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Nelfinavir (Viracept) is a potent, non-peptidic inhibitor of HIV-1 Protease, which has been marketed for the treatment of HIV infected patients. However, HIV-1 develops drug-resistance which decreases the affinity of Nelfinavir for the binding pocket of Protease. We present here three new variants of Nelfinavir, which we have designed with computational tools, with greater affinity for HIV-1 Protease than Nelfinavir itself. Accordingly, we have introduced rational modifications in Nelfinavir, optimizing its affinity to the most conserved amino acids in Protease, in order to increase the efficiency of the three new inhibitors. Minimization and molecular dynamics simulations have been carried out on four complexes, HIV-1 Protease with Nelfinavir and subsequently with the new inhibitors, respectively, in order to analyze the behavior of the systems. Additionally, we have calculated the binding free energy differences Protease:inhibitor, which gave us a quantitative idea of the new molecules inhibitory efficiency in silico.


M A S Perez, P A Fernandes, M J Ramos. Drug design: new inhibitors for HIV-1 protease based on Nelfinavir as lead. Journal of molecular graphics & modelling. 2007 Oct;26(3):634-42

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PMID: 17459746

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