Molecular recognition of CXCR4 by a dual tropic HIV-1 gp120 V3 loop. Academic Article uri icon


  • HIV-1 cell entry is initiated by the interaction of the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 with CD4, and chemokine coreceptors CXCR4 and CCR5. The molecular recognition of CXCR4 or CCR5 by the HIV-1 gp120 is mediated through the V3 loop, a fragment of gp120. The binding of the V3 loop to CXCR4 or CCR5 determines the cell tropism of HIV-1 and constitutes a key step before HIV-1 cell entry. Thus, elucidating the molecular recognition of CXCR4 by the V3 loop is important for understanding HIV-1 viral infectivity and tropism, and for the design of HIV-1 inhibitors. We employed a comprehensive set of computational tools, predominantly based on free energy calculations and molecular-dynamics simulations, to investigate the molecular recognition of CXCR4 by a dual tropic V3 loop. We report what is, to our knowledge, the first HIV-1 gp120 V3 loop:CXCR4 complex structure. The computationally derived structure reveals an abundance of polar and nonpolar intermolecular interactions contributing to the HIV-1 gp120:CXCR4 binding. Our results are in remarkable agreement with previous experimental findings. Therefore, this work sheds light on the functional role of HIV-1 gp120 V3 loop and CXCR4 residues associated with HIV-1 coreceptor activity.

published proceedings

  • Biophys J

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Tamamis, P., & Floudas, C. A.

citation count

  • 44

complete list of authors

  • Tamamis, Phanourios||Floudas, Christodoulos A

publication date

  • September 2013