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Mol Immunol. 1994 Oct;31(15):1149-60.

Structural characterization of broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies against the CD4 binding site of HIV-1 gp120.

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Division of Human Retrovirology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


The human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) 15e and 21h are derived from HIV-1-infected individuals. They block CD4 binding, recognize conformation-dependent discontinuous epitopes on gp120 and neutralize a broad range of laboratory strains and primary isolates of HIV-1. To determine if a structural basis for neutralization could be identified, analysis of these CD4-binding site anti-gp120 human mAbs was performed, common features and differences were identified and a comparison was made with F105, a previously reported CD4-binding site anti-gp120 human mAb. The 15e and 21h mAb heavy chains are derived from different V region genes, i.e. V2-1 and VDP-35, which are members of the VHIV and VHIII families, respectively. Analysis of the genes encoding the heavy chain complementarity determining region (CDR) 3 revealed that both mAbs show a long DH segment of similar size that could arise from D-D fusions of the dxp1/dlr1 and daudi/d22-12 germline DH genes along with use of the JH6 and JH5 germline segments. Similarly, the 15e and 21h light chains are derived from different V region genes, i.e. Hum01/012 and Hum1v318, that are members of the V kappa I and V lambda IIIa gene families, respectively. These V genes are rearranged with J kappa 1 and J lambda 2 germline genes. For both mAbs, the pattern of replacement mutations in the V region genes of the heavy and light chains is consistent with a process of somatic mutation and antigen-driven clonal selection. By comparing the CDRs of 15e, 21h and F105, eight positions in the rearranged heavy chains and two positions in the rearranged light chains were found to have identical amino acids. These studies suggest that there is no absolute restriction in the use of V region germline genes and form the foundation for understanding the humoral immune response to the CD4-binding site of gp120.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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