The molecular basis of resilience to the effect of the Lys103Asn mutation in non-nucleoside HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitors studied by targeted molecular dynamics simulations.


A series of targeted molecular dynamics simulations have been carried out in an attempt to assess the effect that the common Lys103Asn mutation in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) has on the binding of three representative non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTI), nevirapine, efavirenz, and etravirine. We have shown previously that, in the absence of an incoming inhibitor, creation of the NNRTI binding pocket is hampered due to the existence of a hydrogen bond between the side chains of Asn103 and Tyr188 for which no equivalent exists in the wild-type enzyme. As an extension of this work, we now apply the same methodology to drive the enzyme's conformation from the unbound state to the drug-bound state in the presence of the NNRTI. The location of each drug outside the binding pocket was determined by an automated docking program, and steering into the binding pocket followed a route that is likely to represent the actual entrance pathway. The additional hurdle to inhibitor entry imposed by the extra Asn103-Tyr188 hydrogen bond is seen to affect each NNRTI differently, with the ability to disrupt this interaction increasing in the order etravirine > efavirenz > or = nevirapine, in good accord with the experimental findings. This coherent picture strongly suggests that attempts to overcome resistance through structure-based drug design may be considerably more successful if dynamic structural aspects of the type studied here are considered, particularly in cases where binding energy-based structure-activity relationship methods are unable to provide the required information.




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