HIV: The Initial Invasion

“HIV: The Initial Invasion” shows how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reaches an immune cell called a T-cell and uses its Envelope glycoprotein spike (Env) to attach to and fuse with the T-cell, which is the first step of infection. The content was designed for the lay audience and also explains how HIV is transmitted, how many people are affected worldwide, and what strategies scientists are trying to stop HIV.

“HIV: The Initial Invasion” was created in collaboration with the Laboratory of Cell Biology of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health as part of a Master of Arts thesis in Medical and Biological Illustration at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The form and mechanism of Env were based on analysis of high-resolution cyro-electron tomography data from the EMDB as well as crystal structures from the PDB (listed below). For portions of the mechanism for which there was not yet experimental data, plausible possibilities were decided upon in consultation with Sriram Subramaniam, Ph.D., Senior Investigator and Biophysics chief of the Biophysics Section and Electron Microscopy Core, of the Laboratory of Cell Biology.

Envelope Glycoprotein Spike (Env)

EMDB 5019, 5022, 5020, 5023, 2485, 5462

PDB 3DNN, 3DNO, 4CC8, 1AIK, 3J5M

 CD4 receptor


CCR5 co-receptor


Complete table of structural data

Complete bibliography of corresponding written thesis