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J Virol. 1993 Jun;67(6):3639-43.

Association of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope glycoprotein with particles depends on interactions between the third variable and conserved regions of gp120.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Many regions within the envelope of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) that affect its structure and function have been identified. We have previously reported that the interaction of the second conserved (C2) and third variable (V3) regions of gp120 influences the ability of HIV-1 to establish a productive infection in susceptible cells. To better understand the basis for this interaction, we have conducted structure-function analyses of envelope expressed from molecular proviral clones of HIV-1 containing defined mutations in C2 and V3 that individually and in combination differentially affect envelope function. The substitution of a glutamine for an asparagine residue (Q-267) at a potential asparagine-linked glycosylation site in C2, which severely impairs virus infectivity, reduces intracellular processing of gp160 into gp120, the association of gp120 with virions, and the ability of gp120 to bind to the HIV-1 cell surface receptor protein, CD4. The change of an arginine to an isoleucine codon in V3 (I-308), in the presence of the Q-267 mutation, restores virus infectivity to near wild-type levels by increasing the amount of gp120 associated with virions as compared with the Q-267 mutant but does not compensate for the Q-267-induced processing defect. The I-308 change in the context of the wild-type HIV-1 has no affect on processing, association, or CD4 binding. These results indicate that the impaired infectivity of the Q-267 mutant virus is due to a marked reduction in the amount of virion gp120 and suggest that the interaction of C2 and V3 stabilizes the association of gp120 with gp41.

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