HIV covers its protein capsid with a viral envelop where GP160 is located. This glycoprotein facilitates fusion between the viral membrane and the host -cell membrane allowing liberation of the viral contents into the host cell. GP160 forms a trimer, where each monomer consists in two non-covalently associated subunits: a surface subunit GP120 that recognize and bind to specific receptor on the host cell and a transmembrane subunit GP41 that promotes membrane fusion.
Self assembly and pore formation of HIV gp160 revealed at molecular resolution
Self assembly of HIV gp160 reconstituted into DOPC bilayer and adsorbed onto mica.
Images show gp160 forming pore like structures. Each pore is made up of 6 features with dimensions consistent with single molecules.