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Detection of orientation-specific anti-gp120 antibodies by a new N-glycanase protection assay

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Several functions have been assigned to the extensive glycosylation of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120, especially immune escape mechanisms, but the intramolecular interactions between gp120 and its carbohydrate complement are not well understood. To analyse this phenomenon we established a new microwell deglycosylation assay for determining N-linked glycan accessibility after binding of gp120-specific agents. Orientation-specific exposition of gp120 in ELISA microplates was achieved by catching with either anti-C5 antibody D7324 or anti-V3 antibody NEA-9205. We found that soluble CD4 inhibited the deglycosylation of gp120 only when gp120 was caught by D7324 and not by NEA9205. In contrast, antibodies from HIV-infected individuals inhibited the deglycosylation best when gp120 was caught by NEA9205. These results demonstrated that both the CD4-binding site and the epitopes recognised by antibodies from HIV-infected individuals have N-glycans in the close vicinity. However, the difference in gp120 orientation indicates that antibodies in HIV-infected individuals, at least partly, bind to epitopes different from the CD4-binding site.

Finally, we determined the structural class of the glycan of one V1 glycosylation site of prototype HIV-1 LAI gp120, which remained unsolved from previous studies, and found that it belonged to the complex type of glycans.
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Keywords: HIV-1; antibody; endoglycosidase; gp120; oligosaccharide

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Clinical Virology, University of Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden and 2: Department of Infectious Diseases 144, H:S Hvidovre Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark

Publication date: February 1, 2002

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