HIV-1 drug discovery: targeting folded RNA structures with branched peptides
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is an RNA virus that is prone to high rates of mutation. While the disease is managed with current antiretroviral therapies, drugs with a new mode of action are needed. A strategy towards this goal is aimed at targeting the native three-dimensional fold of conserved RNA structures. This perspective highlights medium-sized peptides and peptidomimetics used to target two conserved RNA structures of HIV-1. In particular, branched peptides have the capacity to bind in a multivalent fashion, utilizing a large surface area to achieve the necessary affinity and selectivity toward the target RNA.