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Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Intracellular Activation of Tenofovir Alafenamide and the Effect of Viral and Host Protease Inhibitors.


PMID 26503655

Abstract

Tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF) is an oral phosphonoamidate prodrug of the HIV reverse transcriptase nucleotide inhibitor tenofovir (TFV). Previous studies suggested a principal role for the lysosomal serine protease cathepsin A (CatA) in the intracellular activation of TAF. Here we further investigated the role of CatA and other human hydrolases in the metabolism of TAF. Overexpression of CatA or liver carboxylesterase 1 (Ces1) in HEK293T cells increased intracellular TAF hydrolysis 2- and 5-fold, respectively. Knockdown of CatA expression with RNA interference (RNAi) in HeLa cells reduced intracellular TAF metabolism 5-fold. Additionally, the anti-HIV activity and the rate of CatA hydrolysis showed good correlation within a large set of TFV phosphonoamidate prodrugs. The covalent hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitors (PIs) telaprevir and boceprevir potently inhibited CatA-mediated TAF activation (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50] = 0.27 and 0.16 μM, respectively) in vitro and also reduced its anti-HIV activity in primary human CD4(+) T lymphocytes (21- and 3-fold, respectively) at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. In contrast, there was no inhibition of CatA or any significant effect on anti-HIV activity of TAF observed with cobicistat, noncovalent HIV and HCV PIs, or various prescribed inhibitors of host serine proteases. Collectively, these studies confirm that CatA plays a pivotal role in the intracellular metabolism of TAF, whereas the liver esterase Ces1 likely contributes to the hepatic activation of TAF. Moreover, this work demonstrates that a wide range of viral and host PIs, with the exception of telaprevir and boceprevir, do not interfere with the antiretroviral activity of TAF.

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