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Genet Vaccines Ther. 2012 Jun 20;10(1):4. doi: 10.1186/1479-0556-10-4.

Structure based sequence analysis & epitope prediction of gp41 HIV1 envelope glycoprotein isolated in Pakistan.

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University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.



Gp41 is an envelope glycoprotein of human immune deficiency virus (HIV). HIV viral glycoprotein gp41, present in complex with gp120, assists the viral entry into host cell. Over eighty thousands individuals are HIV infected in Pakistan which makes about 0.2% of 38.6 million infected patients worldwide. Hence, HIV gp41 protein sequences isolated in Pakistan were analyzed for the CD4 and CD8 T cells binding epitopes.


Immunoinformatics tools were applied for the study of variant region of HIV gp41envelope protein. The protein nature was analyzed using freely accessible computational software. About 90 gp41 sequences of Pakistani origin were aligned and variable and conserved regions were found. Four segments were found to be conserved in gp41 viral protein. A method was developed, involving the secondary structure, surface accessibility, hydrophobicity, antigenicity and molecular docking for the prediction and location of epitopes in the viral glycoprotein. Some highly conserved CD4 and CD8 binding epitopes were also found using multiple parameters. The predicted continuous epitopes mostly fall in the conserved region of 1-12; 14-22 and 25-46 and can be used as effective vaccine candidates.


The study revealed potential HIV subtype a derived cytotoxic T cell (CTL) epitopes from viral proteome of Pakistani origin. The conserved epitopes are very useful for the diagnosis of the HIV 1 subtype a. This study will also help scientists to promote research for vaccine development against HIV 1 subtype a, isolated in Pakistan.

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