Peptide ligands selected with CD4-induced epitopes on native dualtropic HIV-1 envelope proteins mimic extracellular coreceptor domains and bind to HIV-1 gp120 independently of coreceptor usage
Authors: Dervillez X, Klaukien V, Dürr R, Koch J, Kreutz A, Haarmann T, Stoll M, Lee D, Carlomagno T, Schnierle B, Möbius K, Königs C, Griesinger C, Dietrich U
CellNetworks People: Carlomagno Teresa
Journal: J Virol. 2010 Oct;84(19):10131-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00165-10

During HIV-1 entry, binding of the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 to the cellular CD4 receptor triggers conformational changes resulting in exposure of new epitopes, the highly conserved CD4-induced (CD4i) epitopes that are essential for subsequent binding to chemokine receptor CCR5 or CXCR4. Due to their functional conservation, CD4i epitopes represent attractive viral targets for HIV-1 entry inhibition. The aim of the present study was to select peptide ligands for CD4i epitopes on native dualtropic (R5X4) HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoproteins by phage display. Using CD4-activated retroviral particles carrying Env from the R5X4 HIV-1 89.6 strain as the target, we performed screenings of random peptide phage libraries under stringent selection conditions. Selected peptides showed partial identity with amino acids in the extracellular domains of CCR5/CXCR4, including motifs rich in tyrosines and aspartates at the N terminus known to be important for gp120 binding. A synthetic peptide derivative (XD3) corresponding to the most frequently selected phages was optimized for Env binding on peptide arrays. Interestingly, the optimized peptide could bind specifically to gp120 derived from HIV-1 strains with different coreceptor usage, competed with binding of CD4i-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb) 17b, and interfered with entry of both a CCR5 (R5)-tropic and a CXCR4 (X4)-tropic Env pseudotyped virus. This peptide ligand therefore points at unique properties of CD4i epitopes shared by gp120 with different coreceptor usage and could thus serve to provide new insight into the conserved structural details essential for coreceptor binding for further drug development.