Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 52, Issue 22, pp 3074–3088

Molecular motions and conformational transition between different conformational states of HIV-1 gp120 envelope glycoprotein

Articles Biophysics

DOI: 10.1007/s11434-007-0478-4

Cite this article as:
Liu, S., Fu, Y. & Liu, C. Chin. Sci. Bull. (2007) 52: 3074. doi:10.1007/s11434-007-0478-4


The HIV-1 gp120 exterior envelope glycoprotein undergoes a series of conformational rearrangements while sequentially interacting with the receptor CD4 and coreceptor CCR5 or CXCR4 on the surface of host cells to initiate virus entry. Both the crystal structures of the HIV-1 gp120 core bound by the CD4 and antigen 17b and the SIV gp120 core pre-bound by CD4 are known. Despite the wealth of knowledge on these static snapshots of molecular conformations, the details of molecular motions involved in conformational transition that are crucial to intervention remain elusive. We presented comprehensive comparative analyses of the dynamics behaviors of the gp120 in its CD4-complexed, CD4-free and CD4-unliganded states based on the homology models with modeled V3 and V4 loops by means of CONCOORD computer simulation to generate ensembles of feasible protein structures that were subsequently analysed by essential dynamics analyses to identify preferred concerted motions. The revealed collective fluctuations are dominated by complex modes of combinational motions of the rotation/twisting, flexing/closure, and shortness/elongation between or within the inner, outer, and bridging-sheet domains, and these modes are related to the CD4 association and HIV neutralization avoidance. Further essential subspace overlap analyses were performed to quantitatively distinguish the preference for conformational transitions between the three states, revealing that the unliganded gp120 has a greater potential to translate its conformation into the conformational state adopted by the CD4-complexed gp120 than by the CD4-free gp120, whereas the CD4-free gp120 has a greater potential to translate its conformation into the unliganded state than the CD4-complexed gp120 does. These dynamics data of gp120 in its different conformations are helpful in understanding the relationship between the molecular motion/conformational transition and the function of gp120, and in gp120-structure-based subunit vaccine design.


HIV-1 gp120 comparative modeling conformational transition essential dynamics essential subspace overlap 

Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-resourcesYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  2. 2.Human Genetics Centerthe University of Texas Health Science CenterHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Modern Biology CenterYunnan UniversityKunmingChina

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