Overcoming drug resistance in HIV-1 chemotherapy: The binding thermodynamics of Amprenavir and TMC-126 to wild-type and drug-resistant mutants of the HIV-1 protease

Hiroyasu Ohtaka, Adrian Velázquez-Campoy, Dong Xie, Ernesto Freire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Amprenavir is one of six protease inhibitors presently approved for clinical use in the therapeutic treatment of AIDS. Biochemical and clinical studies have shown that, unlike other inhibitors, Amprenavir is severely affected by the protease mutation I50V, located in the flap region of the enzyme. TMC-126 is a second-generation inhibitor, chemically related to Amprenavir, with a reported extremely low susceptibility to existing resistant mutations including I50V. In this paper, we have studied the thermodynamic and molecular origin of the response of these two inhibitors to the I50V mutation and the double active-site mutation V82F/I84V that affects all existing clinical inhibitors. Amprenavir binds to the wild-type HIV-1 protease with high affinity (5.0 x 109 M-1 or 200 pM) in a process equally favored by enthalpic and entropic contributions. The mutations I50V and V82F/I84V lower the binding affinity of Amprenavir by a factor of 147 and 104, respectively. TMC-126, on the other hand, binds to the wild-type protease with extremely high binding affinity (2.6 x 1011 M-1 or 3.9 pM) in a process in which enthalpic contributions overpower entropic contributions by almost a factor of 4. The mutations I50V and V82F/I84V lower the binding affinity of TMC-126 by only a factor of 16 and 11, respectively, indicating that the binding affinity of TMC-126 to the drug-resistant mutants is still higher than the affinity of Amprenavir to the wild-type protease. Analysis of the data for TMC-126 and KNI-764, another second-generation inhibitor, indicates that their low susceptibility to mutations is caused by their ability to compensate for the loss of interactions with the mutated target by a more favorable entropy of binding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1908-1916
Number of pages9
JournalProtein Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 30 2002



  • Amprenavir
  • Drug resistance
  • HIV-1 protease
  • HIV-1 protease inhibitors
  • Isothermal titration calorimetry
  • TMC-126

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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