We have prepared glycosylated analogues of the principal neutralizing determinant of gp120 and studied their conformations by NMR and circular dichroism spectroscopies. The 24-residue peptide from the HIV-1IIIB isolate (residues 308-331) designated RP135, which contains the immunodominant tip of the V3 loop, was glycosylated with both N- and O-linked sugars. The structures of two glycopeptides, one with an N-linked beta-glucosamine (RP135NG) and the other with two O-linked alpha-galactosamine units (RP135digal), were studied by NMR and circular dichroism spectroscopies. Molecular dynamics calculations based on the NMR data obtained in water solutions were performed to explore the conformational substates sampled by the glycopeptides. The data showed that covalently linking a carbohydrate to the peptide has a major effect on the local conformation and imparts additional minor changes at more distant sites of partially defined secondary structure. In particular, the transient beta-type turn comprised of the -Gly-Pro-Gly-Arg- segment at the "tip" of the V3 loop is more highly populated in RP135digal that in the native peptide and N-linked analogue. Binding data for the glycopeptides with 0.5beta, a monoclonal antibody mapped to the RP135 sequence, revealed a significant enhancement in binding for RP135digal as compared with the native peptide, whereas binding was reduced for the N-linked glycopeptide. These data show that glycosylation of V3 loop peptides can affect their conformations as well as their interactions with antibodies. The design of more ordered and biologically relevant conformations of immunogenic regions from gp120 may aid in the design of more effective immunogens for HIV-1 vaccine development.