B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) patients expressing unmutated immunoglobulin heavy variable regions (IGHVs) use the IGHV1-69 B cell receptor (BCR) in 25% of cases. Since HIV-1 envelope gp41 antibodies also frequently use IGHV1-69 gene segments, we hypothesized that IGHV1-69 B-CLL precursors may contribute to the gp41 B cell response during HIV-1 infection. To test this hypothesis, we rescued 5 IGHV1-69 unmutated antibodies as heterohybridoma IgM paraproteins and as recombinant IgG1 antibodies from B-CLL patients, determined their antigenic specificities and analyzed BCR sequences. IGHV1-69 B-CLL antibodies were enriched for reactivity with HIV-1 envelope gp41, influenza, hepatitis C virus E2 protein and intestinal commensal bacteria. These IGHV1-69 B-CLL antibodies preferentially used IGHD3 and IGHJ6 gene segments and had long heavy chain complementary determining region 3s (HCDR3s) (≥21 aa). IGHV1-69 B-CLL BCRs exhibited a phenylalanine at position 54 (F54) of the HCDR2 as do rare HIV-1 gp41 and influenza hemagglutinin stem neutralizing antibodies, while IGHV1-69 gp41 antibodies induced by HIV-1 infection predominantly used leucine (L54) allelic variants. These results demonstrate that the B-CLL cell population is an expansion of members of the innate polyreactive B cell repertoire with reactivity to a number of infectious agent antigens including intestinal commensal bacteria. The B-CLL IGHV1-69 B cell usage of F54 allelic variants strongly suggests that IGHV1-69 B-CLL gp41 antibodies derive from a restricted B cell pool that also produces rare HIV-1 gp41 and influenza hemagglutinin stem antibodies.
Glycosylation plays an essential role in regulating protein function by modulating biological, structural, and therapeutic properties. However, due to its inherent heterogeneity and diversity, the comprehensive analysis of protein glycosylation remains a challenge. As part of our continuing effort in the analysis of glycosylation profiles of recombinant HIV-1 envelope-based immunogens, we evaluated and compared the host-cell specific glycosylation pattern of recombinant HIV-1 surface glycoprotein, gp120, derived from clade C transmitted/founder virus 1086.C expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) and human embryonic kidney containing T antigen (293T) cell lines. We used an integrated glycopeptide-based mass mapping workflow that includes a partial deglycosylation step described in our previous study1 with the inclusion of the fragmentation technique, electron transfer dissociation (ETD), to complement collision induced dissociation (CID). The inclusion of ETD facilitated the analysis by providing additional validation for glycopeptide identification and expanding the identified glycopeptides to include coverage of O-linked glycosylation. The site-specific glycosylation analysis shows that the transmitted/founder 1086.C gp120 expressed in CHO and 293T displayed distinct similarities and differences. For N-linked glycosylation, two sites (N386 and N392), in the V4 region were populated with high mannose glycans in the CHO cell-derived 1086.C gp120, while these sites had a mixture of high mannose and processed glycans in the 293T cell-derived 1086.C gp120. Compositional analysis of O-linked glycans revealed that 293T cell-derived 1086.C gp120 consisted of cores 1, 2, and 4 type O-linked glycans while CHO cell-derived 1086.C exclusively consisted of core 1 type O-linked glycans. Overall, glycosylation site occupancy of the CHO and 293T cell-derived 1086.C gp120 show high degree of similarity except for one site at N88 in the C1 region. This site was partially occupied in 293T-gp120 but fully occupied in CHO-gp120. Site-specific glycopeptide analysis of transmitted/founder 1086.C gp120 expressed in CHO cells revealed the presence of phosphorylated glycans while 293T cell produced 1086.C gp120 glycans were not phosphorylated. While the influence of phosphorylated glycans on immunogenicity is unclear, distinguishing host-cell specific variations in glycosylation profiles provides insights into the similarity (or difference) in recombinant vaccine products. While these differences had minimal effect on envelope antigenicity, they may be important in considering immunogenicity and functional capacities of recombinant envelope proteins produced in different expression systems.
A few broadly neutralizing antibodies, isolated from HIV-1 infected individuals, recognize epitopes in the membrane proximal external region (MPER) of gp41 that are transiently exposed during viral entry. The best characterized, 4E10 and 2F5, are polyreactive, binding to the viral membrane and their epitopes in the MPER. We present a model to calculate, for any antibody concentration, the probability that during the pre-hairpin intermediate, the transient period when the epitopes are first exposed, a bound antibody will disable a trivalent gp41 before fusion is complete. When 4E10 or 2F5 bind to the MPER, a conformational change is induced that results in a stably bound complex. The model predicts that for these antibodies to be effective at neutralization, the time to disable an epitope must be shorter than the time the antibody remains bound in this conformation, about five minutes or less for 4E10 and 2F5. We investigate the role of avidity in neutralization and show that 2F5 IgG, but not 4E10, is much more effective at neutralization than its Fab fragment. We attribute this to 2F5 interacting more stably than 4E10 with the viral membrane. We use the model to elucidate the parameters that determine the ability of these antibodies to disable epitopes and propose an extension of the model to analyze neutralization data. The extended model predicts the dependencies of for neutralization on the rate constants that characterize antibody binding, the rate of fusion of gp41, and the number of gp41 bridging the virus and target cell at the start of the pre-hairpin intermediate. Analysis of neutralization experiments indicate that only a small number of gp41 bridges must be disabled to prevent fusion. However, the model cannot determine the exact number from neutralization experiments alone.
Most people who become infected with HIV generate a strong antibody response to the infecting virus population. Unfortunately, the protection offered by the antibody is short lived as the virus rapidly mutates and renders the antibodies impotent in preventing further infection. There are a few antibodies, however, that have been isolated from infected individuals that can block infection by many different viral strains. Among these are several that target sites on the HIV that are exposed only after the virus has attached to a cell. These antibodies have a brief window of time to prevent fusion of the virus and cell. They are special in that they bind both to the viral membrane and to sequences on the gp41 protein that lie along the viral surface. Here, we present a model that predicts the concentrations at which these antibodies effectively neutralize the virus. The model tells us what properties of antibody binding are key in determining efficient neutralization and what properties have little influence. A prediction of the model is that in a standard neutralization assay there are only a small number of attachments between virus and cell and disabling these is sufficient to prevent infection.
The RV144 HIV-1 trial of the canary pox vector (ALVAC-HIV) plus the gp120 AIDSVAX B/E vaccine demonstrated an estimated efficacy of 31%, that correlated directly with antibodies to HIV-1 envelope variable regions 1 and 2 (V1–V2). Genetic analysis of trial viruses revealed increased vaccine efficacy against viruses matching the vaccine strain at V2 residue 169. Here, we isolated four V2 monoclonal antibodies from RV144 vaccinees that recognize residue 169, neutralize laboratory-adapted HIV-1, and mediate killing of field isolate HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells. Crystal structures of two of the V2 antibodies demonstrated residue 169 can exist within divergent helical and loop conformations, which contrasted dramatically with the beta strand conformation previously observed with a broadly neutralizing antibody PG9. Thus, RV144 vaccine-induced immune pressure appears to target a region that may be both sequence variable and structurally polymorphic. Variation may signal sites of HIV-1 envelope vulnerability, providing vaccine designers with new options.
Attempts to formulate a protective HIV-1 vaccine through classic vaccine design strategies have not been successful. Elicitation of HIV-1-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) at high titers that are present before exposure might be required to achieve protection. Recently, the application of new technologies has facilitated the study of clonal lineages of HIV-1 envelope (Env) antibodies, which have provided insights into HIV-1 antibody development during infection and upon vaccination. Strategies are being developed for the analysis of infection and vaccine candidate-induced antibodies, their gene usage, and their maturation pathways such that this information can be used to attempt to guide rational vaccine design.
HIV-1 vaccine; broadly neutralizing antibodies; immunogen design
Current HIV-1 vaccines elicit strain-specific neutralizing antibodies. However, cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies arise in ~20% of HIV-1-infected individuals, and details of their generation could provide a roadmap for effective vaccination. Here we report the isolation, evolution and structure of a broadly neutralizing antibody from an African donor followed from time of infection. The mature antibody, CH103, neutralized ~55% of HIV-1 isolates, and its co-crystal structure with gp120 revealed a novel loop-based mechanism of CD4-binding site recognition. Virus and antibody gene sequencing revealed concomitant virus evolution and antibody maturation. Notably, the CH103-lineage unmutated common ancestor avidly bound the transmitted/founder HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein, and evolution of antibody neutralization breadth was preceded by extensive viral diversification in and near the CH103 epitope. These data elucidate the viral and antibody evolution leading to induction of a lineage of HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies and provide insights into strategies to elicit similar antibodies via vaccination.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine development requires selection of appropriate envelope (Env) immunogens. Twenty HIV-1 Env glycoproteins were examined for their ability to bind human anti-HIV-1 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and then used as immunogens in guinea pigs to identify promising immunogens. These included five Envs derived from chronically infected individuals, each representing one of five common clades and eight consensus Envs based on these five clades, as well as the consensus of the entire HIV-1 M group, and seven transmitted/founder (T/F) Envs from clades B and C. Sera from immunized guinea pigs were tested for neutralizing activity using 36 HIV-1 Env-pseudotyped viruses. All Envs bound to CD4 binding site, membrane-proximal, and V1/V2 MAbs with similar apparent affinities, although the T/F Envs bound with higher affinity to the MAb 17b, a CCR5 coreceptor binding site antibody. However, the various Envs differed in their ability to induce neutralizing antibodies. Consensus Envs elicited the most potent responses, but neutralized only a subset of viruses, including mostly easy-to-neutralize tier 1 and some more-difficult-to-neutralize tier 2 viruses. T/F Envs elicited fewer potent neutralizing antibodies but exhibited greater breadth than chronic or consensus Envs. Finally, chronic Envs elicited the lowest level and most limited breadth of neutralizing antibodies overall. Thus, each group of Env immunogens elicited a different antibody response profile. The complementary benefits of consensus and T/F Env immunogens raise the possibility that vaccines utilizing a combination of consensus and T/F Envs may be able to induce neutralizing responses with greater breadth and potency than single Env immunogens.
In this study, we present a technique to create a complex, high cholesterol-containing supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) using α-helical (AH) peptide-induced vesicle fusion. Vesicles consisting of POPC : POPE : POPS : SM : Chol (9.35 : 19.25 : 8.25 : 18.15 : 45.00) were used to form a SLB that models the native composition of the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) lipid envelope. In the absence of AH peptides, these biomimetic vesicles fail to form a complete SLB. We verified and characterized AH peptide-induced vesicle fusion by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring, neutron reflectivity, and atomic force microscopy. Successful SLB formation entailed a characteristic frequency shift of −35.4 ± 2.0 Hz and a change in dissipation energy of 1.91 ± 0.52 × 10−6. Neutron reflectivity measurements determined the SLB thickness to be 49.9 +1.9−1.5 Å, and showed the SLB to be 100 +0.0−0.1% complete and void of residual AH peptide after washing. Atomic force microscopy imaging confirmed complete SLB formation and revealed three distinct domains with no visible defects. This vesicle fusion technique gives researchers access to a complex SLB composition with high cholesterol content and thus the ability to better recapitulate the native HIV-1 lipid membrane.
Immunological tolerance to self-antigen impairs humoral responses to HIV-1.
Many human monoclonal antibodies that neutralize multiple clades of HIV-1 are polyreactive and bind avidly to mammalian autoantigens. Indeed, the generation of neutralizing antibodies to the 2F5 and 4E10 epitopes of HIV-1 gp41 in man may be proscribed by immune tolerance because mice expressing the VH and VL regions of 2F5 have a block in B cell development that is characteristic of central tolerance. This developmental blockade implies the presence of tolerizing autoantigens that are mimicked by the membrane-proximal external region of HIV-1 gp41. We identify human kynureninase (KYNU) and splicing factor 3b subunit 3 (SF3B3) as the primary conserved, vertebrate self-antigens recognized by the 2F5 and 4E10 antibodies, respectively. 2F5 binds the H4 domain of KYNU which contains the complete 2F5 linear epitope (ELDKWA). 4E10 recognizes an epitope of SF3B3 that is strongly dependent on hydrophobic interactions. Opossums carry a rare KYNU H4 domain that abolishes 2F5 binding, but they retain the SF3B3 4E10 epitope. Immunization of opossums with HIV-1 gp140 induced extraordinary titers of serum antibody to the 2F5 ELDKWA epitope but little or nothing to the 4E10 determinant. Identification of structural motifs shared by vertebrates and HIV-1 provides direct evidence that immunological tolerance can impair humoral responses to HIV-1.
The recombinant canarypox vector, ALVAC-HIV, together with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gp120 envelope glycoprotein, has protected 31.2% of Thai individuals from HIV acquisition in the RV144 HIV vaccine trial. This outcome was unexpected, given the limited ability of the vaccine components to induce CD8+ T-cell responses or broadly neutralizing antibodies. We vaccinated macaques with an immunization regimen intended to mimic the RV144 trial and exposed them intrarectally to a dose of the simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac251 that transmits few virus variants, similar to HIV transmission to humans. Vaccination induced anti-envelope antibodies in all vaccinees and CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses. Three of the 11 macaques vaccinated with ALVAC-SIV/gp120 were protected from SIVmac251 acquisition, but the result was not significant. The remaining vaccinees were infected and progressed to disease. The magnitudes of vaccine-induced SIVmac251-specific T-cell responses and binding antibodies were not significantly different between protected and infected animals. However, sera from protected animals had higher avidity antibodies to gp120, recognized the variable envelope regions V1/V2, and reduced SIVmac251 infectivity in cells that express high levels of α4β7 integrins, suggesting a functional role of antibodies to V2. The current results emphasize the utility of determining the titer of repeated mucosal challenge in the preclinical evaluation of HIV vaccines.
An immune correlates analysis of the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial revealed that antibody responses to the gp120 V1/V2 region correlated inversely with infection risk. The RV144 protein immunogens (A244-rp120 and MN-rgp120) were modified by an N-terminal 11-amino-acid deletion (Δ11) and addition of a herpes simplex virus (HSV) gD protein-derived tag (gD). We investigated the effects of these modifications on gp120 expression, antigenicity, and immunogenicity by comparing unmodified A244 gp120 with both Δ11 deletion and gD tag and with Δ11 only. Analysis of A244 gp120, with or without Δ11 or gD, demonstrated that the Δ11 deletion, without the addition of gD, was sufficient for enhanced antigenicity to gp120 C1 region, conformational V2, and V1/V2 gp120 conformational epitopes. RV144 vaccinee serum IgGs bound more avidly to A244 gp120 Δ11 than to the unmodified gp120, and their binding was blocked by C1, V2, and V1/V2 antibodies. Rhesus macaques immunized with the three different forms of A244 gp120 proteins gave similar levels of gp120 antibody titers, although higher antibody titers developed earlier in A244 Δ11 gp120-immunized animals. Conformational V1/V2 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) gave significantly higher levels of blocking of plasma IgG from A244 Δ11 gp120-immunized animals than IgG from animals immunized with unmodified A244 gp120, thus indicating a qualitative difference in the V1/V2 antibodies induced by A244 Δ11 gp120. These results demonstrate that deletion of N-terminal residues in the RV144 A244 gp120 immunogen improves both envelope antigenicity and immunogenicity.
Our work is motivated by the observation that rare, broadly neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), 4E10 and 2F5, associate with HIV-1 lipids as part of a required first step in neutralization before binding to membrane-proximal antigens. Subsequently, induction of these types of NAbs may be limited by immunologic tolerance due to autoreactivity with host cell membranes. Despite the significance of this lipid reactivity there is little experimental evidence detailing NAb-membrane interactions. Simple and efficient screening assays are needed to select antibodies that have similar lipid reactivity as known NAbs. To this end we have developed a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy based assay that monitors antibody binding to thiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) that replicate salient lipid surface chemistries and NAb binding to lipid surfaces. Specifically, we probed the relative importance of charge and hydrophobicity on antibody-surface interactions. We found that NAb binding to hydrophobic thiol surfaces was significantly greater than that of control monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Furthermore, we confirmed the importance of charge-mediated antibody surface interactions, originally suggested by results from mAb interactions with conventional lipid vesicle/bilayer surfaces. Our approach, using self-assembled thiol monolayers that replicate the binding behavior of NAbs on lipid surfaces, thus provides an efficient and useful tool to screen interactions of mAbs and lipid-reactive NAbs.
HIV-1; Neutralizing antibody; Thiol model surface; Surface plasmon resonance
The detailed examination of the antibody repertoire from RV144 provides a unique template for understanding potentially protective antibody functions. Some potential immune correlates of protection were untested in the correlates analyses due to inherent assay limitations, as well as the need to keep the correlates analysis focused on a limited number of endpoints to achieve statistical power. In an RV144 pilot study, we determined that RV144 vaccination elicited antibodies that could bind infectious virions (including the vaccine strains HIV-1 CM244 and HIV-1 MN and an HIV-1 strain expressing transmitted/founder Env, B.WITO.c). Among vaccinees with the highest IgG binding antibody profile, the majority (78%) captured the infectious vaccine strain virus (CM244), while a smaller proportion of vaccinees (26%) captured HIV-1 transmitted/founder Env virus. We demonstrated that vaccine-elicited HIV-1 gp120 antibodies of multiple specificities (V3, V2, conformational C1, and gp120 conformational) mediated capture of infectious virions. Although capture of infectious HIV-1 correlated with other humoral immune responses, the extent of variation between these humoral responses and virion capture indicates that virion capture antibodies occupy unique immunological space.
The HIV-1 envelope (Env) is a key determinant in mediating viral entry and fusion to host cells and is a major target for HIV vaccine development. While Env is typically about 50% glycan by mass, glycosylation sites are known to evolve, with some glycosylation profiles presumably being more effective at facilitating neutralization escape than others.1 Thus, characterizing glycosylation patterns of Env and native virions and correlating glycosylation profiles with infectivity and Env immunogenicity are necessary first steps in designing effective immunogens. Herein, we describe a mass spectrometrybased strategy to determine HIV-1 Env glycosylation patterns and have compared two mammalian cell expressed recombinant Env immunogens, one a limited immunogen and one that induces crossclade neutralizing antibodies. We have used a glycopeptide-based mass mapping approach to identify and characterize Env’s glycosylation patterns by elucidating which sites are utilized and what type of glycan motif is present at each glycosylation site. Our results show that the immunogens displayed different degrees of glycosylation as well as a different characteristic set of glycan motifs. Thus, these techniques can be used to (1) define glycosylation profiles of recombinant Env proteins and Env on mature virions, (2) define specific carbohydrate moieties at each glycosylation site, and (3) determine the role of certain carbohydrates in HIV-1 infectivity and in modulation of Env immunogenicity.
HIV; envelope glycoprotein; glycosylation; vaccine; mass spectrometry
Breastfeeding is a leading cause of infant HIV-1 infection in the developing world, yet only a minority of infants exposed to HIV-1 via breastfeeding become infected. As a genetic bottleneck severely restricts the number of postnatally-transmitted variants, genetic or phenotypic properties of the virus Envelope (Env) could be important for the establishment of infant infection. We examined the efficiency of virologic functions required for initiation of infection in the gastrointestinal tract and the neutralization sensitivity of HIV-1 Env variants isolated from milk of three postnatally-transmitting mothers (n=13 viruses), five clinically-matched nontransmitting mothers (n=16 viruses), and seven postnatally-infected infants (n = 7 postnatally-transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses).
There was no difference in the efficiency of epithelial cell interactions between Env virus variants from the breast milk of transmitting and nontransmitting mothers. Moreover, there was similar efficiency of DC-mediated trans-infection, CCR5-usage, target cell fusion, and infectivity between HIV-1 Env-pseudoviruses from nontransmitting mothers and postnatal T/F viruses. Milk Env-pseudoviruses were generally sensitive to neutralization by autologous maternal plasma and resistant to breast milk neutralization. Infant T/F Env-pseudoviruses were equally sensitive to neutralization by broadly-neutralizing monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies as compared to nontransmitted breast milk Env variants.
Postnatally-T/F Env variants do not appear to possess a superior ability to interact with and cross a mucosal barrier or an exceptional resistance to neutralization that define their capability to initiate infection across the infant gastrointestinal tract in the setting of preexisting maternal antibodies.
HIV; Mother to child transmission; Galcer; Dendritic cells; Neutralizing antibodies
Most antibodies that broadly neutralize HIV-1 are highly somatically mutated in antibody clonal lineages that persist over time. Here, we describe the analysis of human antibodies induced during an HIV-1 vaccine trial (GSK PRO HIV-002) that used the clade B envelope (Env) gp120 of clone W6.1D (gp120W6.1D). Using dual-color antigen-specific sorting, we isolated Env-specific human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and studied the clonal persistence of antibodies in the setting of HIV-1 Env vaccination. We found evidence of VH somatic mutation induced by the vaccine but only to a modest level (3.8% ± 0.5%; range 0 to 8.2%). Analysis of 34 HIV-1-reactive MAbs recovered over four immunizations revealed evidence of both sequential recruitment of naïve B cells and restimulation of previously recruited memory B cells. These recombinant antibodies recapitulated the anti-HIV-1 activity of participant serum including pseudovirus neutralization and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). One antibody (3491) demonstrated a change in specificity following somatic mutation with binding of the inferred unmutated ancestor to a linear C2 peptide while the mutated antibody reacted only with a conformational epitope in gp120 Env. Thus, gp120W6.1D was strongly immunogenic but over four immunizations induced levels of affinity maturation below that of broadly neutralizing MAbs. Improved vaccination strategies will be needed to drive persistent stimulation of antibody clonal lineages to induce affinity maturation that results in highly mutated HIV-1 Env-reactive antibodies.
In the RV144 trial, the estimated efficacy of a vaccine regimen against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) was 31.2%. We performed a case–control analysis to identify antibody and cellular immune correlates of infection risk.
In pilot studies conducted with RV144 blood samples, 17 antibody or cellular assays met prespecified criteria, of which 6 were chosen for primary analysis to determine the roles of T-cell, IgG antibody, and IgA antibody responses in the modulation of infection risk. Assays were performed on samples from 41 vaccinees who became infected and 205 uninfected vaccinees, obtained 2 weeks after final immunization, to evaluate whether immune-response variables predicted HIV-1 infection through 42 months of follow-up.
Of six primary variables, two correlated significantly with infection risk: the binding of IgG antibodies to variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2) of HIV-1 envelope proteins (Env) correlated inversely with the rate of HIV-1 infection (estimated odds ratio, 0.57 per 1-SD increase; P = 0.02; q = 0.08), and the binding of plasma IgA antibodies to Env correlated directly with the rate of infection (estimated odds ratio, 1.54 per 1-SD increase; P = 0.03; q = 0.08). Neither low levels of V1V2 antibodies nor high levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies were associated with higher rates of infection than were found in the placebo group. Secondary analyses suggested that Env-specific IgA antibodies may mitigate the effects of potentially protective antibodies.
This immune-correlates study generated the hypotheses that V1V2 antibodies may have contributed to protection against HIV-1 infection, whereas high levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies may have mitigated the effects of protective antibodies. Vaccines that are designed to induce higher levels of V1V2 antibodies and lower levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies than are induced by the RV144 vaccine may have improved efficacy against HIV-1 infection.
The HIV-1 broad neutralizing antibody (bnAb) 2F5 has been shown to be poly/self-reactive in vitro, and we previously demonstrated that targeted expression of its VDJ rearrangement alone was sufficient to trigger a profound B cell developmental blockade in 2F5 VH knockin (KI) mice, consistent with central deletion of 2F5 H chain-expressing B cells. Here, we generate a strain expressing the entire 2F5 bnAb specificity, 2F5 VHxVL KI mice, and find an even higher degree of tolerance control than observed in the 2F5 VH KI strain. Although B-cell development was severely impaired in 2F5 VHxVL KI animals, we demonstrate rescue of their B-cells when cultured in IL-7/BAFF. Intriguingly, even under these conditions, most rescued B-cell hybridomas produced mAbs that lacked HIV-1 Envelope (Env) reactivity due to editing of the 2F5 L chain, and the majority of rescued B-cells retained an anergic phenotype. Thus, when clonal deletion is circumvented, κ editing and anergy are additional safeguards preventing 2F5 VH/VL expression by immature/transitional B-cells. Importantly, 7% of rescued B-cells retained 2F5 VH/VL-expression and secreted Env-specific mAbs with HIV-1 neutralizing activity. This “partial” rescue was further corroborated in vivo, as reflected by the anergic phenotype of most rescued B-cells in 2F5 VHxVL KI × Eμ-bcl2 tg mice, and significant (yet modest) enrichment of Env-specific B-cells and serum Igs. The rescued 2F5 mAb-producing B-cell clones in this study are the first examples of in vivo-derived bone marrow precursors specifying HIV-1 bnAbs, and provide a starting point for design of strategies aimed at rescuing such B-cells.
Viruses like HIV and SIV escape from containment by CD8+ T lymphocytes through generating mutations that interfere with epitope peptide:MHC class I binding. However, mutations in some viral epitopes are selected for that have no impact on this binding. We have explored the mechanism underlying the evolution of such epitopes by studying CD8+ T lymphocyte recognition of a dominant Nef epitope of SIVmac in infected Mamu-A*02+ rhesus monkeys. Clonal analysis of the p199RY-specific CD8+ T lymphocyte repertoire in these monkeys indicated that identical T cell clones were capable of recognizing wild-type (WT) and mutant epitope sequences. However, we found that the functional avidity of these CD8+ T lymphocytes for the mutant peptide:Mamu-A*02 complex was diminished. Using surface plasmon resonance to measure the binding affinity of the p199RY-specific TCR repertoire for WT and mutant p199RY peptide:Mamu-A*02 monomeric complexes, we found that the mutant p199RY peptide:Mamu-A*02 complexes had a lower affinity for TCRs purified from CD8+ T lymphocytes than did the WT p199RY peptide:Mamu-A*02 complexes. These studies demonstrate that differences in TCR affinity for peptide:MHC class I ligands can alter functional p199RY-specific CD8+ T lymphocyte responses to mutated epitopes, decreasing the capacity of these cells to contain SIVmac replication.
CD4 T follicular helper (TFH) cells interact with and stimulate the generation of antigen-specific B cells. TFH cell interaction with B cells correlates with production of SIV-specific immunoglobulins. However, the fate of TFH cells and their participation in SIV-induced antibody production is not well understood. We investigated the phenotype, function, location, and molecular signature of TFH cells in rhesus macaques. Similar to their human counterparts, TFH cells in rhesus macaques represented a heterogeneous population with respect to cytokine function. In a highly differentiated subpopulation of TFH cells, characterized by CD150lo expression, production of Th1 cytokines was compromised while IL-4 production was augmented, and cells exhibited decreased survival, cycling, and trafficking capacity. TFH cells exhibited a distinct gene profile that was markedly altered by SIV infection. TFH cells were infected by SIV; yet, in some animals, these cells actually accumulated during chronic SIV infection. Generalized immune activation and increased IL-6 production helped drive TFH differentiation during SIV infection. Accumulation of TFH cells was associated with increased frequency of activated germinal center B cells and SIV-specific antibodies. Therefore, chronic SIV does not disturb the ability of TFH cells to help B cell maturation and production of SIV-specific immunoglobulins.
Generation of potent anti-HIV antibody responses in mucosal compartments is a potential requirement of a transmission-blocking HIV vaccine. HIV-specific, functional antibody responses are present in breast milk, and these mucosal antibody responses may play a role in protection of the majority of HIV-exposed, breastfeeding infants. Therefore, characterization of HIV-specific antibodies produced by B cells in milk could guide the development of vaccines that elicit protective mucosal antibody responses.
We isolated B cells from colostrum of an HIV-infected lactating woman with a detectable neutralization response in milk and recombinantly produced and characterized the resulting HIV-1 Envelope (Env)-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).
The identified HIV-1 Env-specific colostrum mAbs, CH07 and CH08, represent two of the first mucosally-derived anti-HIV antibodies yet to be reported. Colostrum mAb CH07 is a highly-autoreactive, weakly-neutralizing gp140-specific mAb that binds to linear epitopes in the gp120 C5 region and gp41 fusion domain. In contrast, colostrum mAb CH08 is a nonpolyreactive CD4-inducible (CD4i) gp120-specific mAb with moderate breadth of neutralization.
These novel HIV-neutralizing mAbs isolated from a mucosal compartment provide insight into the ability of mucosal B cell populations to produce functional anti-HIV antibodies that may contribute to protection against virus acquisition at mucosal surfaces.
A small proportion of HIV-infected individuals generate a neutralizing antibody (NAb) response of exceptional magnitude and breadth. A detailed analysis of the critical epitopes targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies should help to define optimal targets for vaccine design. HIV-1-infected subjects with potent cross-reactive serum neutralizing antibodies were identified by assaying sera from 308 subjects against a multiclade panel of 12 “tier 2” viruses (4 each of subtypes A, B, and C). Various neutralizing epitope specificities were determined for the top 9 neutralizers, including clade A-, clade B-, clade C-, and clade A/C-infected donors, by using a comprehensive set of assays. In some subjects, neutralization breadth was mediated by two or more antibody specificities. Although antibodies to the gp41 membrane-proximal external region (MPER) were identified in some subjects, the subjects with the greatest neutralization breadth targeted gp120 epitopes, including the CD4 binding site, a glycan-containing quaternary epitope formed by the V2 and V3 loops, or an outer domain epitope containing a glycan at residue N332. The broadly reactive HIV-1 neutralization observed in some subjects is mediated by antibodies targeting several conserved regions on the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein.
Understanding the interactions between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virions and antibodies (Ab) produced during acute HIV-1 infection (AHI) is critical for defining antibody antiviral capabilities. Antibodies that bind virions may prevent transmission by neutralization of virus or mechanically prevent HIV-1 migration through mucosal layers. In this study, we quantified circulating HIV-1 virion-immune complexes (ICs), present in approximately 90% of AHI subjects, and compared the levels and antibody specificity to those in chronic infection. Circulating HIV-1 virions coated with IgG (immune complexes) were in significantly lower levels relative to the viral load in acute infection than in chronic HIV-1 infection. The specificities of the antibodies in the immune complexes differed between acute and chronic infection (anti-gp41 Ab in acute infection and anti-gp120 in chronic infection), potentially suggesting different roles in immunopathogenesis for complexes arising at different stages of infection. We also determined the ability of circulating IgG from AHI to bind infectious versus noninfectious virions. Similar to a nonneutralizing anti-gp41 monoclonal antibody (MAb), purified plasma IgG from acute HIV-1 subjects bound both infectious and noninfectious virions. This was in contrast to the neutralizing antibody 2G12 MAb that bound predominantly infectious virions. Moreover, the initial antibody response captured acute HIV-1 virions without selection for different HIV-1 envelope sequences. In total, this study demonstrates that the composition of immune complexes are dynamic over the course of HIV-1 infection and are comprised initially of antibodies that nonselectively opsonize both infectious and noninfectious virions, likely contributing to the lack of efficacy of the antibody response during acute infection.
Genetic factors, as well as antigenic stimuli, can influence antibody repertoire formation. Moreover, the affinity of antigen for unmutated naïve B cell receptors determines the threshold for activation of germinal center antibody responses. The gp41 2F5 broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) uses the VH2-5 gene, which has 10 distinct alleles that use either a heavy-chain complementarity-determining region 2 (HCDR2) aspartic acid (DH54) or an HCDR2 asparagine (NH54) residue. The 2F5 HCDR2 DH54 residue has been shown to form a salt bridge with gp41 665K; the VH2-5 germ line allele variant containing NH54 cannot do so and thus should bind less avidly to gp41. Thus, the induction of 2F5 bNAb is dependent on both genetic and structural factors that could affect antigen affinity of unmutated naïve B cell receptors. Here, we studied allelic variants of the VH2-5 inferred germ line forms of the HIV-1 gp41 bNAb 2F5 for their antigen binding affinities to gp41 linear peptide and conformational protein antigens. Both VH2-5 2F5 inferred germ line variants bound to gp41 peptides and protein, including the fusion intermediate protein mimic, although more weakly than the mature 2F5 antibody. As predicted, the affinity of the NH54 variant for fusion-intermediate conformation was an order of magnitude lower than that of the DH54 VH2-5 germ line antibody, demonstrating that allelic variants of 2F5 germ line antibodies differentially bind to gp41. Thus, these data demonstrate a genetically determined trait that may affect host responses to HIV-1 envelope epitopes recognized by broadly neutralizing antibodies and has implications for unmutated ancestor-based immunogen design.