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Nat Biotechnol. 1997 Jun;15(6):547-51.

Peptide mimicry of carbohydrate epitopes on human immunodeficiency virus.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6082, USA.


Cancer-related, mucin-type carbohydrate epitopes, principally mannose and sialo-syl residues, are expressed on the envelope protein gp 160 of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Anticarbohydrate antibodies directed toward these and other carbohydrate epitopes are known to neutralize HIV-1 infection by cell-free virus. Carbohydrates, however, being T cell-independent antigens, typically elicit diminished immune responses. To overcome this potential draw back, we have examined the ability of peptides that mimic such epitopes to elicit immune responses that cross-react with carbohydrate structures. We report that mouse polyclonal antisera generated against peptides that mimic mucin-related carbohydrate epitopes have anti-HIV-1 activity. Generation of antibodies was not lr-gene restricted, as at least two different strains of mice. Balb/c (H-2d) and C57Bl/6 (H-2b), responded equally to the peptides. The antipeptide sera displayed neutralizing activity against HIV-I/MN and HIV-I/3B viral strains. This neutralization was as good as human anti-HIV sera. These results indicate that peptide mimics of carbohydrates provide a novel strategy for the further development of reagents that elicit immune responses to carbohydrate epitopes associated with many infectious organisms and tumor cells.

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