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Hagiwara K.,RIKEN | Ishii H.,RIKEN | Murakami T.,RIKEN | Takeshima S.-N.,RIKEN | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The emergence of multidrug-resistant viruses compromises the efficacy of anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) therapy and limits treatment options. Therefore, new targets that can be used to develop novel antiviral agents need to be identified. We previously identified a potential parent compound, hematoxylin, which suppresses the nuclear import of HIV-1 via the Vpr-importin α interaction and inhibits HIV-1 replication in a Vprdependent manner by blocking nuclear import of the pre-integration complex. However, it was unstable. Here, we synthesized a stable derivative of hematoxylin that bound specifically and stably to Vpr and inhibited HIV-1 replication in macrophages. Furthermore, like hematoxylin, the derivative inhibited nuclear import of Vpr in an in vitro nuclear import assay, but had no effect on Vpr-induced G2/M phase cell cycle arrest or caspase activity. Interestingly, this derivative bound strongly to amino acid residues 54-74 within the C-terminal α-helical domain (αH3) of Vpr. These residues are highly conserved among different HIV strains, indicating that this region is a potential target for drug-resistant HIV-1 infection. Thus, we succeeded in developing a stable hematoxylin derivative that bound directly to Vpr, suggesting that specific inhibitors of the interaction between cells and viral accessory proteins may provide a new strategy for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. © 2015 Hagiwara et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source arecredited.

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