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Arch Virol. 1992;126(1-4):11-20.

An O-linked carbohydrate neutralization epitope of HIV-1 gp 120 is expressed by HIV-1 env gene recombinant vaccinia virus.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark.


Previous studies have disagreed about the presence of O-linked carbohydrate epitopes on gp 120 of HIV, although antibodies against short-chain O-linked glycans neutralize HIV infection and block syncytium formation in vitro. To settle this question, we analysed the O-linked glycans of gp 120 by chemical methods using purified HIV-1 gp 120 from cells infected with recombinant vaccinia virus solely expressing gp 160 or gp 120. Alkaline borohydride degradation of recombinant gp 120 released monosaccharides and also slightly larger structures (di/trisaccharides) by a beta-elimination, confirming the presence of simple O-linked oligosaccharides. The functional activity as neutralisation epitopes of the O-linked oligosaccharides expressed on recombinant gp 120 was preserved, since fusion between uninfected CD4+ cells and cells infected with recombinant vaccinia was blocked by monoclonal antibodies to the O-linked oligosaccharides of gp 120. Although the mechanism for HIV induction of O-linked oligosaccharide neoantigens is unknown, these results indicate that the O-linked neutralization epitopes are inherent to the glycoprotein itself, and that the unusual appearance of simple O-linked oligosaccharides on gp 120 is independent of any interaction between the host cell and retroviral genes other than env.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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