A human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) mutant lacking the V1 and V2 variable loops in the gp120 exterior envelope glycoprotein replicated in Jurkat lymphocytes with only modest delays compared with the wild-type virus. Revertants that replicated with wild-type efficiency rapidly emerged and contained only a few amino acid changes in the envelope glycoproteins compared with the parent virus. Both the parent and revertant viruses exhibited increased sensitivity to neutralization by antibodies directed against the V3 loop or a CD4-induced epitope on gp120 but not by soluble CD4 or an antibody against the CD4 binding site. This result demonstrates the role of the gp120 V1 and V2 loops in protecting HIV-1 from some subsets of neutralizing antibodies
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