Background: HIV-1 Vif is essential for virus replication in natural target cells such as T cells and macrophages. Vif recruits a ubiquitin ligase to degrade restrictive APOBEC3 proteins. APOBEC3G is one of the most potent retroviral restriction factors targeted by Vif and, as such, the Vif-APOBEC3G interaction has emerged as a promising HIV-1 therapeutic target. Methods. 20,000 small molecules were used in live-cell screens for those that preserve EGFP-APOBEC3G fluorescence and luciferase-APOBEC3G luminescence in the presence of HIV-1 Vif. Results: 2 compounds with similar core structures preserved APOBEC3G levels in the presence of Vif. 10 μM of compound restored APOBEC3G to levels sufficient for incorporation into vif-proficient virus particles and restriction of virus infectivity. Vif-dependent APOBEC3G polyubiquitination and general proteasomal activity were unaffected at the same concentration. Conclusions: The small molecules described here preserve APOBEC3G levels and activity in the presence of Vif. These molecules are starting points for further development as antiretrovirals.
- Small molecules