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Human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein (gp120/gp41) plays a critical role in virus infection and pathogenesis. Three of the six monoclonal antibodies considered to have broadly neutralizing activities (2F5, 4E10, and Z13e1) bind to the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) of gp41. This makes the MPER a desirable template for developing immunogens that can elicit antibodies with properties similar to these monoclonal antibodies, with a long term goal of developing antigens that could serve as novel HIV vaccines. In order to provide a structural basis for rational antigen design, an MPER construct, HR1-54Q, was generated for x-ray crystallographic and x-ray footprinting studies to provide both high resolution atomic coordinates and verification of the solution state of the antigen, respectively. The crystal structure of HR1-54Q reveals a trimeric, coiled-coil six-helical bundle, which probably represents a postfusion form of gp41. The MPER portion extends from HR2 in continuation of a slightly bent long helix and is relatively flexible. The structures observed for the 2F5 and 4E10 epitopes agree well with existing structural data, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays indicate that the antigen binds well to antibodies that recognize the above epitopes. Hydroxyl radical-mediated protein footprinting of the antigen in solution reveals specifically protected and accessible regions consistent with the predictions based on the trimeric structure from the crystallographic data. Overall, the HR1-54Q antigen, as characterized by crystallography and footprinting, represents a postfusion, trimeric form of HIV gp41, and its structure provides a rational basis for gp41 antigen design suitable for HIV vaccine development.
antigen, glycoprotein, HIV, protein structure, x-ray crystallography, x-ray footprinting, vaccine design
Journal of Biological Chemistry
© 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
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Wuxian Shi, Jen Bohon, Dong P. Han, Habtom Habte, Yali Qin, Michael W. Cho, Mark R. Chance. Structural Characterization of HIV gp41 with the Membrane-proximal External Region. Journal of Biological Chemistry, Volume 285, Issue 31, 2010, Pages 24290-24298, https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M110.111351.