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J Virol. 1998 Dec;72(12):10213-7.

A conformation-specific monoclonal antibody reacting with fusion-active gp41 from the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope glycoprotein.

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  • 1Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, New York Blood Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The gp41 subunit of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein plays a major role in the membrane fusion step of viral infection. The ectodomain of gp41 contains a six-helix structural domain that likely represents the core of the fusion-active conformation of the molecule. A monoclonal antibody (MAb), designated NC-1, was generated and cloned from a mouse immunized with the model polypeptide N36(L6)C34, which folds into a stable six-helix bundle. NC-1 binds specifically to both the alpha-helical core domain and the oligomeric forms of gp41. This conformation-dependent reactivity is dramatically reduced by point mutations within the N-terminal coiled-coil region of gp41 which impede formation of the gp41 core. NC-1 binds to the surfaces of HIV-1-infected cells only in the presence of soluble CD4. These results indicate that NC-1 is capable of reacting with fusion-active gp41 in a conformation-specific manner and can be used as a valuable biological reagent for studying the receptor-induced conformational changes in gp41 required for membrane fusion and HIV-1 infection.

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