Progress in understanding protein folding allows to simulate, with atomic detail, the evolution of amino-acid sequences folding to a given native conformation. A particularly attractive example is the HIV-1 protease, main target of therapies to fight AIDS, which under drug pressure is able to develop resistance within few months from the starting of therapy. By comparing the results of simulations of the evolution of the protease with the corresponding proteomic data, one can approximately determine the value of the associated evolution pressure under which the enzyme has become and, as a consequence, map out the energy landscape in sequence space of the HIV-1 protease. It is found that there are several families of sequences folding to the native conformations of the enzyme. Each of these families are characterized by different sets of highly conserved ( hot) amino acids which play a critical role in the folding and stability of the protease. There are two main possibilities for the virus to move from one family to a different one: (a) in a single generation, through the concerted mutations of the hot amino acids, a highly unlikely event, (b) through a folding path (if it exists), again a very improbable event. In fact, the number of generations needed by the virus to change stepwise its sequence from one family to another is astronomically large. These results point to the hot segments of the protease as promising targets for a nonconventional inhibition strategy, likely not to create resistance.

The molecular evolution of HIV-1 protease simulated at atomic detail / G. Tiana, R. A. Broglia. - In: PROTEINS. - ISSN 0887-3585. - 76:4(2009), pp. 895-910.

The molecular evolution of HIV-1 protease simulated at atomic detail

G. Tiana
Primo
;
2009

Abstract

Progress in understanding protein folding allows to simulate, with atomic detail, the evolution of amino-acid sequences folding to a given native conformation. A particularly attractive example is the HIV-1 protease, main target of therapies to fight AIDS, which under drug pressure is able to develop resistance within few months from the starting of therapy. By comparing the results of simulations of the evolution of the protease with the corresponding proteomic data, one can approximately determine the value of the associated evolution pressure under which the enzyme has become and, as a consequence, map out the energy landscape in sequence space of the HIV-1 protease. It is found that there are several families of sequences folding to the native conformations of the enzyme. Each of these families are characterized by different sets of highly conserved ( hot) amino acids which play a critical role in the folding and stability of the protease. There are two main possibilities for the virus to move from one family to a different one: (a) in a single generation, through the concerted mutations of the hot amino acids, a highly unlikely event, (b) through a folding path (if it exists), again a very improbable event. In fact, the number of generations needed by the virus to change stepwise its sequence from one family to another is astronomically large. These results point to the hot segments of the protease as promising targets for a nonconventional inhibition strategy, likely not to create resistance.
Computational models; Evolution; HIV-1 protease
Settore FIS/03 - Fisica della Materia
2009
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/69022
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