Acta Cryst. (2013). D69, 1115-1123 [ doi:10.1107/S0907444913006409 ]
Abstract: Despite truly impressive achievements in the global battle against HIV there remains a need for new drugs directed against novel targets, and the viral capsid protein (CA) may represent one such target. Intense structural characterization of CA over the last two decades has provided unprecedented insight into the structure and assembly of this key viral protein. Furthermore, several inhibitor-binding sites that elicit antiviral activity have been reported on CA, two of which are located on its N-terminal domain (CANTD). In this work, the binding of a novel capsid-assembly inhibitor that targets a unique inhibitory site on CANTD is reported. Moreover, whereas cocrystallization of CANTD in complex with ligands has proven to be challenging in the past, the use of this inhibitor as a tool compound is shown to vastly facilitate ternary cocrystallizations with CANTD. This improvement in crystallization is likely to be achieved through the formation of a compound-mediated homodimer, the intrinsic symmetry of which greatly increases the prospect of generating a crystal lattice. While protein engineering has been used in the literature to support a link between the inherent symmetry of a macromolecule and its propensity to crystallize, to our knowledge this work represents the first use of a synthetic ligand for this purpose.
PDB references: 4e91 and 4e92
Keywords: HIV-1; capsid-assembly inhibitor; cocrystallization; dimerization.
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