A binding pocket for a small molecule inhibitor of HIV-1 entry within transmembrane helices of CCR5
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
HIV-1 entry into CD4(+) cells requires the sequential interactions of the viral envelope glycoproteins with CD4 and a coreceptor such as the chemokine receptors CCR5 and CXCR4. A plausible approach to blocking this process is to use small molecule antagonists of coreceptor function. One such inhibitor has been described for CCR5: the TAK-779 molecule. To facilitate the further development of entry inhibitors as antiviral drugs, we have explored how TAK-779 acts to prevent HIV-1 infection, and we have mapped its site of interaction with CCR5. We find that TAK-779 inhibits HIV-1 replication at the membrane fusion stage by blocking the interaction of the viral surface glycoprotein gp120 with CCR5. We could identify no amino acid substitutions within the extracellular domain of CCR5 that affected the antiviral action of TAK-779. However, alanine scanning mutagenesis of the transmembrane domains revealed that the binding site for TAK-779 on CCR5 is located near the extracellular surface of the receptor, within a cavity formed between transmembrane helices 1, 2, 3, and 7.