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Biochemistry. 1997 Jul 15;36(28):8619-27.

Conformation of the principal neutralizing determinant of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in complex with an anti-gp120 virus neutralizing antibody studied by two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance difference spectroscopy.

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Department of Structural Biology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


The principal neutralizing determinant (PND) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is located in the third hypervariable region (V3) of the virus envelope glycoprotein gp120. The conformation of a V3 peptide of HIV-1IIIB bound to the Fab fragment of an anti-gp120 HIV neutralizing antibody, 0.5beta, was studied by 1H NMR spectroscopy. This 18-residue peptide represents the epitope recognized by 0.5beta and encompasses most of the PND. The slow off-rate of the peptide prevents the observation of peptide/Fab interactions as well as intramolecular interactions within the bound peptide by transferred nuclear Overhauser enhancement (TRNOE). To detect and assign interactions within the bound peptide in the 52 kDa complex, NOESY difference spectra were measured using three strategies: (a) deuteration of peptide residues, (b) Arg two head right arrow Lys replacements, and (c) truncation of the peptide antigen. Each difference spectrum was calculated between NOESY spectra measured for two Fab complexes in which the bound peptides differed in their deuteration or in their sequence. The difference spectra revealed numerous interactions between the N-terminus of the epitope (Arg-4, Lys-5, Ser-6, Ile-7, and Ile-9) and its C-terminus (Phe-17, Val-18, Thr-19, and Ile-20). The assigned NOE interactions within the bound peptide were translated into distance restraints that were used to calculate the conformation of the bound peptide by the hybrid distance geometry/simulated annealing method. A total of 39 long-range (residues i - j >> 4), 14 short-range, and 69 intraresidue NOE interactions within the bound peptide have been assigned. Twelve structures without NOE constraint violations were obtained, having a 1.6 A rms deviation for the backbone atoms. The peptide forms a 10-residue loop, while the two segments flanking this loop, KSI and VTI, interact extensively with each other and possibly form antiparallel beta-strands. This loop conformation could be observed due to the unusual large size (17 residues) of the antigenic determinant recognized by 0.5beta.

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