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HIV-1 Gag as an Antiviral Target: Development of Assembly and Maturation Inhibitors

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HIV-1 Gag is the master orchestrator of particle assembly. The central role of Gag at multiple stages of the HIV lifecycle has led to efforts to develop drugs that directly target Gag and prevent the formation and release of infectious particles. Until recently, however, only the catalytic site protease inhibitors have been available to inhibit late stages of HIV replication. This review summarizes the current state of development of antivirals that target Gag or disrupt late events in the retrovirus lifecycle such as maturation of the viral capsid. Maturation inhibitors represent an exciting new series of antiviral compounds, including those that specifically target CA-SP1 cleavage and the allosteric integrase inhibitors that inhibit maturation by a completely different mechanism. Numerous small molecules and peptides targeting CA have been studied in attempts to disrupt steps in assembly. Efforts to target CA have recently gained considerable momentum from the development of small molecules that bind CA and alter capsid stability at the post-entry stage of the lifecycle. Efforts to develop antivirals that inhibit incorporation of genomic RNA or to inhibit late budding events remain in preliminary stages of development. Overall, the development of novel antivirals targeting Gag and the late stages in HIV replication appears much closer to success than ever, with the new maturation inhibitors leading the way.
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Keywords: Allosteric integrase inhibitors; Antiretroviral; Bevirimat; Capsid; Gag; HIV; Matrix; Nucleocapsid; Virus assembly

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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