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May 27, 2020
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A whole database for a single protein
HIV Protease Database

At first, it seems an overstatement that a 99 aminoacid protein has it's own database. Not if we are talking about nothing less than the HIV protease, an essential protein for virion maturation and infection ability.

In the last twenty years the interest on the HIV protease has increased rapidly and the knowledge of its interactions with different compounds has accumulated significantly. Since the discovery of retroviral proteases and the validation of the HIV-1 protease as a therapeutic target, substantial research has been focused on finding inhibitors of this important enzyme.

Now, much of the information collected during these years can be found in an open and freely available database. The Structural Database of HIV Protease is one of the first databases of macromolecular structures outside of the Protein Data Bank. Developed and maintained by the Macromolecular Crystallography Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute, the Biotechnology Division of National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Institutes of Health, the database contains experimentally determined 3-D structures of HIV-1, HIV-2 and the simian immunodeficiency virus proteases.

The information on protein structure allows users to view the structure of the HIV protease, and the complex interactions formed with inhibitors and substrates, according to a set of criteria such as the strain it was isolated from, the inhibitor type, the year it was characterized, author, etc. Pharmaceutical companies provided most of the unique protease structures found in the database and some of the 207 available structures have never been released before.

The database aims at serving a global community that includes researchers, educators and students all over the world.

—Marcia Triunfol



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