Defining a Molecular Mechanism of Synergy between Nucleoside and Nonnucleoside AIDS Drugs
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Combination therapies treating human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection delay the emergence of drug-resistant virus and exhibit synergistic in- hibition. This synergy is observed within the two classes of inhibitors that target the essential viral reverse transcriptase (RT): the chain-terminating nucleoside analogs (NRTIs) and the allosteric nonnucleosides (NNR-TIs) that bind in a pocket distinct from the active site. A general mechanism to define the molecular basis for synergy
... asis for synergy between these two classes remains to be elucidated. Previous mechanistic studies from our laboratory (Spence, R. A., Kati, W. M., Anderson, K. S., and Johnson, K. A. (1995) Science 267, 988 -993) have shown that the natural deoxynucleoside triphosphate and the NNRTI can simultaneously bind to their respective sites. This work also suggests communication between the two sites, since the inhibition of RT by NNRTIs is manifested through a remote effect on the chemical step. This interplay between the two sites offers a plausible hypothesis for understanding synergy in which binding of NNRTIs modulates the chain termination by NRTIs. The present study supports this hypothesis by illustrating that the clinically approved NNRTIs, nevirapine and efavirenz, inhibit the ATP-mediated removal of AZTMP, d4TMP, ddCMP, (-)3TCMP, (-)FTCMP, and (؉)3TCMP, thereby prolonging the effectiveness of chain termination. This inhibition is mediated through an effect on both the rate of the chemical step and binding of ATP, resulting in an overall decrease in efficiency of removal. This work substantiates communication between the two binding pockets, the sustained use of combination therapy to treat HIV infection, and a molecular basis for understanding synergy.