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Int Immunol. 2000 Mar;12(3):305-12.

Mapping the B cell superantigen binding site for HIV-1 gp120 on a V(H)3 Ig.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and The Molecular Biology Institute, University of California-Los Angeles, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1732, USA.


The emerging class of B cell superantigens includes HIV-1 gp120, which binds to many members of the V(H)3 Ig gene family. The present study addresses the structural features of V(H)3 antibodies conferring gp120 binding activity using a panel of recombinant full-length and Fab Ig proteins. Binding activity was fully conferred by the Fab portion of the Ig molecule. The V(H) region was the major determinant of binding; diverse light chains were permissive for gp120 binding. A series of recombinant V(H)3-V(H)1 chimeric molecules was created to analyze the contribution of different subregions of V(H)3 to gp120 binding. Hypervariable loop 1 (H1) substitution alone caused a 10-fold reduction in binding activity. The framework subregions (FR1, FR2 and FR3) and H2 also influenced binding, since substitutions of various combinations of these subregions conferred 10- to 100-fold binding reductions. We conclude that gp120 binding occurs through a non-conventional interaction involving multiple discontinuously arrayed residues spanning the V(H), and including roles in gp120 contact and favorable conformation of the V(H).

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