HIV integrase (IN) is a viral-encoded protein that catalyzes the breaking and joining reactions that mediate integration of viral DNA into the host genome. Therefore, IN offers a unique target for the development of novel anti-HIV and anti-AIDS therapeutics. To take advantage of this potential, drug discovery efforts via structurebased design approaches have been undertaken. Presented is a review of computer-aided drug design efforts targeting HIV IN. Included is an overview of the lifecycle of HIV, with emphasis on the mechanism of action of IN, biological assays for measuring IN activity and identifying IN inhibitors, and the appropriate cell-based assays required for determining the antiviral activity of IN inhibitors. This is followed by a review of the available three-dimensional structures of HIV IN. Structure-based drug design efforts are then critiqued, including both ligand-based (e.g. pharmacophore) and target-based (e.g. docking) methods. Results from recent computational chemistry studies of IN are also discussed.
Keywords: Database searching, HIV, integrase, AIDS, structure-based drug design, docking
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