Molecular Medicine Israel

HIV's shape-shifting envelope protein

HIV’s envelope protein (Env) coats virus particles and allows HIV to enter host cells. HIV entry is highly dynamic. Env proteins work in groups of three (called trimers), which bind to the viral receptor and co-receptor, both expressed by host cells. Viral receptor binding causes a structural rearrangement in the trimer that allows for co-receptor binding and finally, viral entry. To visualize dynamic changes in Env conformation during viral entry, Munro et al. added differently colored fluorescent tags to two different regions of individual HIV trimers. Single-molecule fluorescence resonance entry transfer revealed three distinct Env conformations before cell entry. Occupation of particular conformations depended on host receptor binding….

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