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Mol Immunol. 2009 Feb;46(5):917-26. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2008.09.005. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

Preferential use of the VH5-51 gene segment by the human immune response to code for antibodies against the V3 domain of HIV-1.

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Department of Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Human anti-V3 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) generated from HIV-1 infected individuals display diversity in the range of their cross-neutralization that may be related to their immunogenetic background. The study of the immunoglobulin (Ig) variable region gene usage of heavy chains have shown a preferential usage of the VH5-51 gene segment which was detected in 35% of 51 human anti-V3 mAbs. In contrast, human mAbs against other envelope regions of HIV-1 (anti-Env), including the CD4-binding domain, the CD4-induced epitope, and gp41 preferentially used the VH1-69 gene segment, and none of them used the VH5-51 gene. Furthermore, the usage of the VH4 family by anti-V3 mAbs was restricted to only one gene segment, VH4-59, while the VH3 gene family was used at a significantly lower frequency by all of the analyzed anti-HIV-1 mAbs. Multivariate analysis showed that usage of VH gene segments was significantly different between anti-V3 and anti-Env mAbs, and compared to antibodies from healthy subjects. In addition, the anti-V3 mAbs preferentially used the JH3 and D2-15 gene segments. The preferential usage of selected Ig gene segments and the characteristic pattern of Ig gene usage by anti-V3 mAbs can be related to the conserved structure of the V3 region.

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