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Molecular and structural mechanism of pan-genotypic HCV NS3/4A protease inhibition by glecaprevir

  • Timm, Jennifer
  • Kosovrasti, Klajdi
  • Henes, Mina
  • Leidner, Florian
  • Hou, Shurong
  • Ali, Akbar
  • Yilmaz, Nese Kurt
  • Schiffer, Celia A.
Publication Date
Jul 03, 2019
[email protected]
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV), causative agent of chronic viral hepatitis, infects 71 million people worldwide and is divided into seven genotypes and multiple subtypes with sequence identities between 68 to 82%. While older generation direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) had varying effectiveness against different genotypes, the newest NS3/4A protease inhibitors including glecaprevir (GLE) have pan-genotypic activity. The structural basis for pan-genotypic inhibition and effects of polymorphisms on inhibitor potency were not well known due to lack of crystal structures of GLE-bound NS3/4A or genotypes other than 1. In this study, we determined the crystal structures of NS3/4A from genotypes 1a, 3a, 4a and 5a in complex with GLE. Comparison with the highly similar grazoprevir (GZR) indicated the mechanism of GLE’s drastic improvement in potency. We found that while GLE is highly potent against wild type NS3/4A of all genotypes, specific resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) confer orders of magnitude loss in inhibition. Our crystal structures reveal molecular mechanisms behind pan-genotypic activity of GLE, including potency loss due to RASs at D168. Our structures permit for the first time analysis of changes due to polymorphisms among genotypes, providing insights into design principles that can aid future drug development and potentially can be extended to other proteins.

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