Virion envelope content, infectivity, and neutralization sensitivity of simian immunodeficiency virus

Eloísa Yuste, Welkin Johnson, George N. Pavlakis, Ronald C. Desrosiers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


A truncating E767stop mutation was introduced into the envelope glycoprotein of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) strain SIV239-M5 (moderately sensitive to antibody-mediated neutralization and lacking five sites for N-linked carbohydrate attachment) and strain SIV316 (very sensitive to neutralization, with eight amino acid changes from the neutralization-resistant parental molecular clone, SIV239). The truncating mutation increased Env content in virions, increased infectivity, and decreased sensitivity to antibody-mediated neutralization in both strains. However, the magnitude of the effect on infectivity and neutralization sensitivity differed considerably between the two strains. In the context of strain SIV239-M5, truncation increased Env content in virions approximately 10-fold and infectivity in a reporter cell assay 24-fold. The truncated SIV239-M5 was only slightly more resistant to neutralization by polyclonal monkey sera and by monoclonal antibodies than SIV239-M5 with a full-length envelope glycoprotein. In the context of strain SIV316, truncation increased infectivity a dramatic 480-fold, while envelope content in virions was increased only about 14-fold. This dramatic increase in infectivity cannot be simply explained by the increase in envelope content and is likely due to an increase in inherent infectivity, i.e., infectivity per spike, that results from truncation. The truncated SIV316 was extremely resistant to antibody-mediated neutralization. In fact, it was not neutralized by any of the antibodies tested. When increasing amounts of SIV316 envelope glycoprotein (full length) were provided in trans to SIV316, infectivity was increased and sensitivity to neutralization was decreased, but to nowhere near the degree that was obtained when truncated SIV316 envelope glycoprotein was used. Truncated forms of SIV239 and SIV239-M5 required higher levels of soluble CD4 for inhibition of infection than their nontruncated forms; truncated SIV316 did not. Our results suggest that envelope content in SIV virions, infectivity, and resistance to antibody-mediated neutralization can be increased not only by truncation of the cytoplasmic domain but also by provision of excess envelope in trans. The striking increase in infectivity that results from truncation in the context of SIV316 appears to be due principally to an increase in inherent infectivity per spike.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12455-12463
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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