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How do protease inhibitors work?

Nov 7, 1996

I was wondering how a protease inhibitor acts on the protease of HIV. What does this protease enzyme do that it needs to be stopped?

Response from Dr. Cohen

Protease is an enzyme that cleaves precursor proteins into their final products during or shortly after the budding of the newly formed virus particle from an infected cell. If the proteins necessary for making new virus particles cannot be modified (cleaved) by the protease inhibitor, then the virus particle that gets released from the cell is defective. It cannot infect new cells, so further viral replication cannot take place.

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