Co-receptor Binding Site Antibodies Enable CD4-Mimetics to Expose Conserved Anti-cluster A ADCC Epitopes on HIV-1 Envelope Glycoproteins

Jonathan Richard*, Beatriz Pacheco, Neelakshi Gohain, Maxime Veillette, Shilei Ding, Nirmin Alsahafi, William D. Tolbert, Jérémie Prévost, Jean Philippe Chapleau, Mathieu Coutu, Manxue Jia, Nathalie Brassard, Jongwoo Park, Joel R. Courter, Bruno Melillo, Loïc Martin, Cécile Tremblay, Beatrice H. Hahn, Daniel E. Kaufmann, Xueling WuAmos B. Smith, Joseph Sodroski, Marzena Pazgier, Andrés Finzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has evolved a sophisticated strategy to conceal conserved epitopes of its envelope glycoproteins (Env) recognized by antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)-mediating antibodies. These antibodies, which are present in the sera of most HIV-1-infected individuals, preferentially recognize Env in its CD4-bound conformation. Accordingly, recent studies showed that small CD4-mimetics (CD4mc) able to “push” Env into this conformation sensitize HIV-1-infected cells to ADCC mediated by HIV + sera. Here we test whether CD4mc also expose epitopes recognized by anti-cluster A monoclonal antibodies such as A32, thought to be responsible for the majority of ADCC activity present in HIV + sera and linked to decreased HIV-1 transmission in the RV144 trial. We made the surprising observation that CD4mc are unable to enhance recognition of HIV-1-infected cells by this family of antibodies in the absence of antibodies such as 17b, which binds a highly conserved CD4-induced epitope overlapping the co-receptor binding site (CoRBS). Our results indicate that CD4mc initially open the trimeric Env enough to allow the binding of CoRBS antibodies but not anti-cluster A antibodies. CoRBS antibody binding further opens the trimeric Env, allowing anti-cluster A antibody interaction and sensitization of infected cells to ADCC. Therefore, ADCC responses mediated by cluster A antibodies in HIV-positive sera involve a sequential opening of the Env trimer on the surface of HIV-1-infected cells. The understanding of the conformational changes required to expose these vulnerable Env epitopes might be important in the design of new strategies aimed at fighting HIV-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-218
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • ADCC
  • CD4
  • CD4-mimetics
  • Envelope glycoproteins
  • HIV-1
  • Non-neutralizing antibodies


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