Antibody B4e8 exhibits modest cross-neutralizing activity, with preference for HIV subtype B. This preference might be explained by B4e8׳s extensive interaction with Arg315, which occurs at the center of most subtype B V3 sequences but is replaced by Gln in subtype C. The extent to which B4e8׳s ability to neutralize subtype C strains is hindered by Gln315 and/or other factors, e.g. epitope masking, is unclear. We confirmed here that an Arg315-to-Gln substitution in a subtype B virus abrogates B4e8 neutralizing activity. Conversely, B4e8-resistant subtype C viruses were rendered sensitive upon Gln 315-to-Arg substitution. V2 region swapping between B4e8-sensitive and- resistant subtype C strains revealed a role for V2 in limiting B4e8 access, but this was less significant than the absence of Arg315. Our findings, while illustrating the importance of Arg315 for B4e8, suggest that some subtype C strains may be vulnerable to B4e8 derivatives capable of binding stronger to Gln315-containing sequences.
Keywords: Angle of interaction; Arg315; Neutralizing antibody; Subtype C; V2 region; V3 masking.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.