Design and Synthesis of HIV-1 Protease Inhibitors Incorporating Oxazolidinones as P2/P2‘ Ligands in Pseudosymmetric Dipeptide Isosteres

A series of novel HIV-1 protease inhibitors based on two pseudosymmetric dipeptide isosteres have been synthesized and evaluated. The inhibitors were designed by incorporating N-phenyloxazolidinone-5-carboxamides into the hydroxyethylene and (hydroxyethyl)hydrazine dipeptide isosteres as P2 and P2‘ ligands. Compounds with (S)-phenyloxazolidinones attached at a position proximal to the central hydroxyl group showed low nM inhibitory activities against wild-type HIV-1 protease. Selected compounds were further evaluated for their inhibitory activities against a panel of multidrug-resistant protease variants and for their antiviral potencies in MT-4 cells. The crystal structures of lopinavir (LPV) and two new inhibitors containing phenyloxazolidinone-based ligands in complex with wild-type HIV-1 protease have been determined. A comparison of the inhibitor−protease structures with the LPV−protease structure provides valuable insight into the binding mode of the new inhibitors to the protease enzyme. Based on the crystal structures and knowledge of structure−activity relationships, new inhibitors can be designed with enhanced enzyme inhibitory and antiviral potencies.