Sera from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected individuals from the United States and Tanzania were examined for antibody reactivity to four synthetic peptides which corresponded to the principal neutralizing determinant from the V3 region of HIV-1 gp120. We observed that the majority of sera from both countries contained antibodies reactive with a V3 peptide whose sequence is based on that of the HIV-1 MN isolate. We were unable to establish a relationship between the presence of V3-reactive antibodies, as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and neutralization of homologous HIV-1 isolates, in sera from either the United States or Tanzania. We observed that some sera which contained high antibody titers to the V3 peptides failed to neutralize HIV-1, while others with no antibody reactivity to the panel of V3 peptides exhibited in vitro neutralizing activity. These results suggest that neutralizing epitopes exist outside the V3 loop and that the presence of V3-reactive antibodies in sera does not imply in vitro neutralization of the homologous HIV-1 isolate. In addition, it appears that the V3 loop may consist of both neutralizing and nonneutralizing epitopes. The identification of neutralizing as well as nonneutralizing epitopes will be important for the design of potential HIV-1 vaccines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science