HIV-1 maturation inhibitor bevirimat stabilizes the immature Gag lattice.
ABSTRACT: Maturation of nascent virions, a key step in retroviral replication, involves cleavage of the Gag polyprotein by the viral protease into its matrix (MA), capsid (CA), and nucleocapsid (NC) components and their subsequent reorganization. Bevirimat (BVM) defines a new class of antiviral drugs termed maturation inhibitors. BVM acts by blocking the final cleavage event in Gag processing, the separation of CA from its C-terminal spacer peptide 1 (SP1). Prior evidence suggests that BVM binds to Gag assembled in immature virions, preventing the protease from accessing the CA-SP1 cleavage site. To investigate this hypothesis, we used cryo-electron tomography to examine the structures of (noninfectious) HIV-1 viral particles isolated from BVM-treated cells. We find that these particles contain an incomplete shell of density underlying the viral envelope, with a hexagonal honeycomb structure similar to the Gag lattice of immature HIV but lacking the innermost, NC-related, layer. We conclude that the shell represents a remnant of the immature Gag lattice that has been processed, except at the CA-SP1 sites, but has remained largely intact. We also compared BVM-treated particles with virions formed by the mutant CA5, in which cleavage between CA and SP1 is also blocked. Here, we find a thinner CA-related shell with no visible evidence of honeycomb organization, indicative of an altered conformation and further suggesting that binding of BVM stabilizes the immature lattice. In both cases, the observed failure to assemble mature capsids correlates with the loss of infectivity.
Project description:HIV-1 maturation involves conversion of the immature Gag polyprotein lattice, which lines the inner surface of the viral membrane, to the mature capsid protein (CA) lattice, which encloses the viral RNA. Maturation inhibitors such as bevirimat (BVM) bind within six-helix bundles, formed by a segment that spans the junction between the CA and spacer peptide 1 (SP1) subunits of Gag, and interfere with cleavage between CA and SP1 catalyzed by the HIV-1 protease (PR). We report solid-state NMR (ssNMR) measurements on spherical virus-like particles (VLPs), facilitated by segmental isotopic labeling, that provide information about effects of BVM on the structure and dynamics of CA-SP1 junction helices in the immature lattice. Although BVM strongly blocks PR-catalyzed CA-SP1 cleavage in VLPs and blocks conversion of VLPs to tubular CA assemblies, 15N and 13C ssNMR chemical shifts of segmentally labeled VLPs with and without BVM are very similar, indicating that interaction with BVM does not alter the six-helix bundle structure appreciably. Only the 15N chemical shift of A280 (the first residue of SP1) changes significantly, consistent with BVM binding to an internal ring of hydrophobic side chains of L279 residues. Measurements of transverse 15N spin relaxation rates reveal a reduction in the amplitudes and/or timescales of backbone N-H bond motions, corresponding to a rigidification of the six-helix bundles. Overall, our data show that inhibition of HIV-1 maturation by BVM involves changes in structure and dynamics that are surprisingly subtle, but still sufficient to produce a large effect on CA-SP1 cleavage.
Project description:HIV-1 buds form infected cells in an immature, non-infectious form. Maturation into an infectious virion requires proteolytic cleavage of the Gag polyprotein at five positions, leading to a dramatic change in virus morphology. Immature virions contain an incomplete spherical shell where Gag is arranged with the N-terminal MA domain adjacent to the membrane, the CA domain adopting a hexameric lattice below the membrane, and beneath this, the NC domain and viral RNA forming a disordered layer. After maturation, NC and RNA are condensed within the particle surrounded by a conical CA core. Little is known about the sequence of structural changes that take place during maturation, however. Here we have used cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging to resolve the structure of the Gag lattice in a panel of viruses containing point mutations abolishing cleavage at individual or multiple Gag cleavage sites. These studies describe the structural intermediates correlating with the ordered processing events that occur during the HIV-1 maturation process. After the first cleavage between SP1 and NC, the condensed NC-RNA may retain a link to the remaining Gag lattice. Initiation of disassembly of the immature Gag lattice requires cleavage to occur on both sides of CA-SP1, while assembly of the mature core also requires cleavage of SP1 from CA.
Project description:Retrovirus maturation involves sequential cleavages of the Gag polyprotein, initially arrayed in a spherical shell, leading to formation of capsids with polyhedral or conical morphology. Evidence suggests that capsids assemble de novo inside maturing virions from dissociated capsid (CA) protein, but the possibility persists of a displacive pathway in which the CA shell remains assembled but is remodeled. Inhibition of the final cleavage between CA and spacer peptide SP1/SP blocks the production of mature capsids. We investigated whether retention of SP might render CA assembly incompetent by testing the ability of Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) CA-SP to assemble in vitro into icosahedral capsids. Capsids were indeed assembled and were indistinguishable from those formed by CA alone, indicating that SP was disordered. We also used cryo-electron tomography to characterize HIV-1 particles produced in the presence of maturation inhibitor PF-46396 or with the cleavage-blocking CA5 mutation. Inhibitor-treated virions have a shell that resembles the CA layer of the immature Gag shell but is less complete. Some CA protein is generated but usually not enough for a mature core to assemble. We propose that inhibitors like PF-46396 bind to the Gag lattice where they deny the protease access to the CA-SP1 cleavage site and prevent the release of CA. CA5 particles, which exhibit no cleavage at the CA-SP1 site, have spheroidal shells with relatively thin walls. It appears that this lattice progresses displacively toward a mature-like state but produces neither conical cores nor infectious virions. These observations support the disassembly-reassembly pathway for core formation.
Project description:HIV-1 maturation inhibitors (MIs) disrupt the final step in the HIV-1 protease-mediated cleavage of the Gag polyprotein between capsid p24 capsid (CA) and spacer peptide 1 (SP1), leading to the production of infectious virus. BMS-955176 is a second generation MI with improved antiviral activity toward polymorphic Gag variants compared to a first generation MI bevirimat (BVM). The underlying mechanistic reasons for the differences in polymorphic coverage were studied using antiviral assays, an LC/MS assay that quantitatively characterizes CA/SP1 cleavage kinetics of virus like particles (VLPs) and a radiolabel binding assay to determine VLP/MI affinities and dissociation kinetics. Antiviral assay data indicates that BVM does not achieve 100% inhibition of certain polymorphs, even at saturating concentrations. This results in the breakthrough of infectious virus (partial antagonism) regardless of BVM concentration. Reduced maximal percent inhibition (MPI) values for BVM correlated with elevated EC50 values, while rates of HIV-1 protease cleavage at CA/SP1 correlated inversely with the ability of BVM to inhibit HIV-1 Gag polymorphic viruses: genotypes with more rapid CA/SP1 cleavage kinetics were less sensitive to BVM. In vitro inhibition of wild type VLP CA/SP1 cleavage by BVM was not maintained at longer cleavage times. BMS-955176 exhibited greatly improved MPI against polymorphic Gag viruses, binds to Gag polymorphs with higher affinity/longer dissociation half-lives and exhibits greater time-independent inhibition of CA/SP1 cleavage compared to BVM. Virological (MPI) and biochemical (CA/SP1 cleavage rates, MI-specific Gag affinities) data were used to create an integrated semi-quantitative model that quantifies CA/SP1 cleavage rates as a function of both MI and Gag polymorph. The model outputs are in accord with in vitro antiviral observations and correlate with observed in vivo MI efficacies. Overall, these findings may be useful to further understand antiviral profiles and clinical responses of MIs at a basic level, potentially facilitating further improvements to MI potency and coverage.
Project description:The major structural elements of retroviruses are contained in a single polyprotein, Gag, which in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) comprises the MA, CA, spacer peptide 1 (SP1), NC, SP2, and p6 polypeptides. In the immature HIV-1 virion, the domains of Gag are arranged radially with the N-terminal MA domain at the membrane and C-terminal NC-SP2-p6 region nearest to the center. Here, we report the three-dimensional structures of individual immature HIV-1 virions, as obtained by electron cryotomography. The concentric shells of the Gag polyprotein are clearly visible, and radial projections of the different Gag layers reveal patches of hexagonal order within the CA and SP1 shells. Averaging well-ordered unit cells leads to a model in which each CA hexamer is stabilized by a bundle of six SP1 helices. This model suggests why the SP1 spacer is essential for assembly of the Gag lattice and how cleavage between SP1 and CA acts as a structural switch controlling maturation.
Project description:Following budding, HIV-1 virions undergo a maturation process where the Gag polyprotein in the immature virus is cleaved by the viral protease and rearranges to form the mature infectious virion. Despite the wealth of structures of isolated capsid domains and an in vitro-assembled mature lattice, models of the immature lattice do not provide an unambiguous model of capsid-molecule orientation and no structural information is available for the capsid maturation pathway. Here we have applied hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry to immature, mature, and mutant Gag particles (CA5) blocked at the final Gag cleavage event to examine the molecular basis of capsid assembly and maturation. Capsid packing arrangements were very similar for all virions, whereas immature and CA5 virions contained an additional intermolecular interaction at the hexameric, 3-fold axis. Additionally, the N-terminal ?-hairpin was observed to form as a result of capsid-SP1 cleavage rather than driving maturation as previously postulated.
Project description:Bevirimat (BVM) is the first of a new class of anti-HIV drugs with a novel mode of action known as maturation inhibitors. BVM inhibits the last cleavage of the Gag polyprotein by HIV-1 protease, leading to the accumulation of the p25 capsid-small peptide 1 (SP1) intermediate and resulting in noninfectious HIV-1 virions. Early clinical studies of BVM showed that over 50% of the patients treated with BVM did not respond to treatment. We investigated the impact of prior antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and/or natural genetic diversity on BVM susceptibility by conducting in vitro phenotypic analyses of viruses made from patient samples. We generated 31 recombinant viruses containing the entire gag and protease genes from 31 plasma samples from HIV-1-infected patients with (n = 21) or without (n = 10) prior ARV experience. We found that 58% of the patient isolates tested had a >10-fold reduced susceptibility to BVM, regardless of the patient's ARV experience or the level of isolate resistance to protease inhibitors. Analysis of mutants with site-directed mutations confirmed the role of the V370A SP1 polymorphism (SP1-V7A) in resistance to BVM. Furthermore, we demonstrated for the first time that a capsid polymorphism, V362I (CA protein-V230I), is also a major mutation conferring resistance to BVM. In contrast, none of the previously defined resistance-conferring mutations in Gag selected in vitro (H358Y, L363M, L363F, A364V, A366V, or A366T) were found to occur among the viruses that we analyzed. Our results should be helpful in the design of diagnostics for prediction of the potential benefit of BVM treatment in HIV-1-infected patients.
Project description:Processing of the Gag precursor protein by the viral protease during particle release triggers virion maturation, an essential step in the virus replication cycle. The first-in-class HIV-1 maturation inhibitor dimethylsuccinyl betulinic acid [PA-457 or bevirimat (BVM)] blocks HIV-1 maturation by inhibiting the cleavage of the capsid-spacer peptide 1 (CA-SP1) intermediate to mature CA. A structurally distinct molecule, PF-46396, was recently reported to have a similar mode of action to that of BVM. Because of the structural dissimilarity between BVM and PF-46396, we hypothesized that the two compounds might interact differentially with the putative maturation inhibitor-binding pocket in Gag. To test this hypothesis, PF-46396 resistance was selected for in vitro. Resistance mutations were identified in three regions of Gag: around the CA-SP1 cleavage site where BVM resistance maps, at CA amino acid 201, and in the CA major homology region (MHR). The MHR mutants are profoundly PF-46396-dependent in Gag assembly and release and virus replication. The severe defect exhibited by the inhibitor-dependent MHR mutants in the absence of the compound is also corrected by a second-site compensatory change far downstream in SP1, suggesting structural and functional cross-talk between the HIV-1 CA MHR and SP1. When PF-46396 and BVM were both present in infected cells they exhibited mutually antagonistic behavior. Together, these results identify Gag residues that line the maturation inhibitor-binding pocket and suggest that BVM and PF-46396 interact differentially with this putative pocket. These findings provide novel insights into the structure-function relationship between the CA MHR and SP1, two domains of Gag that are critical to both assembly and maturation. The highly conserved nature of the MHR across all orthoretroviridae suggests that these findings will be broadly relevant to retroviral assembly. Finally, the results presented here provide a framework for increased structural understanding of HIV-1 maturation inhibitor activity.
Project description:HIV-1 protease (PR) cleavage of the Gag polyprotein triggers the assembly of mature, infectious particles. Final cleavage of Gag occurs at the junction helix between the capsid protein CA and the SP1 spacer peptide. Here we used MicroED to delineate the binding interactions of the maturation inhibitor bevirimat (BVM) using very thin frozen-hydrated, 3D microcrystals of a CTD-SP1 Gag construct with and without bound BVM. The 2.9-Å MicroED structure revealed that a single BVM molecule stabilizes the six-helix bundle via both electrostatic interactions with the dimethylsuccinyl moiety and hydrophobic interactions with the pentacyclic triterpenoid ring. These results provide insight into the mechanism of action of BVM and related maturation inhibitors that will inform further drug discovery efforts. This study also demonstrates the capabilities of MicroED for structure-based drug design.
Project description:Concomitant with the release of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) particles from the infected cell, the viral protease cleaves the Gag polyprotein precursor at a number of sites to trigger virus maturation. We previously reported that a betulinic acid-derived compound, bevirimat (BVM), blocks HIV-1 maturation by disrupting a late step in protease-mediated Gag processing: the cleavage of the capsid-spacer peptide 1 (CA-SP1) intermediate to mature CA. BVM was shown in multiple clinical trials to be safe and effective in reducing viral loads in HIV-1-infected patients. However, naturally occurring polymorphisms in the SP1 region of Gag (e.g., SP1-V7A) led to a variable response in some BVM-treated patients. The reduced susceptibility of SP1-polymorphic HIV-1 to BVM resulted in the discontinuation of its clinical development. To overcome the loss of BVM activity induced by polymorphisms in SP1, we carried out an extensive medicinal chemistry campaign to develop novel maturation inhibitors. In this study, we focused on alkyl amine derivatives modified at the C-28 position of the BVM scaffold. We identified a set of derivatives that are markedly more potent than BVM against an HIV-1 clade B clone (NL4-3) and show robust antiviral activity against a variant of NL4-3 containing the V7A polymorphism in SP1. One of the most potent of these compounds also strongly inhibited a multiclade panel of primary HIV-1 isolates. These data demonstrate that C-28 alkyl amine derivatives of BVM can, to a large extent, overcome the loss of susceptibility imposed by polymorphisms in SP1.