Structure-function relationships of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase determined using monoclonal antibodies

T. Restle*, M. Pawlita, G. Sczakiel, B. Muller, R. S. Goody

*Corresponding author for this work
36 Citations (Scopus)


The reverse transcriptase (RT) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is one of the main targets in approaches to the chemotherapy of AIDS. A detailed knowledge of structure-function relationships of this enzyme is a prerequisite for rational drug design. We have used monoclonal antibodies as tools to identify functionally important regions of the protein. The preparation of 23 murine monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and their different effects on the enzyme are described. The interaction of purified mAbs with HIV-1 RT was demonstrated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Western blots, and high performance liquid chromatography size exclusion chromatography. One of the antibodies also recognized recombinant HIV-2 RT. Antibody binding epitopes on HIV-1 RT were analyzed by immunoblotting using cyanogen bromide fragmented RT, C-terminally truncated mutants, and a peptide ELISA employing 15-mer synthetic overlapping peptides spanning nearly the complete polypeptide chain. The epitopes were mapped within three domains corresponding to amino acids 200-230, 300-428, and 528-560. Two mAbs show neutralizing properties on enzymatic functions of RT. One affects the polymerase activity and to a certain degree the RNase H activity of the enzyme, whereas the other inhibits the latter activity exclusively. mAb 28, which blocks the polymerase activity, interferes with the nucleotide binding region of RT, as shown by fluorescence spectroscopy using a labeled template/primer complex. By investigating the antibody effects on dimer formation of the heterodimeric enzyme, three domains corresponding to amino acids 230-300, 350-428, and residues around amino acid 540 involved in protein-protein interactions were localized.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
Pages (from-to)14654-14661
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1992


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