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Biochemistry. 2003 Mar 25;42(11):3214-23.

HIV-1 vaccine development: constrained peptide immunogens show improved binding to the anti-HIV-1 gp41 MAb.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Systems, Merck Research Laboratories, P.O. Box 4, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486, USA. michael_bogusky@merck.com

Abstract

The human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) transmembrane glycoprotein gp41 mediates viral entry through fusion of the target cellular and viral membranes. A segment of gp41 containing the sequence Glu-Leu-Asp-Lys-Trp-Ala has previously been identified as the epitope of the HIV-1 neutralizing human monoclonal antibody 2F5 (MAb 2F5). The 2F5 epitope is highly conserved among HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins. Antibodies directed at the 2F5 epitope have neutralizing effects on a broad range of laboratory-adapted HIV-1 variants and primary isolates. Recently, a crystal structure of the epitope bound to the Fab fragment of MAb 2F5 has shown that the 2F5 peptide adopts a beta-turn conformation [Pai, E. F., Klein, M. H., Chong, P., and Pedyczak, A. (2000) World Intellectual Property Organization Patent WO-00/61618]. We have designed cyclic peptides to adopt beta-turn conformations by the incorporation of a side-chain to side-chain lactam bridge between the i and i + 4 residues containing the Asp-Lys-Trp segment. Synthesis of extended, nonconstrained peptides encompassing the 2F5 epitope revealed that the 13 amino acid sequence, Glu-Leu-Leu-Glu-Leu-Asp-Lys-Trp-Ala-Ser-Leu-Trp-Asn, maximized MAb 2F5 binding. Constrained analogues of this sequence were explored to optimize 2F5 binding affinity. The solution conformations of the constrained peptides have been characterized by NMR spectroscopy and molecular modeling techniques. The results presented here demonstrate that both inclusion of the lactam constraint and extension of the 2F5 segment are necessary to elicit optimal antibody binding activity. The ability of these peptide immunogens to stimulate a high titer, peptide-specific immune response incapable of viral neutralization is discussed in regard to developing an HIV-1 vaccine designed to elicit a 2F5-like immune response.

PMID:
12641452
DOI:
10.1021/bi026952u
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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