Molecular architecture of the uncleaved HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein trimer
ABSTRACT The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimer, a membrane-fusing machine, mediates virus entry into host cells and is the sole virus-specific target for neutralizing antibodies. Binding the receptors, CD4 and CCR5/CXCR4, triggers Env conformational changes from the metastable unliganded state to the fusion-active state. We used cryo-electron microscopy to obtain a 6-Å structure of the membrane-bound, heavily glycosylated HIV-1 Env trimer in its uncleaved and unliganded state. The spatial organization of secondary structure elements reveals that the unliganded conformations of both glycoprotein (gp)120 and gp41 subunits differ from those induced by receptor binding. The gp120 trimer association domains, which contribute to interprotomer contacts in the unliganded Env trimer, undergo rearrangement upon CD4 binding. In the unliganded Env, intersubunit interactions maintain the gp41 ectodomain helical bundles in a "spring-loaded" conformation distinct from the extended helical coils of the fusion-active state. Quaternary structure regulates the virus-neutralizing potency of antibodies targeting the conserved CD4-binding site on gp120. The Env trimer architecture provides mechanistic insights into the metastability of the unliganded state, receptor-induced conformational changes, and quaternary structure-based strategies for immune evasion.
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ABSTRACT: The envelope glycoprotein (Env) is the sole antigenic feature on the surface of HIV and the target for the humoral immune system. Soluble, uncleaved gp140 Env constructs truncated at the transmembrane domain are being investigated intensively as potential vaccine immunogens by many groups, and understanding their structural properties is essential. Here we use Hydrogen/Deuterium-exchange mass spectrometry and small-angle X-ray scattering to probe structural order in a panel of commonly used gp140 constructs and matched gp120 monomers. We observe that oligomeric forms of uncleaved gp140, generally presumed to be trimeric, contain a protease-resistant form of gp41 akin to the post-fusion, helical bundle conformation and appear to lack specific interactions between gp120 and gp41. In contrast, the monomeric form of gp140 shows significant stabilization of the gp120 inner domain imparted by the gp41 region, demonstrating excellent agreement with past mutagenesis studies. Moreover, the gp140 monomers respond to CD4 binding in manner that is consistent with the initial stages of Env activation: CD4 binding induces structural ordering throughout gp120 while loosening its association with gp41. The results indicate that uncleaved gp140 oligomers do not represent an authentic pre-fusion, soluble form Env, while gp140 monomers isolated from the same glycoprotein preparations in many ways exhibit function and internal structural order that are consistent with expectations for certain aspects of native Env. gp140 monomers may thus be a useful reagent for advancing structural and functional studies.Journal of Virology 08/2013; DOI:10.1128/JVI.01681-13 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The HIV-1 site of binding for the CD4 receptor has long attracted attention as a potential supersite of vulnerability to antibody-mediated neutralization. We review recent findings related to effective CD4-binding site antibodies isolated from HIV-1-infected individuals and discuss implications for immunogen design. Highly effective CD4-binding site antibodies such as antibody VRC01 have the ability to neutralize over 90% of circulating HIV-1 strains. Sequence and structural analysis of these antibodies from over half a dozen HIV-1-infected donors reveals remarkable similarity in their ontogenies and their modes of recognition, all of which involve mimicry of CD4 receptor by antibody-heavy chain. Meanwhile, other effective CD4-binding site neutralizers such as antibody CH103 have been shown to utilize a different mode of recognition, with next-generation sequencing of both virus and antibody suggesting co-evolution to drive the development of antibody-neutralization breadth. The nexus of information concerning the CD4-binding site and its recognition by human antibodies capable of effective neutralization has expanded remarkably in the last few years. Although barriers are substantial, new insights from donor-serum responses, atomic-level structures of antibody-Env complexes, and next-generation sequencing of B-cell transcripts are invigorating vaccine-design efforts to elicit effective CD4-binding site antibodies.Current opinion in HIV and AIDS 09/2013; 8(5):382-91. DOI:10.1097/COH.0b013e328363a90e · 4.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Many efforts have been made in the worldwide quest for a prophylactic HIV vaccine to end the AIDS pandemic, but none has yet succeeded. The lessons learned have repeatedly informed us that the traditional or conventional approaches directly using the pathogens or subunits will not be sufficient for an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine. Recent advances in structure-based technology have shown some promise in the quest for a better immunogen in HIV vaccine development. According to the basic binding structural relationship of an antigen and an antibody, structure-based antigen design could bring some hope for the development of an effective vaccine against HIV.Current HIV research 09/2013; DOI:10.2174/1570162X113116660053 · 2.14 Impact Factor