A monovalent mutant of cyanovirin-N provides insight into the role of multiple interactions with gp120 for antiviral activity

Raimund Fromme, Zivile Katiliene, Barbara Giomarelli, Federica Bogani, James Mc Mahon, Toshiyuki Mori, Petra Fromme, Giovanna Ghirlanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is a 101 amino acid cyanobacterial lectin with potent antiviral activity against HIV, mediated by high-affinity binding to branched N-linked oligomannosides on the viral surface envelope protein gp120. The protein contains two carbohydrate-binding domains, A and B, each of which binds short oligomannosides independently in vitro. The interaction to gp120 could involve either a single domain or both domains simultaneously; it is not clear which mode would elicit the antiviral activity. The model is complicated by the formation of a domain-swapped dimer form, in which part of each domain is exchanged between two monomers, which contains four functional carbohydrate-binding domains. To clarify whether multivalent interactions with gp120 are necessary for the antiviral activity, we engineered a novel mutant, P51G-m4-CVN, in which the binding site on domain A has been knocked out; in addition, a [P51G] mutation prevents the formation of domain-swapped dimers under physiological conditions. Here, we present the crystal structures at 1.8 Å of the free and of the dimannose-bound forms of P51G-m4-CVN, revealing a monomeric structure in which only domain B is bound to dimannose. P51G-m4-CVN binds gp120 with an affinity almost 2 orders of magnitude lower than wt CV-N and is completely inactive against HIV. The tight binding to gp120 is recovered in the domain-swapped version of P51G-m4-CVN, prepared under extreme conditions. Our findings show that the presence of at least two oligomannoside-binding sites, either by the presence of intact domains A and B or by formation of domain-swapped dimers, is essential for activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9199-9207
Number of pages9
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 14 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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