Efficient engagement with the envelope glycoprotein membrane-proximal external region (MPER) results in robust blocking of viral infection by a class of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Developing an accommodation surface that engages with the viral lipid envelope appears to correlate with the neutralizing potency displayed by these bnAbs. The nature of the interactions established between the antibody and the lipid is nonetheless a matter of debate, with some authors arguing that anti-MPER specificity arises only under pathological conditions in autoantibodies endowed with stereospecific binding sites for phospholipids. However, bnAb-lipid interactions are often studied in systems that do not fully preserve the biophysical properties of lipid bilayers, and therefore, questions on binding specificity and the effect of collective membrane properties on the interaction are still open. Here, to evaluate the specificity of lipid interactions of an anti-MPER bnAb (4E10) in an intact membrane context, we determine quantitatively its association with lipid bilayers by means of scanning fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and all-atom molecular dynamic simulations. Our data support that 4E10 establishes electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions with the viral membrane surface and that the collective physical properties of the lipid bilayer influence 4E10 dynamics therein. We conclude that establishment of peripheral, nonspecific electrostatic interactions with the viral membrane through accommodation surfaces may assist high-affinity binding of HIV-1 MPER epitope at membrane interfaces. These findings highlight the importance of considering antibody-lipid interactions in the design of antibody-based anti-HIV strategies.
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