Molecular dynamics studies on HIV-1 protease: a comparison of the flap motions between wild type protease and the M46I/G51D double mutant
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- Lauria, A., Ippolito, M. & Almerico, A.M. J Mol Model (2007) 13: 1151. doi:10.1007/s00894-007-0242-3
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The emergence of drug-resistant mutants of HIV-1 is a tragic effect associated with conventional long-treatment therapies against acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. These mutations frequently involve the aspartic protease encoded by the virus; knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying the conformational changes of HIV-1 protease mutants may be useful in developing more effective and longer lasting treatment regimes. The flap regions of the protease are the target of a particular type of mutations occurring far from the active site. These mutations modify the affinity for both substrate and ligands, thus conferring resistance. In this work, molecular dynamics simulations were performed on a native wild type HIV-1 protease and on the drug-resistant M46I/G51D double mutant. The simulation was carried out for a time of 3.5 ns using the GROMOS96 force field, with implementation of the SPC216 explicit solvation model. The results show that the flaps may exist in an ensemble of conformations between a “closed” and an “open” conformation. The behaviour of the flap tips during simulations is different between the native enzyme and the mutant. The mutation pattern leads to stabilization of the flaps in a semi-open configuration.