Restricted HIV-1 Env glycan engagement by lectin-reengineered DAVEI protein chimera is sufficient for lytic inactivation of the virus.
ABSTRACT: 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:Lectins that bind surface envelope glycoprotein gp120 of HIV with high avidity can potently inhibit viral entry. Yet properties such as multivalency that facilitate strong interactions can also cause nonspecific binding and toxicity. The cyanobacterial lectin microvirin (MVN) is unusual as it potently inhibits HIV-1 with negligible toxicity compared with cyanovirin-N (CVN), its well studied antiviral homolog. To understand the structural and mechanistic basis for these differences, we solved the solution structure of MVN free and in complex with its ligand Manα(1-2)Man, and we compared specificity and time windows of inhibition with CVN and Manα(1-2)Man-specific mAb 2G12. We show by NMR and analytical ultracentrifugation that MVN is monomeric in solution, and we demonstrate by NMR that Manα(1-2)Man-terminating carbohydrates interact with a single carbohydrate-binding site. Synchronized infectivity assays show that 2G12, MVN, and CVN inhibit entry with distinct kinetics. Despite shared specificity for Manα(1-2)Man termini, combinations of the inhibitors are synergistic suggesting they recognize discrete glycans and/or dynamic glycan conformations on gp120. Entry assays employing amphotropic viruses show that MVN is inactive, whereas CVN potently inhibits both. In addition to demonstrating that HIV-1 can be inhibited through monovalent interactions, given the similarity of the carbohydrate-binding site common to MVN and CVN, these data suggest that gp120 behaves as a clustered glycan epitope and that multivalent-protein interactions achievable with CVN but not MVN are required for inhibition of some viruses.
Project description: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:Carbohydrate-binding agents (CBAs) are potential HIV microbicidal agents with a high genetic barrier to resistance. We wanted to evaluate whether two mannose-specific CBAs, recognizing multiple and often distinct glycan structures on the HIV envelope gp120, can interact synergistically against HIV-1, HIV-2, and HIV-1 strains that were selected for resistance against particular CBAs [i.e., 2G12 mAb and microvirin (MVN)]. Paired CBA/CBA combinations mainly showed synergistic activity against both wild-type HIV-1 and HIV-2 but also 2G12 mAb- and MVN-resistant HIV-1 strains as based on the median effect principle with combination indices (CIs) ranging between 0.29 and 0.97. Upon combination, an increase in antiviral potency of griffithsin (GRFT) up to ∼12-fold (against HIV-1), ∼8-fold (against HIV-2), and ∼6-fold (against CBA-resistant HIV-1) was observed. In contrast, HHA/GNA combinations showed additive activity against wild-type HIV-1 and HIV-2 strains, but remarkable synergy with HHA and GNA was observed against 2G12 mAb- and MVN-resistant HIV-1 strains (CI, 0.64 and 0.49, respectively). Overall, combinations of GRFT and other CBAs showed synergistic activity against HIV-1, HIV-2, and even against certain CBA-resistant HIV-1 strains. The CBAs tested appear to have distinct binding patterns on the gp120 envelope and therefore do not necessarily compete with each other's glycan binding sites on gp120. As a result, there might be no steric hindrance between two different CBAs in their competition for glycan binding (except for the HHA/GNA combination). These data are encouraging for the use of paired CBA combinations in topical microbicide applications (e.g., creams, gels, or intravaginal rings) to prevent HIV transmission.
Project description:Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is a cyanobacterial lectin that binds to specific oligomannoses on the surface of gp120, resulting in nanomolar antiviral activity against HIV. In its monomeric form, CV-N contains two functional carbohydrate-binding domains, A and B. When refolded at high concentration, the protein can form a domain-swapped dimer. To clarify the role of multiple-binding sites in CV-N, we previously designed a monomeric mutant, P51G-m4-CVN, in which the binding site on domain A was rendered ineffective by four mutations (m4); in addition, a hinge region mutation (P51G) hinders the formation of a domain swapped dimer. The protein bound gp120 with diminished affinity and was completely inactive against HIV. Here, we present two mutants, DeltaQ50-m4-CVN and S52P-m4-CVN, which fold exclusively as domain-swapped dimers while containing the four mutations that abolish domain A. The dimers contain two intact B domains, thus restoring multivalency. DeltaQ50-m4-CVN and S52P-m4-CVN bind gp120 at low-nanomolar concentrations and recover in part the antiviral activity of wt CV-N. These results indicate that the number of carbohydrate binding domains, rather than their identity, is crucial to CV-N functionality.
Project description:Microvirin (MVN), a recently isolated lectin from the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa PCC7806, shares 33% identity with the potent anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protein cyanovirin-N (CV-N) isolated from Nostoc ellipsosporum, and both lectins bind to similar carbohydrate structures. MVN is able to inhibit infection by a wide variety of HIV-1 laboratory-adapted strains and clinical isolates of different tropisms and subtypes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. MVN also inhibits syncytium formation between persistently HIV-1-infected T cells and uninfected CD4(+) T cells and inhibits DC-SIGN-mediated HIV-1 binding and transmission to CD4(+) T cells. Long term passaging of HIV-1 exposed to dose-escalating concentrations of MVN resulted in the selection of a mutant virus with four deleted high mannose-type glycans in the envelope gp120. The MVN-resistant virus was still highly sensitive to various other carbohydrate binding lectins (e.g. CV-N, HHA, GNA, and UDA) but not anymore to the carbohydrate-specific 2G12 monoclonal antibody. Importantly, MVN is more than 50-fold less cytotoxic than CV-N. Also in sharp contrast to CV-N, MVN did not increase the level of the activation markers CD25, CD69, and HLA-DR in CD4(+) T lymphocytes, and subsequently, MVN did not enhance viral replication in pretreated peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Therefore, MVN may qualify as a useful lectin for potential microbicidal use based on its broad and potent antiviral activity and virtual lack of any stimulatory properties and cellular toxicity.
Project description:Cyanovirin-N (CVN) is an 11 kDa pseudosymmetric cyanobacterial lectin that has been shown to inhibit infection by the human immunodeficiency virus by binding to high-mannose oligosaccharides on the surface of the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120. In this work, we describe rationally designed CVN variants that stabilize the protein fold while maintaining high affinity and selectivity for their glycan targets. Poisson-Boltzmann calculations and protein repacking algorithms were used to select stabilizing mutations in the protein core. By substituting the buried polar side chains of Ser11, Ser20, and Thr61 with aliphatic groups, we stabilized CVN by nearly 12 °C against thermal denaturation, and by 1 M GuaHCl against chemical denaturation, relative to a previously characterized stabilized mutant. Glycan microarray binding experiments confirmed that the specificity profile of carbohydrate binding is unperturbed by the mutations and is identical for all variants. In particular, the variants selectively bound glycans containing the Man?(1?2)Man linkage, which is the known minimal binding unit of CVN. We also report the slow denaturation kinetics of CVN and show that they can complicate thermodynamic analysis; in particular, the unfolding of CVN cannot be described as a fixed two-state transition. Accurate thermodynamic parameters are needed to describe the complicated free energy landscape of CVN, and we provide updated values for CVN unfolding.
Project description:Cyanovirin-N (CVN), a cyanobacterial lectin, exemplifies a class of antiviral agents that inhibit HIV by binding to the highly glycosylated envelope protein gp120. Here, we investigate the energetics of glycan recognition using a computationally inexpensive flexible docking approach, backbone perturbation docking (BP-Dock). We benchmarked our method using two mutants of CVN: P51G-m4-CVN, which binds dimannose with high affinity through domain B, and CVN((mutDB)), in which binding to domain B has been abolished through mutation of five polar residues to small nonpolar side chains. We investigated the energetic contribution of these polar residues along with the additional position 53 by docking dimannose to single-point CVN mutant models. Analysis of the docking simulations indicated that the E41A/G and T57A mutations led to a significant decrease in binding energy scores due to rearrangements of the hydrogen-bond network that reverberated throughout the binding cavity. N42A decreased the binding score to a level comparable to that of CVN((mutDB)) by affecting the integrity of the local protein structure. In contrast, N53S resulted in a high binding energy score, similar to P51G-m4-CVN. Experimental characterization of the five mutants by NMR spectroscopy confirmed the binding affinity pattern predicted by BP-Dock. Despite their mostly conserved fold and stability, E41A, E41G, and T57A displayed dissociation constants in the millimolar range. N53S showed a binding constant in the low micromolar range, similar to that observed for P51G-m4-CVN. No binding was observed for N42A. Our results show that BP-Dock is a useful tool for rapidly screening the relative binding affinity pattern of in silico-designed mutants compared with wild-type, supporting its use to design novel mutants with enhanced binding properties.
Project description:The gp120/gp41 HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) is highly glycosylated, with up to 50% of its mass consisting of N-linked glycans. This dense carbohydrate coat has emerged as a promising vaccine target, with its glycans acting as epitopes for a number of potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). Characterizing the glycan structures present on native HIV-1 Env is thus a critical goal for the design of Env immunogens. In this study, we used a complementary, multistep approach involving ion mobility mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography to comprehensively characterize the glycan structures present on HIV-1 gp120 produced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The capacity of different expression systems, including pseudoviral particles and recombinant cell surface trimers, to reproduce native-like glycosylation was then assessed. A population of oligomannose glycans on gp120 was reproduced across all expression systems, supporting this as an intrinsic property of Env that can be targeted for vaccine design. In contrast, Env produced in HEK 293T cells failed to accurately reproduce the highly processed complex-type glycan structures observed on PBMC-derived gp120, and in particular the precise linkage of sialic acid residues that cap these glycans. Finally, we show that unlike for gp120, the glycans decorating gp41 are mostly complex-type sugars, consistent with the glycan specificity of bnAbs that target this region. These findings provide insights into the glycosylation of native and recombinant HIV-1 Env and can be used to inform strategies for immunogen design and preparation.Development of an HIV vaccine is desperately needed to control new infections, and elicitation of HIV bnAbs will likely be an important component of an effective vaccine. Increasingly, HIV bnAbs are being identified that bind to the N-linked glycans coating the HIV envelope glycoproteins gp120 and gp41, highlighting them as important targets for vaccine design. It is therefore important to characterize the glycan structures present on native, virion-associated gp120 and gp41 for development of vaccines that accurately mimic native-Env glycosylation. In this study, we used a number of analytical techniques to precisely study the structures of both the oligomannose and complex-type glycans present on native Env to provide a reference for determining the ability of potential HIV immunogens to accurately replicate the glycosylation pattern on these native structures.
Project description:Introduction: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a debilitating challenge and concern worldwide. Accessibility to highly active antiretroviral drugs is little or none for developing countries. Production of cost-effective microbicides to prevent the infection with HIV is a requirement. Cyanovirin-N (CVN) is known as a promising cyanobacterial lectin, capable of inhibiting the HIV cell entry in a highly specific manner. Methods: This review article presents an overview of attempts conducted on different expression systems for the recombinant production of CVN. We have also assessed the potential of the final recombinant product, as an effective anti-HIV microbicide, comparing prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems. Results: Artificial production of CVN is a challenging task because the desirable anti-HIV activity (CVN-gp120 interaction) depends on the correct formation of disulfide bonds during recombinant production. Thus, inexpensive and functional production of rCVN requires an effective expression system which must be found among the bacteria, yeast, and transgenic plants, for the subsequent satisfying medical application. Moreover, the strong anti-HIV potential of CVN in trace concentrations (micromolar to picomolar) was reported for the in vitro and in vivo tests. Conclusion: To produce pharmaceutically effective CVN, we first need to identify the best expression system, with Escherichia coli, Pichia pastoris , Lactic acid bacteria and transgenic plants being possible candidates. For this reason, heterologous production of this valuable protein is a serious challenge. Since different obstacles influence clinical trials on microbicides in the field of HIV prevention, these items should be considered for evaluating the CVN activity in pre-clinical and clinical studies.
Project description:The HIV-1 envelope gp160 glycoprotein (Env) is a trimer of gp120 and gp41 heterodimers that mediates cell entry and is the primary target of the humoral immune response. Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to HIV-1 have revealed multiple epitopes or sites of vulnerability, but mapping of most of these sites is incomplete owing to a paucity of structural information on the full epitope in the context of the Env trimer. Here, a crystal structure of the soluble BG505 SOSIP gp140 trimer at 4.6 Å resolution with the bNAbs 8ANC195 and PGT128 reveals additional interactions in comparison to previous antibody-gp120 structures. For 8ANC195, in addition to previously documented interactions with gp120, a substantial interface with gp41 is now elucidated that includes extensive interactions with the N637 glycan. Surprisingly, removal of the N637 glycan did not impact 8ANC195 affinity, suggesting that the antibody has evolved to accommodate this glycan without loss of binding energy. PGT128 indirectly affects the N262 glycan by a domino effect, in which PGT128 binds to the N301 glycan, which in turn interacts with and repositions the N262 glycan, thereby illustrating the important role of neighboring glycans on epitope conformation and stability. Comparisons with other Env trimer and gp120 structures support an induced conformation for glycan N262, suggesting that the glycan shield is allosterically modified upon PGT128 binding. These complete epitopes of two broadly neutralizing antibodies on the Env trimer can now be exploited for HIV-1 vaccine design.