Lytic Inactivation of Human Immunodeficiency Virus by Dual Engagement of gp120 and gp41 Domains in the Virus Env Protein Trimer.
ABSTRACT: We recently reported the discovery of a recombinant chimera, denoted DAVEI (dual-acting virucidal entry inhibitor), which is able to selectively cause specific and potent lytic inactivation of both pseudotyped and fully infectious human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) virions. The chimera is composed of the lectin cyanovirin-N (CVN) fused to the 20-residue membrane-proximal external region (MPER) of HIV-1 gp41. Because the Env gp120-binding CVN domain on its own is not lytic, we sought here to determine how the MPER(DAVEI) domain is able to endow the chimera with virolytic activity. We used a protein engineering strategy to identify molecular determinants of MPER(DAVEI) that are important for function. Recombinant mutagenesis and truncation demonstrated that the MPER(DAVEI) domain could be significantly minimized without loss of function. The dependence of lysis on specific MPER sequences of DAVEI, determination of minimal linker length, and competition by a simplified MPER surrogate peptide suggested that the MPER domain of DAVEI interacts with the Env spike trimer, likely with the gp41 region. This conclusion was further supported by observations from binding of the biotinylated MPER surrogate peptide to Env protein expressed on cells, monoclonal antibody competition, a direct binding enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay on viruses with varying numbers of trimeric spikes on their surfaces, and comparison of maximal interdomain spacing in DAVEI to that in high-resolution structures of Env. The finding that MPER(DAVEI) in CVN-MPER linker sequences can be minimized without loss of virolytic function provides an improved experimental path for constructing size-minimized DAVEI chimeras and molecular tools for determining how simultaneous engagement of gp120 and gp41 by these chimeras can disrupt the metastable virus Env spike.
Project description:We previously reported a first-generation recombinant DAVEI construct, a dual action virus entry inhibitor composed of cyanovirin-N (CVN) fused to a membrane proximal external region or its derivative peptide Trp3. DAVEI exhibits potent and irreversible inactivation of HIV-1 (human immunodeficiency virus) viruses by dual engagement of gp120 and gp41. However, the promiscuity of CVN to associate with multiple glycosylation sites in gp120 and its multivalency limit current understanding of the molecular arrangement of the DAVEI molecules on trimeric spike. Here, we constructed and investigated the virolytic function of second-generation DAVEI molecules using a simpler lectin, microvirin (MVN). MVN is a monovalent lectin with a single glycan-binding site in gp120, is structurally similar to CVN and exhibits no toxicity or mitogenicity, both of which are liabilities with CVN. We found that, like CVN-DAVEI-L2-3Trp (peptide sequence DKWASLWNW), MVN-DAVEI2-3Trp exploits a similar mechanism of action for inducing HIV-1 lytic inactivation, but by more selective gp120 glycan engagement. By sequence redesign, we significantly increased the potency of MVN-DAVEI2-3Trp protein. Unlike CVN-DAVEI2-3Trp, re-engineered MVN-DAVEI2-3Trp(Q81K/M83R) virolytic activity and its interaction with gp120 were both competed by 2G12 antibody. That the lectin domain in DAVEIs can utilize MVN without loss of virolytic function argues that restricted HIV-1 Env (envelope glycoprotein) glycan engagement is sufficient for virolysis. It also shows that DAVEI lectin multivalent binding with gp120 is not required for virolysis. MVN-DAVEI2-3Trp(Q81K/M83R) provides an improved tool to elucidate productive molecular arrangements of Env-DAVEI enabling virolysis and also opens the way to form DAVEI fusions made up of gp120-binding small molecules linked to Trp3 peptide.
Project description:The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) is present on the surface of the virion at a very low density compared to most other enveloped viruses. Substitution of various parts of the stalk domain of Env (gp41) with the corresponding elements from other viral glycoproteins has been shown to increase Env spike density on the cell membrane and surface of virus-like particles (VLPs). In this study, chimeric Env antigens were generated by replacing the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of HIV-1 Env with the corresponding regions from the influenza H5 hemagglutinin (HA) (gp140HA2tr) and by replacing the entire gp41 region of Env with the HA2 subunit of HA (gp120HA2). Recombinant DNA and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccines expressing HIV-1 subtype C mosaic Gag and gp150 Env or either of the chimeras were generated. Surprisingly, no significant differences were found in the levels of expression of gp150 Env or either of the chimeras on the surface of cells or on Gag VLPs. Differences were, however, observed in the binding of different monoclonal antibodies to the HIV-1 Env. Monoclonal antibodies, which recognized a V1 / V2 quaternary epitope at the tip of the native Env trimer, bound gp150 and gp140HA2tr chimera but failed to bind to the gp120HA2 chimera. Autologous Tier 2 neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) were produced by rabbits inoculated with DNA and MVA vaccines expressing the gp140HA2tr chimera or gp150 Env, but not those immunized with the gp120HA2 Env. These results showed that the addition of an HA2 stalk to HIV-1 gp120 did not improve immunogenicity, but rather that the full-length gp150 was required for optimal presentation of epitopes for the elicitation of a neutralizing antibody response to HIV-1.
Project description:The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) composed of the receptor binding domain gp120 and the fusion protein subunit gp41 catalyzes virus entry and is a major target for therapeutic intervention and for neutralizing antibodies. Env interactions with cellular receptors trigger refolding of gp41, which induces close apposition of viral and cellular membranes leading to membrane fusion. The energy released during refolding is used to overcome the kinetic barrier and drives the fusion reaction. Here, we report the crystal structure at 2 A resolution of the complete extracellular domain of gp41 lacking the fusion peptide and the cystein-linked loop. Both the fusion peptide proximal region (FPPR) and the membrane proximal external region (MPER) form helical extensions from the gp41 six-helical bundle core structure. The lack of regular coiled-coil interactions within FPPR and MPER splay this end of the structure apart while positioning the fusion peptide towards the outside of the six-helical bundle and exposing conserved hydrophobic MPER residues. Unexpectedly, the section of the MPER, which is juxtaposed to the transmembrane region (TMR), bends in a 90 degrees-angle sideward positioning three aromatic side chains per monomer for membrane insertion. We calculate that this structural motif might facilitate the generation of membrane curvature on the viral membrane. The presence of FPPR and MPER increases the melting temperature of gp41 significantly in comparison to the core structure of gp41. Thus, our data indicate that the ordered assembly of FPPR and MPER beyond the core contributes energy to the membrane fusion reaction. Furthermore, we provide the first structural evidence that part of MPER will be membrane inserted within trimeric gp41. We propose that this framework has important implications for membrane bending on the viral membrane, which is required for fusion and could provide a platform for epitope and lipid bilayer recognition for broadly neutralizing gp41 antibodies.
Project description:The binding by HIV-1 gp120 to CD4 and a chemokine receptor activates the membrane fusion glycoprotein, gp41. The fusion function of gp41 involves the refolding of its core into a 6-helix bundle, which apposes the lipophilic termini (the fusion peptide and transmembrane domain) and the associated cell and viral membranes, leading to their fusion. In this study, we examined the functional role of the polar segment and membrane proximal external region (MPER), which link the fusion peptide and transmembrane domain, respectively, to the core domain and interact to form a terminal clasp adjacent to the core. Limited proteolysis indicated that the terminal clasp is destabilized by simultaneous I535A/V539G mutations within the polar segment and mutations within the MPER. The destabilizing effects of I535A/V539G correlated with defective cell-cell fusion, viral entry, and viral replication. By using lipophilic and cytoplasmic fluorescent dye transfer assays, we found that terminal clasp destabilization is linked to a block in the lipid mixing/hemifusion phase of the membrane fusion cascade. Because the biosynthesis of the prefusion gp120-gp41 complex did not appear to be affected by I535A/V539G, we infer that the hemifusion block is due to a specific effect on the trimer of hairpins conformation of gp41. By contrast, the decreased fusion function of the MPER mutants correlated with a decrease in the interfacial hydropathy of the MPER sequence, suggesting that the prefusion Env complex had been adversely affected in these cases. These findings reveal a novel conserved functional target for the discovery of fusion inhibitors.
Project description:The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) mediates viral entry via conformational changes associated with binding the cell surface receptor (CD4) and coreceptor (CCR5/CXCR4), resulting in subsequent fusion of the viral and cellular membranes. While the gp120 Env surface subunit has been extensively studied for its role in viral entry and evasion of the host immune response, the gp41 transmembrane glycoprotein and its role in natural infection are less well characterized. Here, we identified a primary HIV-1 Env variant that consistently supports >300% increased viral infectivity in the presence of autologous or heterologous HIV-positive plasma. However, in the absence of HIV-positive plasma, viruses with this Env exhibited reduced infectivity that was not due to decreased CD4 binding. Using Env chimeras and sequence analysis, we mapped this phenotype to a change Q563R, in the gp41 heptad repeat 1 (HR1) region. We demonstrate that Q563R reduces viral infection by disrupting formation of the gp41 six-helix bundle required for virus-cell membrane fusion. Intriguingly, antibodies that bind cluster I epitopes on gp41 overcome this inhibitory effect, restoring infectivity to wild-type levels. We further demonstrate that the Q563R change increases HIV-1 sensitivity to broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) targeting the gp41 membrane-proximal external region (MPER). In summary, we identify an HIV-1 Env variant with impaired infectivity whose Env functionality is restored through the binding of host antibodies. These data contribute to our understanding of gp41 residues involved in membrane fusion and identify a mechanism by which host factors can alleviate a viral defect.
Project description:Antibodies against the Membrane-Proximal External Region (MPER) of the Env gp41 subunit neutralize HIV-1 with exceptional breadth and potency. Due to the lack of knowledge on the MPER native structure and accessibility, different and exclusive models have been proposed for the molecular mechanism of MPER recognition by broadly neutralizing antibodies. Here, accessibility of antibodies to the native Env MPER on single virions has been addressed through STED microscopy. STED imaging of fluorescently labeled Fabs reveals a common pattern of native Env recognition for HIV-1 antibodies targeting MPER or the surface subunit gp120. In the case of anti-MPER antibodies, the process evolves with extra contribution of interactions with the viral lipid membrane to binding specificity. Our data provide biophysical insights into the recognition of the potent and broadly neutralizing MPER epitope on HIV virions, and as such is of importance for the design of therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is a significant global public health problem for which development of an effective prophylactic vaccine remains a high scientific priority. Many concepts for a vaccine are focused on induction of appropriate titers of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) against the viral envelope (Env) glycoproteins gp120 and gp41, but no immunogen has yet accomplished this goal in animals or humans. One approach to induction of bNAbs is to design soluble, trimeric mimics of the native viral Env trimer. Here, we describe structural studies by negative-stain electron microscopy of several variants of soluble Env trimers based on the KNH1144 subtype A sequence. These Env trimers are fully cleaved between the gp120 and gp41 components and stabilized by specific amino acid substitutions. We also illustrate the structural consequences of deletion of the V1/V2 and V3 variable loops from gp120 and the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) from gp41. All of these variants adopt a trimeric configuration that appropriately mimics native Env spikes, including the CD4 receptor-binding site and the epitope for the VRC PG04 bNAb. These cleaved, soluble trimer designs can be adapted for use with multiple different env genes for both vaccine and structural studies.
Project description:Understanding the mechanisms used by HIV-1 to evade antibody neutralization may contribute to the design of a high-coverage vaccine. The tier 3 virus 253-11 is poorly neutralized by subtype-matched and subtype C sera, even compared to other tier 3 viruses, and is also recognized poorly by V3/glycan-targeting monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). We found that sequence polymorphisms in the V3 loop and N-linked glycosylation sites contribute only minimally to the high neutralization resistance of 253-11. Interestingly, the 253-11 membrane-proximal external region (MPER) is rarely recognized by sera in the context of the wild-type virus but is commonly recognized in the context of an HIV-2 chimera, suggesting steric or kinetic hindrance of binding to MPER in the native envelope (Env). Mutations in the 253-11 MPER, which were previously reported to increase the lifetime of the prefusion Env conformation, affected the resistance of 253-11 to antibodies targeting various epitopes on HIV-1 Env, presumably destabilizing its otherwise stable, closed trimer structure. To gain insight into the structure of 253-11, we constructed and crystallized a recombinant 253-11 SOSIP trimer. The resulting structure revealed that the heptad repeat helices in gp41 are drawn in close proximity to the trimer axis and that gp120 protomers also showed a relatively compact disposition around the trimer axis. These observations give substantial insight into the molecular features of an envelope spike from a tier 3 virus and into possible mechanisms that may contribute to its unusually high neutralization resistance.IMPORTANCE HIV-1 isolates that are highly resistant to broadly neutralizing antibodies could limit the efficacy of an antibody-based vaccine. We studied 253-11, which is highly resistant to commonly elicited neutralizing antibodies. To further understand its resistance, we made mutations that are known to delay fusion and thus increase the time that the virus spends in the open conformation following CD4 binding. Interestingly, we found that these mutations affect the 253-11 envelope (Env) spike before CD4 binding, presumably by destabilizing the trimer structure. To gain further information about the structure of the 253-11 Env trimer, we generated a recombinant 253-11 SOSIP trimer. The crystal structure of the SOSIP trimer revealed that the gp41 helices and the gp120 protomers were drawn in toward the center of the molecule compared to most solved HIV-1 Env structures. These observations provide insight into the distinct molecular features of a tier 3 envelope spike.
Project description:The envelope glycoprotein (Env) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is composed of two noncovalently associated subunits: an extracellular subunit (gp120) and a transmembrane subunit (gp41). The functional unit of Env on the surface of infectious virions is a trimer of gp120/gp41 heterodimers. Env is the target of anti-HIV neutralizing antibodies. A considerable effort has been invested in the engineering of recombinant soluble forms of the virion-associated Env trimer as vaccine candidates to elicit anti-HIV neutralizing antibody responses. These soluble constructs contain three gp120 subunits and the extracellular segments of the corresponding gp41 subunits. The individual gp120/gp41 protomers on these soluble trimers are identical in amino acid sequence (homotrimers). Here, we engineered novel soluble trimeric gp140 proteins that are formed by the association of gp140 protomers that differ in amino acid sequence and glycosylation patterns (heterotrimers). Specifically, we engineered soluble heterotrimeric proteins composed of clade A and clade B Env protomers. The clade A gp140 protomers were derived from viruses isolated during acute infection (Q168a2, Q259d2.17, and Q461e2), whereas the clade B gp140 protomers were derived from a virus isolated during chronic infection (SF162). The amino acid sequence divergence between the clade A and the clade B Envs is approximately 24%. Neutralization epitopes in the CD4 binding sites and coreceptor binding sites, as well as the membrane-proximal external region (MPER), were differentially expressed on the heterotrimeric and homotrimeric proteins. The heterotrimeric gp140s elicited broader anti-tier 1 isolate neutralizing antibody responses than did the homotrimeric gp140s.
Project description:HIV-1 (human immunodeficiency virus type 1) uses its trimeric gp160 envelope (Env) protein consisting of non-covalently associated gp120 and gp41 subunits to mediate entry into human T lymphocytes. A facile virus fusion mechanism compensates for the sparse Env copy number observed on viral particles and includes a 22-amino-acid, lentivirus-specific adaptation at the gp41 base (amino acid residues 662-683), termed the membrane proximal external region (MPER). We show by NMR and EPR that the MPER consists of a structurally conserved pair of viral lipid-immersed helices separated by a hinge with tandem joints that can be locked by capping residues between helices. This design fosters efficient HIV-1 fusion via interconverting structures while, at the same time, affording immune escape. Disruption of both joints by double alanine mutations at Env positions 671 and 674 (AA) results in attenuation of Env-mediated cell-cell fusion and hemifusion, as well as viral infectivity mediated by both CD4-dependent and CD4-independent viruses. The potential mechanism of disruption was revealed by structural analysis of MPER conformational changes induced by AA mutation. A deeper acyl chain-buried MPER middle section and the elimination of cross-hinge rigid-body motion almost certainly impede requisite structural rearrangements during the fusion process, explaining the absence of MPER AA variants among all known naturally occurring HIV-1 viral sequences. Furthermore, those broadly neutralization antibodies directed against the HIV-1 MPER exploit the tandem joint architecture involving helix capping, thereby disrupting hinge function.