Conformational characterization of aberrant disulfide-linked HIV-1 gp120 dimers secreted from overexpressing cells

Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Journal of virological methods (Impact Factor: 1.78). 09/2010; 168(1-2):155-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2010.05.008
Source: PubMed


The envelope (Env) glycoproteins of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) mediate viral entry and are also the primary target of neutralizing antibodies. The gp160 envelope glycoprotein precursor undergoes proteolytic cleavage in the Golgi complex to produce the gp120 exterior glycoprotein and the gp41 transmembrane glycoprotein, which remain associated non-covalently in the trimeric Env complex. Monomeric soluble gp120 has been used extensively to investigate conformational states, structure, antigenicity and immunogenicity of the HIV-1 Env glycoproteins. Expression of gp120 alone (without gp41) leads to the accumulation not only of monomeric gp120 but also an aberrant dimeric form. The gp120 dimers were sensitive to reducing agents. The formation of gp120 dimers was disrupted by a single amino acid change in the inner domain, and was reduced by removal of the V1/V2 variable loops or the N and C termini. Epitopes on the gp120 inner domain and the chemokine receptor-binding surface were altered or occluded by gp120 dimerization. Awareness of the existence and properties of gp120 dimers should assist interpretation of studies of this key viral protein.


Available from: Andres Finzi, May 12, 2015
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    • "Accordingly, in absence of ␤-mercaptoethanol, in addition to the expected band of monomeric gp120, a slow migrating band corresponding to disulfide-linked gp120 dimers can be detected for wt, N386A N397A N406A and V5 mutants but not for V1V2V3 and V1V2V3V5 (Fig. 1A). This is in line with previously reported observations that V1V2 and, to a lesser extent, V3 regions are involved in gp120 dimer formation (Center et al., 2000; Finzi et al., 2010a). However, upon addition of ␤-mercaptoethanol, which reduces disulfide links, all variants migrate as a single band (Fig. 1B). "
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    ABSTRACT: For several years, tools to study the conformational changes of HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins have been developed in order to comprehend those changes and their role in the fusion process and immunogenicity of HIV-1. To facilitate these studies, expression of the HIV-1 gp120 envelope glycoprotein has been done in several over-expression settings. However, over-expression of HIV-1 gp120 in mammalian cells leads to the formation of aberrant disulfide-linked dimers that can bias the results of experiments aimed at measuring gp120 affinity with different ligands. The presence of these gp120 dimers, generated in a widely-used gp120 expression system, affects the affinity of gp120 for CD4-induced ligands, as evaluated by surface plasmon resonance. Upon monomeric gp120 purification, neither the removal of potential glycosylation sites on V4 nor the removal of the V5 variable region affect the overall affinity of gp120 for 17b and A32 CD4-induced ligands. Removal of these aberrant disulfide-linked gp120 dimers by standard size exclusion chromatography is sufficient to restore the overall affinity of gp120 preparations for these ligands. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Journal of Virological Methods 02/2015; 215-216. DOI:10.1016/j.jviromet.2015.02.017 · 1.78 Impact Factor
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    • "The monomeric BG505 gp120 construct was created by introducing a stop codon into the SOSIP.664 gp140 gene at residue 512; the cleavage site was reverted to wild-type (REKR); C501 was reverted to A501; and the L111A substitution was introduced to prevent gp120 dimerization [45,87]. Furthermore, to allow capture by antibody D7324, substitutions R500K and G507Q were introduced into the C5 region. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The trimeric envelope glycoproteins (Env) on the surface of HIV-1 virions are the targets for neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). No candidate HIV-1 immunogen has yet induced potent, broadly active NAbs (bNAbs). Part of the explanation may be that previously tested Env proteins inadequately mimic the functional, native Env complex. Trimerization and the proteolytic processing of Env precursors into gp120 and gp41 profoundly alter antigenicity, but soluble cleaved trimers are too unstable to serve as immunogens. By introducing stabilizing mutations (SOSIP), we constructed soluble, cleaved Env trimers derived from the HIV-1 subtype A isolate BG505 that resemble native Env spikes on virions both structurally and antigenically. Results We used surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to quantify antibody binding to different forms of BG505 Env: the proteolytically cleaved SOSIP.664 trimers, cleaved gp120-gp41ECTO protomers, and gp120 monomers. Non-NAbs to the CD4-binding site bound only marginally to the trimers but equally well to gp120-gp41ECTO protomers and gp120 monomers, whereas the bNAb VRC01, directed to the CD4bs, bound to all three forms. In contrast, bNAbs to V1V2 glycan-dependent epitopes bound preferentially (PG9 and PG16) or exclusively (PGT145) to trimers. We also explored the antigenic consequences of three different features of SOSIP.664 gp140 trimers: the engineered inter-subunit disulfide bond, the trimer-stabilizing I559P change in gp41ECTO, and proteolytic cleavage at the gp120-gp41ECTO junction. Each of these three features incrementally promoted native-like trimer antigenicity. We compared Fab and IgG versions of bNAbs and validated a bivalent model of IgG binding. The NAbs showed widely divergent binding kinetics and degrees of binding to native-like BG505 SOSIP.664. High off-rate constants and low stoichiometric estimates of NAb binding were associated with large amounts of residual infectivity after NAb neutralization of the corresponding BG505.T332N pseudovirus. Conclusions The antigenicity and structural integrity of cleaved BG505 SOSIP.664 trimers render these proteins good mimics of functional Env spikes on virions. In contrast, uncleaved gp140s antigenically resemble individual gp120-gp41ECTO protomers and gp120 monomers, but not native trimers. Although NAb binding to functional trimers may thus be both necessary and sufficient for neutralization, the kinetics and stoichiometry of the interaction influence the neutralizing efficacy of individual NAbs.
    Retrovirology 05/2014; 11(1):41. DOI:10.1186/1742-4690-11-41 · 4.19 Impact Factor
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    • "In mammalian cells, gp160 undergoes proteolysis in the Golgi complex to produce gp120 and gp41. It was shown recently that when gp120 is expressed in the absence of gp41 in mammalian cells it forms aberrant disulfide linked dimers [26]. Further, it has been reported that gp41 which can be expressed in E. coli, is associated with inclusion bodies regardless of whether it has a GST fusion partner [27,28]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein gp160, useful in detecting anti-HIV-1 antibodies, is difficult to express in heterologous hosts. The major hurdles are its signal sequence, strong hydrophobic regions and heavy glycosylation. While it has not been possible to express full length recombinant (r)-gp160 in E. coli, it can be expressed in insect and mammalian cells, but at relatively higher cost. In this work, we report E. coli-based over-expression of r-gp160 variant and evaluate its performance in diagnostic immunoassays for the detection of anti-HIV-1 antibodies. Methods A deletion variant of r-gp160 lacking hydrophobic regions of the parent full length molecule was expressed in E. coli and purified to near homogeneity using single-step Ni(II)-affinity chromatography. Biotinylated and europium(III) chelate-labeled versions of this antigen were used to set up one- and two-step time-resolved fluorometric double antigen sandwich assays. The performance of these assays was evaluated against a collection of well-characterized human sera (n=131), that included an in-house panel and four commercially procured panels. Results In-frame deletion of three hydrophobic regions, spanning amino acid residues 1–43, 519–538 and 676–706, of full length HIV-1 gp160 resulted in its expression in E. coli. Both the one- and two-step assays manifested high sensitivity unambiguously identifying 75/77 and 77/77 HIV-1 positive sera, respectively. Both assays also identified all 52 HIV-seronegative sera correctly. Between the two assays, the mean signal-to-cutoff value of the two-step assay was an order of magnitude greater than that of the one-step assay. Both assays were highly specific manifesting no cross-reactivity towards antibodies specific to other viruses like hepatitis B, C, and human T cell leukemia viruses. Conclusions This study has demonstrated the expression of r-gp160 variant in E. coli, by deletion of hydrophobic regions, and its purification in reasonable yields. This underscores the potential for cost saving in antigen production. Evaluation of this antigen in a double antigen sandwich two-step assay showed it to be a highly sensitive and specific HIV-1 diagnostic reagent. The amenability of this assay to the one-step format suggests its potential utility in developing a rapid point-of-care HIV-1 diagnostic test.
    BMC Infectious Diseases 11/2012; 12(1):325. DOI:10.1186/1471-2334-12-325 · 2.61 Impact Factor
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