Protease inhibitor, protease enzyme and AIDS

  1. As protease is of any enzyme that catalyses the splitting of proteins how can its inhibitor, protease inhibitör or pi , be an AIDS drug? Is there any relation between digestion and AIDS?

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    In the treatment of HIV and other viruses specific protease inhibitors are used that target viral proteases necessary for the synthesis of viral proteins. Some proteins require post-translational modification to become active, proteolytic cleavage is an example of one such modification.
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  4. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,531
    Science Advisor

    Proteases, enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of peptide bonds in proteins, are a very diverse family of enzymes comprising enzymes of different structural classes and catalytic mechanisms. The human genome encodes over 500 different protease enzymes ( Although many proteases are involved in the digestion of food, proteases also regulate a number of important biological functions such as blood clotting and programmed cell death.

    HIV also encodes a protease enzyme which is important for virus maturation. Basically, many of HIV's proteins are expressed as one long chain (perhaps to facilitate packaging everything into the virus), which then get cleaved into separate polypeptides by protease. Drugs that inhibit HIV protease block this process and interfere with virus replication, maturation, and release. HIV protease is sufficiently different from other protease enzymes that drugs can target HIV protease without inhibiting other proteases in the body.
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