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J Mol Biol. 2004 Apr 23;338(2):311-27.

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1-neutralizing monoclonal antibody 2F5 is multispecific for sequences flanking the DKW core epitope.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6.


Human monoclonal antibody 2F5 is one of a few human antibodies that neutralize a broad range of HIV-1 primary isolates. The 2F5 epitope on gp41 includes the sequence ELDKWA, with the core residues, DKW, being critical for antibody binding. HIV-neutralizing antibodies have never been elicited by immunization with peptides bearing ELDKWA, suggesting that important part(s) of the 2F5 paratope remain unidentified. The use of longer peptides extending beyond ELDKWA has resulted in increased epitope antigenicity, but neutralizing antibodies have not been generated. We sought to develop peptides that bind to 2F5, and that function as specific probes of the 2F5 paratope. Thus, we used 2F5 to screen a set of phage-displayed, random peptide libraries. Tight-binding clones from the random peptide libraries displayed sequence variability in the regions flanking the DKW motif. To further reveal flanking regions involved in 2F5 binding, two semi-defined libraries were constructed having 12 variegated residues either N-terminal or C-terminal to the DKW core (X(12)-AADKW and AADKW-X(12), respectively). Three clones isolated from the AADKW-X(12) library had similar high affinities, despite a lack of sequence homology among them, or with gp41. The contribution of each residue of these clones to 2F5 binding was evaluated by Ala substitution and amino acid deletion studies, and revealed that each clone bound 2F5 by a different mechanism. These results suggest that the 2F5 paratope is formed by at least two functionally distinct regions: one that displays specificity for the DKW core epitope, and another that is multispecific for sequences C-terminal to the core epitope. The implications of this second, multispecific region of the 2F5 paratope for its unique biological function are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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