Naturally occurring variability in the envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1 and development of cell entry inhibitors

Evan T. Brower, Arne Schön, Ernesto Freire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Naturally occurring genetic variability across HIV-1 subtypes causes amino acid polymorphisms in encoded HIV-1 proteins including the envelope glycoproteins associated with viral entry. The effects of amino acid polymorphisms on the mechanism of HIV-1 entry into cells, a process initiated by the binding of the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 to the cellular CD4 receptor, are largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that amino acid polymorphisms affect the structural stability and domain cooperad vity of gp120 and that those differences are reflected in the binding mechanism of the viral envelope glycoprotein to the cell surface receptor and coreceptor. Moreover, subtype differences also affect the binding behavior of experimental HIV cell entry inhibitors. While gp120-A has a slightly lower denaturation temperature than gp120-B, the most notable stability difference is that for gp120-B the van't Hoff to calorimetric enthalpy ratio (ΔHvH/ΔH) is 0.95 whereas for gp120-A is 0.6, indicative of more cooperative domain/domain interactions in gp120-B, as this protein, more closely approaches a two-state transition. Isothermal titration calorimetry demonstrates that CD4 and 17b (a surrogate antibody for the chemokine coreceptor) exhibit 7- and 3-fold weaker binding affinities for gp120-A. The binding of these proteins as well as that of the experimental entry inhibitor NBD-556 induces smaller conformational changes in gp120-A as evidenced by significantly smaller binding enthalpies and binding entropies. Together, these results describe the effects of gp120 polymorphisms on binding to host cell receptors and emphasize that guidelines for developing future entry inhibitors must recognize and deal with genomic differences between HIV strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2359-2367
Number of pages9
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 23 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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