Amino acid residues in HIV-2 reverse transcriptase that restrict the development of nucleoside analogue resistance through the excision pathway

Amino acid residues in HIV-2 reverse transcriptase that restrict the development of nucleoside analogue resistance through the excision pathway

Online publication: 22/12/2017 Journal: The Journal of Biological Chemistry

Abstract:

Nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors (NRTIs) are the backbone of current antiretroviral treatments. However, emergence of viral resistance against NRTIs is a major threat to their therapeutic effectiveness. In HIV-1, NRTI resistance-associated mutations either reduce RT-mediated incorporation of NRTI triphosphates (discrimination mechanism) or confer an ATPmediated nucleotide excision activity that removes the inhibitor from the 3'-terminus of DNA primers, enabling further primer elongation (excision mechanism). In HIV-2, resistance to zidovudine (AZT, 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine) and other NRTIs is conferred by mutations affecting nucleotide discrimination. Mutations of the excision pathway such as M41L, D67N, K70R, or S215Y (known as thymidine-analogue resistance mutations [TAMs]) are rare in virus from HIV-2-infected individuals. Here, we demonstrate that mutant M41L/D67N/K70R/S215Y HIV-2 RT lacks ATP-dependent excision activity, and recombinant virus containing this RT remains susceptible to AZT inhibition. Mutant HIV-2 RTs were tested for their ability to unblock and extend DNA primers terminated with AZT and other NRTIs, when complexed with RNA or DNA templates. Our results show that Met73 and, to a lesser extent, Ile75 suppress excision activity when TAMs are present in the HIV-2 RT. Interestingly, recombinant HIV-2 carrying a mutant D67N/K70R/M73K RT showed 10-fold decreased AZT susceptibility, and increased rescue efficiency on AZT- or tenofovir-terminated primers, as compared with the double-mutant D67N/K70R. Molecular dynamics simulations reveal that Met73 influences β3-β4 hairpin loop conformation, while its substitution affects hydrogen bond interactions at position 70, required for NRTI excision. Our work highlights critical HIV-2 RT residues impeding the development of excision-mediated NRTI resistance.

Authors: Álvarez M, Nevot M, Mendieta J, Martinez MA and and Menendez-Arias L

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