Author ORCID Identifier

Mark R. Chance

Document Type


Publication Date



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

Publication Title

Journal of Biological Chemistry





First Page


Last Page



© 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


10.1074/jbc.M110.111351" data-hide-no-mentions="true">
10.1074/jbc.M110.111351" data-hide-zero-citations="true" data-style="small_circle">

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.