Stabilizing exposure of conserved epitopes by structure guided insertion of disulfide bond in HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein.

Published

Journal Article

Entry of HIV-1 into target cells requires binding of the viral envelope glycoprotein (Env) to cellular receptors and subsequent conformational changes that culminates in fusion of viral and target cell membranes. Recent structural information has revealed that these conformational transitions are regulated by three conserved but potentially flexible layers stacked between the receptor-binding domain (gp120) and the fusion arm (gp41) of Env. We hypothesized that artificial insertion of a covalent bond will 'snap' Env into a conformation that is less mobile and stably expose conserved sites. Therefore, we analyzed the interface between these gp120 layers (layers 1, 2 and 3) and identified residues that may form disulfide bonds when substituted with cysteines. We subsequently probed the structures of the resultant mutant gp120 proteins by assaying their binding to a variety of ligands using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) assay. We found that a single disulfide bond strategically inserted between the highly conserved layers 1 and 2 (C65-C115) is able to 'lock' gp120 in a CD4 receptor bound conformation (in the absence of CD4), as indicated by the lower dissociation constant (Kd) for the CD4-induced (CD4i) epitope binding 17b antibody. When disulfide-stabilized monomeric (gp120) and trimeric (gp140) Envs were used to immunize rabbits, they were found to elicit a higher proportion of antibodies directed against both CD4i and CD4 binding site epitopes than the wild-type proteins. These results demonstrate that structure-guided stabilization of inter-layer interactions within HIV-1 Env can be used to expose conserved epitopes and potentially overcome the sequence diversity of these molecules.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kassa, A; Dey, AK; Sarkar, P; Labranche, C; Go, EP; Clark, DF; Sun, Y; Nandi, A; Hartog, K; Desaire, H; Montefiori, D; Carfi, A; Srivastava, IK; Barnett, SW

Published Date

  • January 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 / 10

Start / End Page

  • e76139 -

PubMed ID

  • 24146829

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24146829

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0076139

Language

  • eng