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Front Microbiol. 2013 May 14;4:117. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00117. eCollection 2013.

Increased infectivity in human cells and resistance to antibody-mediated neutralization by truncation of the SIV gp41 cytoplasmic tail.

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Center for AIDS Research, Kumamoto University Kumamoto, Japan.


The role of antibodies in protecting the host from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is of considerable interest, particularly because the RV144 trial results suggest that antibodies contribute to protection. Although infection of non-human primates with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is commonly used as an animal model of HIV-1 infection, the viral epitopes that elicit potent and broad neutralizing antibodies to SIV have not been identified. We isolated a monoclonal antibody (MAb) B404 that potently and broadly neutralizes various SIV strains. B404 targets a conformational epitope comprising the V3 and V4 loops of Env that intensely exposed when Env binds CD4. B404-resistant variants were obtained by passaging viruses in the presence of increasing concentration of B404 in PM1/CCR5 cells. Genetic analysis revealed that the Q733stop mutation, which truncates the cytoplasmic tail of gp41, was the first major substitution in Env during passage. The maximal inhibition by B404 and other MAbs were significantly decreased against a recombinant virus with a gp41 truncation compared with the parental SIVmac316. This indicates that the gp41 truncation was associated with resistance to antibody-mediated neutralization. The infectivities of the recombinant virus with the gp41 truncation were 7,900-, 1,000-, and 140-fold higher than those of SIVmac316 in PM1, PM1/CCR5, and TZM-bl cells, respectively. Immunoblotting analysis revealed that the gp41 truncation enhanced the incorporation of Env into virions. The effect of the gp41 truncation on infectivity was not obvious in the HSC-F macaque cell line, although the resistance of viruses harboring the gp41 truncation to neutralization was maintained. These results suggest that viruses with a truncated gp41 cytoplasmic tail were selected by increased infectivity in human cells and by acquiring resistance to neutralizing antibody.


SIV; antibody; gp41; infectivity; neutralization; resistance; truncation

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