Structural and functional studies of HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) as a transmembrane protein have long been complicated by challenges associated with inherent flexibility of the molecule and the membrane-embedded hydrophobic regions. Here, we present approaches for incorporating full-length, wild-type HIV-1 Env, as well as C-terminally truncated and stabilized versions, into lipid assemblies, providing a modular platform for Env structural studies by single particle electron microscopy. We reconstitute a full-length Env clone into a nanodisc, complex it with a membrane-proximal external region (MPER) targeting antibody 10E8, and structurally define the full quaternary epitope of 10E8 consisting of lipid, MPER, and ectodomain contacts. By aligning this and other Env-MPER antibody complex reconstructions with the lipid bilayer, we observe evidence of Env tilting as part of the neutralization mechanism for MPER-targeting antibodies. We also adapt the platform toward vaccine design purposes by introducing stabilizing mutations that allow purification of unliganded Env with a peptidisc scaffold.
Keywords: HIV-1 Env; MPER broadly neutralizing antibody; bicelle; nanodisc; peptidisc.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.