Synergistic interaction between ligands binding to the CD4 binding site and V3 domain of human immunodeficiency virus type I gp120.
McKeating JA., Cordell J., Dean CJ., Balfe P.
We demonstrate that soluble CD4 (sCD4) or a monoclonal antibody (mAb), 39.13g, binding to a conformational epitope of gp120 involved in CD4 binding, and mAbs binding to the V3 domain of gp120, can synergistically neutralize human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1). In contrast, a neutralizing mAb binding to a linear epitope within the CD4 binding domain was unable to exert a synergistic effect in combination with V3 mAbs, suggesting that synergism is dependent on ligands binding to the critical, discontinuous, gp120 residues constituting the CD4 binding site. A number of V3 mAbs showed increased binding to virion gp120 in the presence of sCD4, suggesting a mechanism for the synergistic neutralization. This effect was not observed with recombinant or detergent solubilized viral gp120, suggesting that the oligomeric structure of gp120 on viral particles affects V3 epitope exposure. This hypothesis is supported by the ability of two new V3 mAbs, 8/38c and 8/64b, to only neutralize HIV-1 in the presence of sCD4 or mAb 39.13g; binding studies demonstrate that these mAbs only bind to virion gp120 in the presence of sCD4. Thus, V3 epitope exposure is modulated by the interaction of virion gp120 with ligands specific for the CD4 binding domain and results in enhanced antibody-mediated neutralization.