Strategies for selectively killing HIV-infected cells present an appealing alternative to traditional antiretroviral drugs. We show here the first example of an inactive "Trojan horse" molecule that releases a cytotoxic, smallmolecule proteasome inhibitor upon cleavage by HIV-1 protease. As a proof-of-concept strategy, the protein avidin was used to block entry of the compound into the proteasome in the absence of HIV-1 protease. We demonstrate that this strategy is also feasible without requiring an exogenous protein; a polylysine dendrimer-containing molecule is unable to enter the proteasome until cleaved by HIV-1 protease. These results demonstrate that conditional proteasome inhibitors could prove useful in the development of new tools for chemical biology and future therapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry