Sequestering of the prehairpin intermediate of gp41 by peptide N36Mut(e,g) potentiates the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 neutralizing activity of monoclonal antibodies directed against the N-terminal helical repeat of gp41

J Virol. 2008 Oct;82(20):10032-41. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01050-08. Epub 2008 Jul 30.


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) neutralization can be effected by several classes of inhibitors that target distinct regions of gp41 that are accessible in the prehairpin intermediate (PHI) state and block the formation of the six-helix bundle (6-HB) conformation of gp41. The N-heptad repeat (N-HR) of gp41 is the site of action of two classes of inhibitors. One class binds to the trimeric N-HR coiled coil, while the other, exemplified by the peptide N36(Mut(e,g)), disrupts the trimer and sequesters the PHI through the formation of heterotrimers. We recently reported a neutralizing Fab (Fab 3674), selected from a nonimmune phage library, that binds to the trimeric N-HR coiled coil through an epitope that remains exposed in the 6-HB and is also present in heterotrimers of the N-HR and N36(Mut(e,g)) peptide. Here we show that N36(Mut(e,g)) prolongs the temporal window during which the virus is susceptible to neutralization by the bivalent Fab 3674 and that bivalent Fab 3674 and N36(Mut(e,g)) neutralize HXB2 and SF162 strains of HIV-1, as well as isolates of diverse primary B and C HIV-1 strains, synergistically in a Env-pseudotyped virus neutralization assay. N36(Mut(e,g)) also rescues neutralizing activity of Fab 3674 against resistant virus strains and renders a series of related nonneutralizing Fabs neutralizing. Moreover, N36(Mut(e,g)) exhibits the same effects on the broadly neutralizing 2F5 and 4E10 monoclonal antibodies directed against the membrane-proximal extended region of gp41. The mechanistic implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Viral / genetics
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp41 / chemistry
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp41 / genetics
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp41 / immunology*
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp41 / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / immunology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology*
  • Protein Conformation*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Epitopes
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp41
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • Peptide Fragments
  • gp41 protein, Human immunodeficiency virus 1
  • peptide N36