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UNLABELLED: HIV-1 Env glycoprotein-mediated fusion is initiated upon sequential binding of Env to CD4 and the coreceptor CXCR4 or CCR5. Whereas these interactions are thought to be necessary and sufficient to promote HIV-1 fusion, other host factors can modulate this process. Previous studies reported potent inhibition of HIV-1 fusion by selective P2X1 receptor antagonists, including NF279, and suggested that these receptors play a role in HIV-1 entry. Here we investigated the mechanism of antiviral activity of NF279 and found that this compound does not inhibit HIV-1 fusion by preventing the activation of P2X1 channels but effectively blocks the binding of the virus to CXCR4 or CCR5. The notion of an off-target effect of NF279 on HIV-1 fusion is supported by the lack of detectable expression of P2X1 receptors in cells used in fusion experiments and by the fact that the addition of ATP or the enzymatic depletion of ATP in culture medium does not modulate viral fusion. Importantly, NF279 fails to inhibit HIV-1 fusion with cell lines and primary macrophages when added at an intermediate stage downstream of Env-CD4-coreceptor engagement. Conversely, in the presence of NF279, HIV-1 fusion is arrested downstream of CD4 binding but prior to coreceptor engagement. NF279 also antagonizes the signaling function of CCR5, CXCR4, and another chemokine receptor, as evidenced by the suppression of calcium responses elicited by specific ligands and by recombinant gp120. Collectively, our results demonstrate that NF279 is a dual HIV-1 coreceptor inhibitor that interferes with the functional engagement of CCR5 and CXCR4 by Env. IMPORTANCE: Inhibition of P2X receptor activity suppresses HIV-1 fusion and replication, suggesting that P2X signaling is involved in HIV-1 entry. However, mechanistic experiments conducted in this study imply that P2X1 receptor is not expressed in target cells or involved in viral fusion. Instead, we found that inhibition of HIV-1 fusion by a specific P2X1 receptor antagonist, NF279, is due to the blocking of virus interactions with both the CXCR4 and CCR5 coreceptors. The ability of NF279 to abrogate cellular calcium signaling induced by the respective chemokines showed that this compound acts as a dual-coreceptor antagonist. P2X1 receptor antagonists could thus represent a new class of dual-coreceptor inhibitors with a structure and a mechanism of action that are distinct from those of known HIV-1 coreceptor antagonists.

Original publication




Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





9368 - 9382


CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Female, HEK293 Cells, HIV-1, Humans, Male, Purinergic P2X Receptor Antagonists, Receptors, CCR5, Receptors, CXCR4, Receptors, Purinergic P2X1, Suramin, Virus Internalization