The L46P mutant confers a novel allosteric mechanism of resistance toward the influenza A virus M2 S31N proton channel blockers

Rami Musharrafieh, Panagiotis I. Lagarias, Chunlong Ma, Gene S. Tan, Antonios Kolocouris, Jun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The Food and Drug Administration-approved influenza A antiviral amantadine inhibits the wild-type (WT) AM2 channel but not the S31N mutant predominantly found in circulating strains. In this study, serial viral passages were applied to select resistance against a newly developed isoxazole-conjugated adamantane inhibitor that targets the AM2 S31N channel. This led to the identification of the novel drug-resistant mutation L46P located outside the drug-binding site, which suggests an allosteric resistance mechanism. Intriguingly, when the L46P mutant was introduced to AM2 WT, the channel remained sensitive toward amantadine inhibition. To elucidate the molecular mechanism, molecular dynamics simulations and binding free energy molecular mechanics-generalized born surface area (MM-GBSA) calculations were performed on WT and mutant channels. It was found that the L46P mutation caused a conformational change in the N terminus of transmembrane residues 22-31 that ultimately broadened the drug-binding site of AM2 S31N inhibitor 4, which spans residues 26-34, but not of AM2 WT inhibitor amantadine, which spans residues 31-34. The MM-GBSA calculations showed stronger binding stability for 4 in complex with AM2 S31N compared with 4 in complex with AM2 S31N/L46P, and equal binding free energies of amantadine in complex with AM2 WT and AM2 L46P. Overall, these results demonstrate a unique allosteric resistance mechanism toward AM2 S31N channel blockers, and the L46P mutant represents the first experimentally confirmed drug-resistant AM2 mutant that is located outside of the pore where drug binds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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