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The Journal of biological chemistry

Peptides from second extracellular loop of C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) inhibit diverse strains of HIV-1.


PMID 22403408

Abstract

To initiate HIV entry, the HIV envelope protein gp120 must engage its primary receptor CD4 and a coreceptor CCR5 or CXCR4. In the absence of a high resolution structure of a gp120-coreceptor complex, biochemical studies of CCR5 have revealed the importance of its N terminus and second extracellular loop (ECL2) in binding gp120 and mediating viral entry. Using a panel of synthetic CCR5 ECL2-derived peptides, we show that the C-terminal portion of ECL2 (2C, comprising amino acids Cys-178 to Lys-191) inhibit HIV-1 entry of both CCR5- and CXCR4-using isolates at low micromolar concentrations. In functional viral assays, these peptides inhibited HIV-1 entry in a CD4-independent manner. Neutralization assays designed to measure the effects of CCR5 ECL2 peptides when combined with either with the small molecule CD4 mimetic NBD-556, soluble CD4, or the CCR5 N terminus showed additive inhibition for each, indicating that ECL2 binds gp120 at a site distinct from that of N terminus and acts independently of CD4. Using saturation transfer difference NMR, we determined the region of CCR5 ECL2 used for binding gp120, showed that it can bind to gp120 from both R5 and X4 isolates, and demonstrated that the peptide interacts with a CD4-gp120 complex in a similar manner as to gp120 alone. As the CCR5 N terminus-gp120 interactions are dependent on CD4 activation, our data suggest that gp120 has separate binding sites for the CCR5 N terminus and ECL2, the ECL2 binding site is present prior to CD4 engagement, and it is conserved across CCR5- and CXCR4-using strains. These peptides may serve as a starting point for the design of inhibitors with broad spectrum anti-HIV activity.

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