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J Virol. 1994 Feb;68(2):674-80.

Resistance to neutralization by broadly reactive antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp120 glycoprotein conferred by a gp41 amino acid change.

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  • 1Division of Human Retrovirology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


A neutralization-resistant variant of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) that emerged during in vitro propagation of the virus in the presence of neutralizing serum from an infected individual has been described. A threonine-for-alanine substitution at position 582 in the gp41 transmembrane envelope glycoprotein of the variant virus was responsible for the neutralization-resistant phenotype (M.S. Reitz, Jr., C. Wilson, C. Naugle, R. C. Gallo, and M. Robert-Guroff, Cell 54:57-63, 1988). The mutant virus also exhibited reduced sensitivity to neutralization by 30% of HIV-1-positive sera that neutralized the parental virus, suggesting that a significant fraction of the neutralizing activity within these sera can be affected by the amino acid change in gp41 (C. Wilson, M. S. Reitz, Jr., K. Aldrich, P. J. Klasse, J. Blomberg, R. C. Gallo, and M. Robert-Guroff, J. Virol. 64:3240-3248, 1990). It is shown here that the change of alanine 582 to threonine specifically confers resistance to neutralizing by antibodies directed against both groups of discontinuous, conserved epitopes related to the CD4 binding site on the gp120 exterior envelope glycoprotein. Only minor differences in binding of these antibodies to wild-type and mutant envelope glycoproteins were observed. Thus, the antigenic structure of gp120 can be subtly affected by an amino acid change in gp41, with important consequences for sensitivity to neutralization.

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