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Furin cleavage of the HIV envelope glycoprotein is an essential step for cell entry that enables formation of well-folded, native-like glycosylated trimers, releases constraints on the fusion peptide, and limits enzymatic processing of the N-glycan shield. Here, we show that a cleavage-independent, stabilized, soluble Env trimer mimic (BG505 NFL.664) exhibits a "closed-form", native-like, prefusion conformation akin to furin-cleaved Env trimers. The crystal structure of BG505 NFL.664 at 3.39 Å resolution with two potent bNAbs also identifies the full epitopes of PGV19 and PGT122 that target the receptor binding site and N332 supersite, respectively. Quantitative site-specific analysis of the glycan shield reveals that native-like glycan processing is maintained despite furin-independent maturation in the secretory pathway. Thus, cleavage-independent NFL Env trimers exhibit quaternary protein and carbohydrate structures similar to the native viral spike that further validate their potential as vaccine immunogen candidates.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41467-018-04272-y

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Commun

Publication Date

16/05/2018

Volume

9