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Human immunodeficiency viruses: neutralization and receptors.

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  • 1Institute of Cancer Research, Chester Beatty Laboratories, London, U.K.


The envelope glycoproteins of HIV, gp120 and gp41, contain epitopes recognized by neutralizing antibodies. Studies of human sera from infected individuals indicate that group-specific neutralization antigens common to most isolates of HIV-1 exist, and that some HIV-2 antisera cross-neutralize HIV-1. Neutralization epitopes for HIV-1 have been identified and mapped, including a group-specific antigen on gp41, and a type-specific antigen on gp120. Neutralization "escape" mutants have been selected in vitro with a neutralizing mab to the type-specific antigenic loop. The CD4 antigen binds HIV-1 gp120 with high affinity and acts as the receptor on human and simian T-lymphocytes and monocytes for all strains of HIV-1, HIV-2, and SIV tested. Following binding to the CD4 receptor, HIV becomes internalized by a pH-independent process. The principle binding domain for gp120 is located in the N-terminal V domain of CD4. Anti-idiotypic sera to CD4 mabs recognizing the same site weakly neutralize HIVs of many strains, and soluble, recombinant forms of CD4 strongly neutralize HIV. Neither anti-CD4 mabs nor sCD4 inhibit the low level of plating of HIV observed on tumour cells in culture of glial (brain) and muscle origin, indicating that CD4 is not essential for infection of these cell types.

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