HIV-1 entry is an attractive target for anti-HIV-1 therapy. However, there are no entry inhibitors approved for the clinical treatment of HIV-1 infection. This is likely to be changed in the near future since promising HIV-1 entry inhibitors, such as T20 and some chemokine receptor antagonists, are in the pipeline to join the repertoire of anti-HIV-1 therapeutics. This review will focus on what might be potential targets on the key components of the viral entry machinery, gp120 and gp41. These two molecules are the viral proteins responsible for HIV-1 entry. Binding to CD4 induces a series of structural changes in gp120 and allows it to interact with chemokine receptors. The receptor binding eventually triggers conformational changes in gp41, which result in the formation of a fusion active molecule to attack the cell membrane. The structural and functional motifs that operate this delicate fusion machinery could become the Achilles heel of the virus.
Keywords: hiv-1 envelope glycoproteins, anti-hiv-1 therapy, chemokine receptor antagonists, gp120, gp41