2016 Volume 69 Issue 5 Pages 395-404
The V3 loop in the envelope (Env) of HIV-1 is one of the major targets of neutralizing antibodies. However, this antigen is hidden inside the Env trimer in most isolates and is fully exposed only during CD4-gp120 interaction. Thus, primary HIV-1 isolates are relatively resistant to anti-V3 antibodies because IgG is too large to access the V3 loop. To overcome this obstacle, we constructed single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) from anti-V3 monoclonal antibodies 0.5γ, 5G2, and 16G6. Enhanced neutralization by 0.5γ and 5G2 scFvs was observed in strains resistant to their IgG counterparts. Neutralization coverage by 0.5γ scFv reached up to 90% of the tested viruses (tier 2 and 3 classes). The temperature-regulated neutralization assay revealed that extensive cross-neutralization of 0.5γ scFv can be explained by post-attachment neutralization. Neutralization assay involving viruses carrying an inter-subunit disulfide bond (SOS virus) showed that the neutralization-susceptible timeframe after attachment was 60 to 120 min. These results indicate that the scFvs efficiently access the V3 loop and subsequently neutralize HIV-1, even after virus attachment to the target cells. Based on its broad and potent neutralizing activity, further development of anti-V3 scFv for therapeutic and preventive strategies is warranted.