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J Immunol Methods. 2004 Apr;287(1-2):49-65.

Analysis of the HIV-1 gp41 specific immune response using a multiplexed antibody detection assay.

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Vaccine and Biologics Research, Merck Research Laboratories, WYN-2, MRL-Wayne, 466 Devon Park Drive, Wayne, PA 19087-8630, USA.


A fluorescence-based, multiplexed, antibody-binding and mapping assay was developed to characterize antibody responses in HIV-1-infected individuals to the ectodomain of the HIV-1 gp41 envelope glycoprotein. The antigen panel included intact recombinant gp41, the fusion peptide region, the polar region, the N-heptad region, the C-heptad region as well as overlapping epitopes in the 2F5 and 4E10 monoclonal antibody-binding regions. The panel included both native and constrained peptides specifically designed to mimic putative gp41 prefusion and fusion intermediates. The results of these analyses revealed a broad pattern of immune responses against the test antigens, suggesting that none of these gp41 regions are immunologically silent. The HIV-1-positive sera were also evaluated using infectivity inhibition assays. No correlation was evident between the breadth or magnitude of specific anti-gp41 reactivities and virus neutralization potency. These evaluations demonstrated the substantial potential of the multiplexed antibody binding and mapping assay for rapid and sensitive analysis of complex antibody responses.

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