Morgan McCauley, Matthew Huston, Alanna R. Condren, Filipa Pereira, Joel Cline, Marianne Yaple-Maresh, Mark M. Painter, Gretchen E. Zimmerman, Andrew W. Robertson, Nolan Carney, Christopher Goodall, Valeri Terry, Rolf Müller, David H. Sherman and Kathleen L. Collins 

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2024
Publication date: March 7, 2024

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-encoded accessory protein Nef enhances pathogenicity by reducing major histocompatibility complex I (MHC-I) cell surface expression, protecting HIV-infected cells from immune recognition. Nef-dependent downmodulation of MHC-I can be reversed by subnanomolar concentrations of concanamycin A (1), a well-known inhibitor of vacuolar ATPase, at concentrations below those that interfere with lysosomal acidification or degradation. We conducted a structure–activity relationship study that assessed 76 compounds for Nef inhibition, 24 and 72 h viability, and lysosomal neutralization in Nef-expressing primary T cells. This analysis demonstrated that the most potent compounds were natural concanamycins and their derivatives. Comparison against a set of new, semisynthetic concanamycins revealed that substituents at C-8 and acylation of C-9 significantly affected Nef potency, target cell viability, and lysosomal neutralization. These findings provide important progress toward understanding the mechanism of action of these compounds and the identification of an advanced lead anti-HIV Nef inhibitory compound.

Read the full article in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry