During HIV-1 entry into target cells, binding of the virus to host receptors, CD4 and CCR5/CXCR4, triggers serial conformational changes in the envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimer that result in the fusion of the viral and cell membranes. Recent discoveries have refined our knowledge of Env conformational states, allowing characterization of the targets of small-molecule HIV-1 entry inhibitors and neutralizing antibodies, and identifying a novel off-pathway conformation (State 2A). Here, we provide an overview of the current understanding of these conformational states, focusing on (i) the events during HIV-1 entry; (ii) conformational preferences of HIV-1 Env ligands; (iii) evasion of the host antibody response; and (iv) potential implications for therapy and prevention of HIV-1 infection.
Keywords: ADCC; HIV-1 Env; bNAbs; conformational states; entry inhibitors; vaccine design.
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