Importance of hypervariable regions of HIV-1 gp120 in the generation of virus neutralizing antibodies

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1990 Jul;6(7):855-69. doi: 10.1089/aid.1990.6.855.


Variants of the envelope gene of the HIV-SF2 isolate of HIV-1 with deletions of one or more of the hypervariable domains of gp120 were produced in genetically engineered yeast as nonglycosylated denatured polypeptide analogs of gp120. Purified antigens were used to immunize experimental animals to determine whether the removal of hypervariable regions from this type of gp120 immunogen had any effect on (1) the ability of the antigen to elicit virus neutralizing antibodies; and (2) the isolate specificity of the neutralizing antibodies that were elicited. The results of these studies demonstrate that, in addition to the previously identified V3 domain, at least two other hypervariable regions in gp120 are capable of eliciting neutralizing antibodies in experimental animals. However, when all five of the hypervariable regions were deleted, the resulting antigen was no longer capable of eliciting neutralizing antibodies. Finally, the neutralizing antibodies elicited by all of these nonglycosylated antigens were effective against HIV-SF2, the isolate from which the antigens were derived, but were not able to neutralize two divergent isolates, HIV-BRU or HIV-Zr6.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • HIV Antibodies / biosynthesis*
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology
  • HIV Antigens / immunology
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / genetics
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Mutation
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology


  • HIV Antibodies
  • HIV Antigens
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Viral Vaccines