|dc.description.abstract||Discovered in 1980, HTLV-1 (Human T-cell Leukemia Virus-1), was the first identified human retrovirus and is shown to be associated with a variety of diseases including: adult T-cell leukemia lymphoma (ATLL), tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV-1 associated myelopathy (TSP/HAM), chronic arthropathy, uveitis, infective dermatitis, and polymyositis. The mechanism by which the virus causes disease is still unknown. HTLV- 1 infection has been reported in many regions of the world but is most prevalent in Southern Japan, the Caribbean basin, Central and West Africa, the Southeastern United States, Melanesia, parts of South Africa, the Middle East and India. Approximately 30 million people are infected by HTLV-1 worldwide, although only 3-5% of the infected individuals evolve Adult T-cell Leukemia (ATL) during their life and the prognosis for those infected is still poor.
The retroviral proteases (PRs) are essential for viral replication because they process viral Gag and Gag-(Pro)-Pol polyproteins during maturation, much like the PR from Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1). Various antiviral inhibitors are in clinical use and one of the most significant classes is HIV-1 PR inhibitors, which have used for antiretroviral therapy in the treatment of AIDS. HTLV-1 PR and HIV-1 PR are homodimeric aspartic proteases with 125 and 99 residues, respectively. Even though substrate specificities of these two enzymes are different, HTLV-1 PR shares 28% similarity with HIV-1 PR overall and the substrate binding sites have 45% similarity.
In addition to the 125-residue full length HTLV-1 PR, constructs with various C- terminal deletions (giving proteases with lengths of 116, 121, or 122 amino acids) were made in order to elucidate the effect of the residues in the C-terminal region. It was suggested that five amino acids in the C-terminal region are not necessary for the enzymatic activity in Hayakawa et al. 1992. In 2004 Herger et al. had suggested that 10 amino acids at the C-terminal region are not necessary for catalytic activity. A recent paper suggested that C-terminal residues are essential; and that catalytic activity lowers upon truncation, with even the last 5 amino acids necessary for full catalytic activity (1).
The mutation L40I has been made to prevent autoproteolysis and the W98V mutation was made to make the active site of HTLV-1 PR similar to HIV-1 PR. We have characterized C-terminal amino acids of HTLV-1 PR as not being essential for full catalytic activity. We have discovered potential new inhibitors by in silico screening of 116-HTLV-1 PR. These small molecules were tested kinetically for various constructs including the 116, 121 and 122-amino acid forms of HTLV-1 PR. Inhibitors with the best inhibition constants were used in HTLV-1 infected cells and one of the inhibitors seems to inhibit gag processing.||en