National Center for
3O3Z: Complex of a chimeric alpha/beta-peptide based on the gp41 CHR domain bound to a gp41 NHR domain peptide
J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2011) 133 p.10038-10041
Infection of cells by HIV depends upon profound structural rearrangements within the trimeric viral protein gp41. Critical to this process is the formation of a six-helix bundle in which a set of three N-terminal heptad repeat (NHR) helices assemble to form a core displaying long grooves that provide docking sites for three C-terminal heptad repeat (CHR) helices. We report experiments designed to discriminate between two alternative hypotheses regarding the source of affinity between individual CHR helices and the complementary groove: (1) affinity is dominated by interactions of a small cluster of side chains at one end of the CHR helix; or (2) affinity depends upon interactions distributed across the long CHR helix. We have employed two complementary experimental designs, and results from both favor the latter hypothesis.