Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The HIV envelope has evolved a dense array of immunologically "self" carbohydrates that efficiently protect the virus from antibody recognition. Nonetheless, one broadly neutralising antibody, IgG1 2G12, has been shown to recognise a cluster of oligomannose glycans on the HIV-1 surface antigen gp120. Thus the self carbohydrates of HIV are now regarded as potential targets for viral neutralisation and vaccine design. Here, we show that chemical inhibition of mammalian glycoprotein synthesis, with the plant alkaloid kifunensine, creates multiple HIV (2G12) epitopes on the surface of previously non-antigenic self proteins and cells, including HIV gp120. This formally demonstrates the structural basis for self/non-self discrimination between viral and host glycans, by a neutralising antibody. Moreover, this study provides an alternative protein engineering approach to the design of a carbohydrate vaccine for HIV-1 by chemical synthesis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Mol Biol

Publication Date





16 - 22


Alkaloids, Animals, Anti-HIV Agents, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Epitopes, HIV Antibodies, HIV Antigens, HIV Envelope Protein gp120, HIV-1, Humans, Mannosidases, Models, Biological, Models, Molecular, Neutralization Tests, Polysaccharides