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CD4 is the primary receptor for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The binding site for the surface glycoprotein of HIV type 1 (HIV-1), gp120, has been mapped to the C'-C" region of domain 1 of CD4. Previously, we have shown that a mutant of rat CD4, in which this region was exchanged for that of human CD4, is able to mediate infection of human cells by HIV-1, suggesting that essential interactions between HIV and CD4 are confined to this region. Our observations appeared to conflict with mutagenesis and antibody studies which implicate regions of CD4 outside the gp120-binding site in postbinding events during viral entry. In order to resolve this issue, we have utilized a panel of anti-rat CD4 monoclonal antibodies in conjunction with the rat-human chimeric CD4 to distinguish sequence-specific from steric effects. We find that several antibodies to rat CD4 inhibit HIV infection in cells expressing the chimeric CD4 and that this is probably due to steric hinderance. In addition, we demonstrate that replacement of the rat CDR3-like region with its human homolog does not increase the affinity of the rat-human chimeric CD4 for gp120 or affect the exposure of gp41 following binding to CD4, providing further evidence that this region does not play a crucial role during entry of virus.


Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





1476 - 1484


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, CD4 Antigens, Epitope Mapping, Epitopes, HIV Envelope Protein gp120, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Rats, Virus Replication