This article describes the impact of sequence variation on the distribution and seroreactivity of linear antigenic epitopes in gp120 encoded in new Ugandan HIV-1 clones from subtypes A, C, and D, and in North American clones from the B subtype. A region of the env gene encoding the C2 to V5 domains was PCR amplified from the lysates of peripheral blood leukocytes or from short-term cultured isolates. Computer-assisted analyses were conducted on the amino acid sequences to determine the distribution of surface structures in gp120. Despite marked sequence diversity, eight analogous epitopes were predicted for all clades of the virus analyzed. Synthetic peptides comprising the putative principal neutralizing determinant E2[V3], and other B cell epitopes E3[V3-V4], E4[V3-V4], E7[C3], and E8[V5], from a seroprevalent Ugandan isolate, AUG06c, were tested in ELISA for antigenicity with sera from Uganda, New York, and Thailand. Variable magnitudes of seroreactivity were observed for all of the peptides tested. However, a significantly higher degree of serum cross-reactivity was detected with the V3 loop peptide. ELISA reactivities of the same serum panel indicated that V3 loop peptides containing the apical residues GPGR (clones AUG06c and BRT3) or GPGQ (CUG045 and DUG044) were more antigenic and display extensive cross-reactivity as compared to analogous peptides comprising GLGQ (DUG23c), GQGQ (DUG042), or GPWG (BRT1). BETATURN analysis of the divergent V3 loop apical residues showed a good correlation of probable β-turn occurrence with strong seroreactivity. These findings suggest that the major antigenic specificities in the divergent clades of HIV-1 are well conserved. Serological analysis of the epitopes encoded in the variant HIV-1 isolates could complement the current search for a broadly reactive candidate vaccine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases