Research Article

Cryo-EM structure of a native, fully glycosylated, cleaved HIV-1 envelope trimer

Science  04 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6277, pp. 1043-1048
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2450

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A more complete look at the HIV-1 envelope

HIV-1 uses its envelope protein (Env), a large glycoprotein present on the viral surface, to enter target cells. Env forms trimers on the viral surface. Structural studies of solubilized Env trimers have provided important insights into viral entry and antibody binding, but soluble trimers lack several important insoluble regions of the native protein. Lee et al. used cryo–electron microscopy to solve the structure of a trimeric Env protein of HIV-1, missing only its cytoplasmic tail, in complex with broadly neutralizing antibodies. A more complete understanding of Env's structure may aid in vaccine design ef orts.

Science, this issue p. 1043

Abstract

The envelope glycoprotein trimer (Env) on the surface of HIV-1 recognizes CD4+ T cells and mediates viral entry. During this process, Env undergoes substantial conformational rearrangements, making it difficult to study in its native state. Soluble stabilized trimers have provided valuable insights into the Env structure, but they lack the hydrophobic membrane proximal external region (MPER, an important target of broadly neutralizing antibodies), the transmembrane domain, and the cytoplasmic tail. Here we present (i) a cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of a clade B virus Env, which lacks only the cytoplasmic tail and is stabilized by the broadly neutralizing antibody PGT151, at a resolution of 4.2 angstroms and (ii) a reconstruction of this form of Env in complex with PGT151 and MPER-targeting antibody 10E8 at a resolution of 8.8 angstroms. These structures provide new insights into the wild-type Env structure.

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