Functional Delineation of a Protein–Membrane Interaction Hotspot Site on the HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibody 10E8

Sara Insausti, Miguel Garcia-Porras, Johana Torralba, Izaskun Morillo, Ander Ramos-Caballero, Igor de la Arada, Beatriz Apellaniz, Jose M.M. Caaveiro, Pablo Carravilla, Christian Eggeling, Edurne Rujas, Jose L. Nieva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antibody engagement with the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) of the envelope glycoprotein (Env) of HIV-1 constitutes a distinctive molecular recognition phenomenon, the full appreciation of which is crucial for understanding the mechanisms that underlie the broad neutralization of the virus. Recognition of the HIV-1 Env antigen seems to depend on two specific features developed by antibodies with MPER specificity: (i) a large cavity at the antigen-binding site that holds the epitope amphipathic helix; and (ii) a membrane-accommodating Fab surface that engages with viral phospholipids. Thus, besides the main Fab–peptide interaction, molecular recognition of MPER depends on semi-specific (electrostatic and hydrophobic) interactions with membranes and, reportedly, on specific binding to the phospholipid head groups. Here, based on available cryo-EM structures of Fab–Env complexes of the anti-MPER antibody 10E8, we sought to delineate the functional antibody–membrane interface using as the defining criterion the neutralization potency and binding affinity improvements induced by Arg substitutions. This rational, Arg-based mutagenesis strategy revealed the position-dependent contribution of electrostatic interactions upon inclusion of Arg-s at the CDR1, CDR2 or FR3 of the Fab light chain. Moreover, the contribution of the most effective Arg-s increased the potency enhancement induced by inclusion of a hydrophobic-at-interface Phe at position 100c of the heavy chain CDR3. In combination, the potency and affinity improvements by Arg residues delineated a protein–membrane interaction site, whose surface and position support a possible mechanism of action for 10E8-induced neutralization. Functional delineation of membrane-interacting patches could open new lines of research to optimize antibodies of therapeutic interest that target integral membrane epitopes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10767
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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