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Structural Determinants for the Selective Anti-HIV-1 Activity of the All-β Alternative Conformer of XCL1. J Virol 2015 Sep;89(17):9061-7



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84938918358   9 Citations


UNLABELLED: HIV-1 replication is regulated in vivo by a complex network of cytokines and chemokines. XCL1/lymphotactin, a unique metamorphic chemokine, was recently identified as a broad-spectrum endogenous HIV-1 inhibitor that blocks viral entry via direct interaction with the gp120 envelope glycoprotein. HIV-1 inhibition by XCL1 requires access to the alternative all-β conformation, which interacts with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) but not with the specific XCL1 receptor, XCR1. To investigate the structural determinants of the HIV-inhibitory function of XCL1, we performed a detailed structure-function analysis of a stabilized all-β variant, XCL1 W55D. Individual alanine substitutions of two basic residues within the 40s' loop, K42 and R43, abrogated the ability of XCL1 to bind to the viral envelope and block HIV-1 infection; moreover, a loss of HIV-inhibitory function, albeit less marked, was seen upon individual mutation of three additional basic residues: R18, R35, and K46. In contrast, mutation of K42 to arginine did not cause any loss of function, suggesting that the interaction with gp120 is primarily electrostatic in nature. Strikingly, four of these five residues cluster to form a large (∼350 Å(2)) positively charged surface in the all-β XCL1 conformation, whereas they are dissociated in the classic chemokine fold, which is inactive against HIV-1, providing a structural basis for the selective antiviral activity of the alternatively folded XCL1. Furthermore, we observed that changes to the N-terminal domain, which is proximal to the cluster of putative HIV-1 gp120-interacting residues, also affect the antiviral activity of XCL1. Interestingly, the complement of residues involved in HIV-1 blockade is partially overlapping, but distinct from those involved in the GAG-binding function of XCL1. These data identify key structural determinants of anti-HIV activity in XCL1, providing new templates for the development of HIV-1 entry inhibitors.

IMPORTANCE: The host immune system controls HIV-1 infection through a wide array of inhibitory responses, including the induction of cytotoxic effector cells and the secretion of noncytolytic soluble antiviral factors such as cytokines and chemokines. We recently identified XCL1/lymphotactin, a chemokine primarily produced by CD8(+) T cells, as a novel endogenous factor with broad anti-HIV activity. Strikingly, only one of the two conformations that XCL1 can adopt in solution, the alternative all-β fold, mediates antiviral activity. At variance with the classic HIV-inhibitory chemokines such as CCL5/RANTES, XCL1 acts via direct interaction with the external viral envelope glycoprotein, gp120. Here, we identify the interactive surface of XCL1 that is implicated in binding to the HIV-1 envelope and HIV-1 inhibition, providing a structural basis to explain why only the all-β XCL1 conformer is effective against HIV-1. Our findings may be useful in guiding the rational design of new inhibitors of HIV-1 entry.

Author List

Guzzo C, Fox JC, Miao H, Volkman BF, Lusso P


Brian F. Volkman PhD Professor in the Biochemistry department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Amino Acid Substitution
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
Cells, Cultured
Chemokines, C
HIV Envelope Protein gp120
HIV Infections
Protein Binding
Protein Folding
Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
Structure-Activity Relationship
Virus Internalization
jenkins-FCD Prod-444 eb4ebd1a08581aba961d3befd3b851a3c3ec6b46