Atazanavir selectively inhibits the virus-specific processing of viral Gag and Gag-Pol polyproteins in HIV-1 infected cells by binding to the active site of HIV-1 protease, thus preventing the formation of mature virions. Atazanavir is not active against HIV-2.
Atazanavir (ATV) is an azapeptide HIV-1 protease inhibitor (PI) with activity against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1). HIV-1 protease is an enzyme required for the proteolytic cleavage of the viral polyprotein precursors into the individual functional proteins found in infectious HIV-1. Atazanavir binds to the protease active site and inhibits the activity of the enzyme. This inhibition prevents cleavage of the viral polyproteins resulting in the formation of immature non-infectious viral particles. Protease inhibitors are almost always used in combination with at least two other anti-HIV drugs. Atazanivir is pharmacologically related but structurally different from other protease inhibitors and other currently available antiretrovirals.
Atazanavir is extensively metabolized in humans, primarily by the liver. The major biotransformation pathways of atazanavir in humans consisted of monooxygenation and dioxygenation. Other minor biotransformation pathways for atazanavir or its metabolites consisted of glucuronidation, N-dealkylation, hydrolysis, and oxygenation with dehydrogenation. In vitro studies using human liver microsomes suggested that atazanavir is metabolized by CYP3A.