Numerous studies of the anti-HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein 41 (gp41) broadly neutralizing antibody 4E10 suggest that 4E10 also interacts with membrane lipids, but the antibody regions contacting lipids and its orientation with respect to the viral membrane are unknown. Vaccine immunogens capable of re-eliciting these membrane proximal external region (MPER)-like antibodies may require a lipid component to be successful. We performed a systematic crystallographic study of lipid binding to 4E10 to identify lipids bound by the antibody and the lipid-interacting regions. We identified phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylglycerol, and glycerol phosphate as specific ligands for 4E10 in the crystal structures. 4E10 used its CDRH1 loop to bind the lipid head groups, while its CDRH3 interacted with the hydrophobic lipid tails. Identification of the lipid binding sites on 4E10 may aid design of immunogens for vaccines that include a lipid component in addition to the MPER on gp41 for generation of broadly neutralizing antibodies.
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