Antibodies have been raised against a synthetic peptide (IRDKIQKENALFRNL) containing a neutralizing epitope within the second variable region of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) SF2 strain external envelope glycoprotein (gp120) and also against equivalent peptides of the HIV-1 LAI, RF and MN isolates. The resulting antisera cross-react with heterologous peptides but binding to heterologous recombinant gp120 is more restricted. Antisera to HIV-1 SF2, RF and MN are able to neutralize homologous virus. Some cross-neutralization is also observed, but a consensus peptide failed to induce neutralizing antibodies to any of the isolates studied. Antibodies to the V2 and V3 epitopes give a higher neutralization index when acting together than when the individual sera are used alone. Antibodies induced in natural infection bind to two sets of hexamers within the region encompassed by the 15-mer peptide, and the response to these can differ between infected individuals and within the same host over time.


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