The 6-aminoquinolone WM5, previously identified by us, is among the most selective small molecules known as TAR RNA binders to show anti-HIV activity.


Starting from WM5, a series of analogues modified at N-1, C-6 or C-7 position was prepared by inserting guanidine or amidine groups as well as other protonable moieties intended to electrostatically bind the phosphate backbone of TAR. All the compounds were tested for their ability to inhibit HIV-1 replication in MT-4 cells and in parallel for their cytotoxicity. The active compounds were also evaluated for their ability to interfere with the formation of the Tat-TAR complex using a Fluorescence Quenching Assay (FQA).


Some of the synthesized compounds showed an anti-HIV-1 activity in the sub-micromolar range with the naphthyridone derivatives being the most potent. Three of the synthesized derivatives were able to interact with the Tat-TAR complex formation presenting Ki values improved as compared to the values obtained with WM5.


The addition of a pyridine-based protonable side chain at the N-1 position of the quinolone/naphthyridone core imparted to the compounds the ability to interfere with Tat-TAR complex formation and HIV-1 replication.

Keywords: Anti-HIV quinolones, Tat-mediated transcription inhibitors, Antiviral agents, Medicinal chemistry, WM5, Fluorescence quenching assay.
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