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The alpha-glucosidase inhibitor N-butyldeoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ) is an inhibitor of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication and HIV-induced syncytium formation in vitro. Although an NB-DNJ-mediated change in viral envelope N-glycan composition inhibits HIV entry at the level of post-CD4 binding, the exact mechanism of inhibition remains to be established. In this study we have examined the effects of NB-DNJ on virion envelope composition and CD4-induced gp120 shedding and gp41 exposure. Virion composition analysis revealed an NB-DNJ-mediated reduction of 15% in overall virion envelope glycoprotein content and a reduction of 26% in the proteolytic maturation of virion gp160. Taken together, these two effects resulted in a reduction of approximately 40% in virion gp120 content. CD4-induced shedding of gp120 from the surfaces of envelope-transfected Cos cells was undetectable when gp120 was expressed in the presence of NB-DNJ. Similarly, the shedding of virion-associated gp120 was reduced 7.4-fold. CD4-induced exposure of cryptic gp41 epitopes on the surfaces of HIV-expressing ACH-2 cells was also greatly impaired, and the exposure of virion-associated gp41 epitopes was reduced 4.0-fold. Finally, CD4-induced increases in the binding of antibodies to the V3 loop of ACH-2-cell-expressed envelope glycoproteins were reduced 25-fold when the glycoproteins were expressed in the presence of NB-DNJ. These results suggest that the NB-DNJ-mediated retention of glycosylated N-glycans inhibits HIV entry by a combined effect of a reduction in virion gp120 content and a qualitative defect within the remaining gp120, preventing it from undergoing conformational changes after CD4 binding.


Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





7153 - 7160


1-Deoxynojirimycin, Animals, Antiviral Agents, CHO Cells, Cricetinae, HIV Envelope Protein gp120, HIV Envelope Protein gp41, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, Virus Replication