Scientific paper 3 – Potential target sites for antiviral inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

February 21, 2017 3:45 pm

Potential target sites for antiviral inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, (1989) 23 (suppl_A): 9-27

Authors: J S Oxford, A R M Coates, D Y Sia, K Brown, S Asad


The rapid identification of anti-HIV compounds in the laboratory following the isolation of the causative virus in 1983 and their subsequent use in the clinic was not unexpected.

Three decades of previous work had established a scientific basis for the evaluation of antiviral compounds. However, no antiviral yet discovered can cause total blockade of a virus replicating in a cell. The combination of properties of HIV including latency, antigenic and biochemical variation is unusual and the virus represents a daunting challenge for chemotherapy. But at least 90 antiviral compounds have been discovered, many inhibiting the virus reverse transcriptase. Other targets for inhibition are possible including viral regulatory gene products, viral protease and endonuclease enzymes but compounds for initial study will have to be found by random searching. X-ray crystallography of HIV proteins will shortly be possible, enabling the commencement of a more molecular specific search for inhibitors. Meanwhile, advantage can be taken of comparative nucleotide sequences of the HIV-1 and -2 genomes to test short oligonucleotidcs as potential inhibitors of mRNA transcription. The pol gene also has a zinc finger amino acid sequence suggesting that chelation chemotherapy may have a potential role. In the absence of HIV vaccines, and associated theoretical problems in their development, antiviral chemotherapy is expected to occupy a central role in combating the AIDS epidemic.

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