Resistance from Afar: Distal Mutation V36M Allosterically Modulates the Active Site to Accentuate Drug Resistance in HCV NS3/4A Protease

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Ayşegül OzenCelia A Schiffer


Hepatitis C virus rapidly evolves, conferring resistance to direct acting antivirals. While resistance via active site mutations in the viral NS3/4A protease has been well characterized, the mechanism for resistance of non-active site mutations is unclear. R155K and V36M often co-evolve and while R155K alters the electrostatic network at the binding site, V36M is more than 13 Angstrom away. In this study the mechanism by which V36M confers resistance, in the context of R155K, is elucidated with drug susceptibility assays, crystal structures, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations for three protease inhibitors: telaprevir, boceprevir and danoprevir. The R155K and R155K/V36M crystal structures differ in the α-2 helix and E2 strand near the active site, with alternative conformations at M36 and side chains of active site residues D168 and R123, revealing an allosteric coupling, which persists dynamically in MD simulations, between the distal mutation and the active site. This allosteric modulation validates the network hypothesis and elucidates how distal mutations confer resistance through propagation of conformational changes to the active site.

Related Concepts

Allosteric Regulation
Disease Susceptibility
Drug Resistance
Protease Inhibitors
Viral Nonstructural Proteins
Hepatitis C virus
Crystal Structure

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