Crystal structure of the principal neutralization site of HIV-1

Science. 1994 Apr 1;264(5155):82-5. doi: 10.1126/science.7511253.


The crystal structure of a complex between a 24-amino acid peptide from the third variable (V3) loop of human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) gp 120 and the Fab fragment of a broadly neutralizing antibody (59.1) was determined to 3 angstrom resolution. The tip of the V3 loop containing the Gly-Pro-Gly-Arg-Ala-Phe sequence adopts a double-turn conformation, which may be the basis of its conservation in many HIV-1 isolates. A complete map of the HIV-1 principal neutralizing determinant was constructed by stitching together structures of V3 loop peptides bound to 59.1 and to an isolate-specific (MN) neutralizing antibody (50.1). Structural conservation of the overlapping epitopes suggests that this biologically relevant conformation could be of use in the design of synthetic vaccines and drugs to inhibit HIV-1 entry and virus-related cellular fusion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / chemistry*
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / immunology
  • Antigen-Antibody Reactions
  • Computer Graphics
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Epitopes / chemistry
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • HIV Antibodies / chemistry*
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / chemistry*
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / immunology
  • HIV-1 / chemistry*
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / immunology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry*
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Secondary


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Epitopes
  • HIV Antibodies
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120
  • HIV envelope protein gp120 (305-321)
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • Peptide Fragments