vitro assembly, crystallographic studies, and molecular dynamic simulations. The data are consistent with a model where a hydrogen bond between CA residues E28 and K30= from neighboring N-terminal domains (CA NTD s) is important for CA pentamer interactions during core assembly. This pentamer-preferred interaction forms part of an N-terminal domain interface (NDI) pocket that is amenable to antiviral targeting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Capsid assembly
- Computer modeling
- Human immunodeficiency virus
- X-ray crystallography