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A sequence similarity between surface envelope glycoprotein (SU) gp135 of the lentiviruses maedi-visna virus and caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus (CAEV) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp120 has been described. The regions of sequence similarity are in the second and fifth conserved regions of gp120, and the similarity is highest in sequences coinciding with beta-strands 4 to 8 and 25, which are located in the most virion-proximal region of the gp120 inner domain. A subset of this structure, formed by gp120 beta-strands 4, 5, and 25, is conserved in most or all lentiviruses. Because of the orientation of gp120 on the virion, this highly conserved virion-proximal region of the gp120 core may interact with the transmembrane glycoprotein (TM) together with the amino and carboxy termini of full-length gp120. Therefore, interactions between SU and TM of lentiviruses may be structurally related. Here we tested whether the amino acid residues in the putative virion-proximal region of CAEV gp135 comprising putative beta-strands 4, 5, and 25, as well as its amino and carboxy termini, are important for stable interactions with TM. An amino acid change at gp135 position 119 or 521, located in the turn between putative beta-strands 4 and 5 and near beta-strand 25, respectively, specifically disrupted the epitope recognized by monoclonal antibody 29A. Thus, similar to the corresponding gp120 regions, these gp135 residues are located in close proximity to each other in the folded protein, supporting the hypothesis of a structural similarity between the gp120 virion-proximal inner domain and gp135. Amino acid changes in the amino- and carboxy-terminal and putative virion-proximal regions of gp135 increased gp135 shedding from the cell surface, indicating that these gp135 regions are involved in interactions with TM. Our results indicate structural and functional parallels between CAEV gp135 and HIV-1 gp120 that may be more broadly applicable to the SU of other lentiviruses.


Isidro Hötzel, William P Cheevers. Caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus envelope surface glycoprotein regions interacting with the transmembrane glycoprotein: structural and functional parallels with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp120. Journal of virology. 2003 Nov;77(21):11578-87

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PMID: 14557643

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