Development of resistance to VIR-353 with cross-resistance to the natural HIV-1 entry virus inhibitory peptide (VIRIP)

Emmanuel Gonzalez, Ester Ballana, Bonaventura Clotet, José A. Esté

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Virus-inhibitory peptide (VIRIP) has been identified as a component of human hemofiltrate that blocks HIV-1 gp41-dependent fusion by interacting with the fusion peptide. A VIRIP analogue (VIR-576) has been shown to be effective in a phase I/II clinical trial. We have evaluated the activity and mechanism of HIV-1 resistance to VIRIP and its analogue, VIR-353. Methods: Anti-HIV activity and passage of HIV-1 strains in cell culture were used to generate and identify mutations that confer resistance to VIRIP and VIR-353. Recombinant viruses harboring the most relevant mutations were generated and characterized. Results: VIRIP and VIR-353 showed anti-HIV-1 activity with EC50 of 28 and 0.3 μmol/l, respectively, and were active against virus resistant to BMS-155, AMD3100, T20, TAK-779 or nevirapine. Time of addition experiments showed that VIR-353 targets a time/site of action corresponding to gp41-dependent fusion. VIR-353-resistant virus was generated after 450 days in cell culture, suggesting a high genetic barrier for resistance. The VIR-353-resistant virus was cross-resistant to VIRIP but remained sensitive to T20, AMD3100 or zidovudine. Recombination of gp41 into a wild-type backbone partially recovered the resistant phenotype, but both gp120 and gp41 from the resistant virus were necessary to restore resistance to VIRIP or VIR-353. Site-directed mutagenesis confirmed the role of specific mutations and identified a combination of three mutations (A433T/V489I/V570I) as the most relevant to VIRIP resistance. Conclusion: VIRIP may interact with a region of gp41 that is essential for fusion but not the fusion peptide. Our results highlight interactions between gp41 and gp120 that may be required during the fusion process. © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1575-1583
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2011


  • fusion
  • fusion inhibitor
  • fusion peptide
  • gp41
  • resistance


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