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Mol Membr Biol. 2006 Nov-Dec;23(6):453-65.

HIV-1, lipid rafts, and antibodies to liposomes: implications for anti-viral-neutralizing antibodies.

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Department of Vaccine Production and Delivery, Division of Retrovirology, US Military HIV Research Program, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.


The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is an enveloped virus with a lipid bilayer that contains several glycoproteins that are anchored in, or closely associated with, the membrane surface. The envelope proteins have complex interactions with the lipids both on the host cells and on the target cells. The processes of budding from host cells and entry into target cells occur at sites on the plasma membrane, known as lipid rafts, that represent specialized regions that are rich in cholesterol and sphingolipids. Although the envelope glycoproteins are antigenic molecules that potentially might be used for development of broadly neutralizing antibodies in a vaccine to HIV-1, the development of such antibodies that have broad specificities against primary field isolates of virus has been largely thwarted to date by the ability of the envelope proteins to evade the immune system through various mechanisms. In this review, the interactions of HIV-1 with membrane lipids are summarized. Liposomes are commonly used as models for understanding interactions of proteins with membrane lipids; and liposomes have also been used both as carriers for vaccines, and as antigens for induction of antibodies to liposomal lipids. The possibility is proposed that liposomal lipids, or liposome-protein combinations, could be useful as antigens for inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1.

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