Skip to main content

Targeting HIV’s “cap”

Feb. 10, 2015, 8:00 AM

by Dikshya Bastakoty

The green "capsid" encloses the HIV genome. (Image by Dominic Doyle)

The HIV capsid is a structure composed of a single protein (known as CA), which encloses the viral genome. The capsid plays multiple roles in infection, and is an emerging drug target. One recently reported capsid-targeting inhibitor is the small molecule PF74.

PF74 binds the CA protein and destabilizes the viral capsid inside target (host) cells. However, like any other anti-retroviral therapy, PF74 is rendered ineffective by mutations in the virus.

Christopher Aiken, Ph.D., and colleagues report that multiple mutations in the PF74-binding region of the viral capsid are required to develop resistance to the drug.

The investigators examined the effect of five previously reported mutations resulting in changes in distinct amino acids (protein building-blocks) in the CA protein. At least three amino acid substitutions were necessary to acquire PF74 resistance, while maintaining the viral fitness.

This study, published in the January issue of the Journal of Virology, highlights the potential of capsid-targeting drugs as effective anti-retroviral therapy.

The study was supported by National Institutes of Health grant AI089401.

Send suggestions for articles to highlight in Aliquots and any other feedback about the column to aliquots@vanderbilt.edu

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

Sharon Seibert is among the more than 5,000 patients who have received a stem cell transplant at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, which has one of the best survival rates in the nation and is at the forefront of new cellular therapies.

Momentum

Sharon Seibert is among the more than 5,000 patients who have received a stem cell transplant at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, which has one of the best survival rates in the nation and is at the forefront of new cellular therapies.

The first few minutes of Charlie’s life were a blur, as a team of doctors and nurses at VUMC worked to resuscitate him and stabilize his heart rate. He was then transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Hope

The first few minutes of Charlie’s life were a blur, as a team of doctors and nurses at VUMC worked to resuscitate him and stabilize his heart rate. He was then transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Tucked away in a Vanderbilt conference room, 36 adults huddle over Lego pieces. Eleven teams have been assigned to assemble multicolored Legos using the written directions included in the packet. The result should be a Frankenstein figure.

Vanderbilt Nurse

Tucked away in a Vanderbilt conference room, 36 adults huddle over Lego pieces. Eleven teams have been assigned to assemble multicolored Legos using the written directions included in the packet. The result should be a Frankenstein figure.

Marissa Benchea has CF, and she is one of hundreds of thousands of adults not only surviving but thriving with a chronic childhood disease.

Vanderbilt Medicine

Marissa Benchea has CF, and she is one of hundreds of thousands of adults not only surviving but thriving with a chronic childhood disease.

more