Presence of a Helix in Human CD4 Cytoplasmic Domain Promotes Binding to HIV-1 Nef Protein
The Nef proteins of simian and human immunodeficiency viruses are known to directly bind and downregulate the CD4 receptor of infected cells. Recent results suggest that residues forming an alpha-helix N-cap in the CD4 cytoplasmic domain play a role in binding of CD4 to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Nef protein. We determined the dissociation constants between Nef and several CD4 peptides that contain or do not contain the respective alpha-helix N-cap. Further, we compared helical secondary structure content of these CD4 peptide variants by circular dichroism spectroscopy. We conclude that presence of an alpha-helix in CD4 cytoplasmic domain increases CD4 affinity to Nef. In addition, the amino acid sequence of residues forming the helix N-cap influences CD4 affinity to Nef, too. Finally, the structural changes induced in Nef and CD4 upon binding to each other are investigated.
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