Research Article

Crystal Structure of a Soluble Cleaved HIV-1 Envelope Trimer

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Science  31 Oct 2013:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1245625

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HIV-1 entry into CD4+ target cells is mediated by cleaved envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimers that have been challenging to characterize structurally. Here, we describe the crystal structure at 4.7 Å of an antigenically near-native, cleaved, stabilized, soluble Env trimer (termed BG505 SOSIP.664 gp140) in complex with a potent broadly neutralizing antibody, PGT122. The structure shows a pre-fusion state of gp41, the interaction between the component gp120 and gp41 subunits, and how a close association between the gp120 V1/V2/V3 loops stabilizes the trimer apex around the three-fold axis. The complete epitope of PGT122 on the trimer involves gp120 V1, V3 and several surrounding glycans. This trimer structure advances our understanding of how Env functions and is presented to the immune system, and provides a blueprint for structure-based vaccine design.

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