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1.  Vaccine-Induced IgG Antibodies to V1V2 Regions of Multiple HIV-1 Subtypes Correlate with Decreased Risk of HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87572.
In the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial, IgG antibody (Ab) binding levels to variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2) of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 were an inverse correlate of risk of HIV-1 infection. To determine if V1V2-specific Abs cross-react with V1V2 from different HIV-1 subtypes, if the nature of the V1V2 antigen used to asses cross-reactivity influenced infection risk, and to identify immune assays for upcoming HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trials, new V1V2-scaffold antigens were designed and tested. Protein scaffold antigens carrying the V1V2 regions from HIV-1 subtypes A, B, C, D or CRF01_AE were assayed in pilot studies, and six were selected to assess cross-reactive Abs in the plasma from the original RV144 case-control cohort (41 infected vaccinees, 205 frequency-matched uninfected vaccinees, and 40 placebo recipients) using ELISA and a binding Ab multiplex assay. IgG levels to these antigens were assessed as correlates of risk in vaccine recipients using weighted logistic regression models. Levels of Abs reactive with subtype A, B, C and CRF01_AE V1V2-scaffold antigens were all significant inverse correlates of risk (p-values of 0.0008–0.05; estimated odds ratios of 0.53–0.68 per 1 standard deviation increase). Thus, levels of vaccine-induced IgG Abs recognizing V1V2 regions from multiple HIV-1 subtypes, and presented on different scaffolds, constitute inverse correlates of risk for HIV-1 infection in the RV144 vaccine trial. The V1V2 antigens provide a link between RV144 and upcoming HIV-1 vaccine trials, and identify reagents and methods for evaluating V1V2 Abs as possible correlates of protection against HIV-1 infection.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00223080
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087572
PMCID: PMC3913641  PMID: 24504509
2.  Increased HIV-1 vaccine efficacy against viruses with genetic signatures in Env-V2 
Nature  2012;490(7420):417-420.
Summary
The RV144 trial demonstrated 31% vaccine efficacy (VE) at preventing HIV-1 infection1. Antibodies against the HIV-1 envelope variable loops 1 and 2 (V1/V2) domain correlated inversely with infection risk2. We hypothesized that vaccine-induced immune responses against V1/V2 would selectively impact, or sieve, HIV-1 breakthrough viruses. 936 HIV-1 genome sequences from 44 vaccine and 66 placebo recipients were examined. We show that vaccine-induced immune responses were associated with two signatures in V1/V2 at amino-acid positions 169 and 181. VE against viruses matching the vaccine at position 169 was 48% (CI: 18 to 66%; p=0.0036), whereas VE against viruses mismatching the vaccine at position 181 was 78% (CI: 35% to 93%; p=0.0028). Residue 169 is in a cationic glycosylated region recognized by broadly neutralizing and RV144-derived antibodies. The predicted distance between the two signatures sites (21±7 Å), and their match/mismatch dichotomy, suggest that multiple factors may be involved in the protection observed in RV144. Genetic signatures of RV144 vaccination in V2 complement the finding of an association between high V1/V2 binding antibodies and reduced risk of HIV-1 acquisition and provide evidence that vaccine-induced V2 responses plausibly played a role in the partial protection conferred by the RV144 regimen.
doi:10.1038/nature11519
PMCID: PMC3551291  PMID: 22960785
3.  Analysis of V2 Antibody Responses Induced in Vaccinees in the ALVAC/AIDSVAX HIV-1 Vaccine Efficacy Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53629.
The RV144 clinical trial of a prime/boost immunizing regimen using recombinant canary pox (ALVAC-HIV) and two gp120 proteins (AIDSVAX B and E) was previously shown to have a 31.2% efficacy rate. Plasma specimens from vaccine and placebo recipients were used in an extensive set of assays to identify correlates of HIV-1 infection risk. Of six primary variables that were studied, only one displayed a significant inverse correlation with risk of infection: the antibody (Ab) response to a fusion protein containing the V1 and V2 regions of gp120 (gp70-V1V2). This finding prompted a thorough examination of the results generated with the complete panel of 13 assays measuring various V2 Abs in the stored plasma used in the initial pilot studies and those used in the subsequent case-control study. The studies revealed that the ALVAC-HIV/AIDSVAX vaccine induced V2-specific Abs that cross-react with multiple HIV-1 subgroups and recognize both conformational and linear epitopes. The conformational epitope was present on gp70-V1V2, while the predominant linear V2 epitope mapped to residues 165–178, immediately N-terminal to the putative α4β7 binding motif in the mid-loop region of V2. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to compare the risk of infection with data from 12 V2 assays, and in 11 of these, the ORs were ≤1, reaching statistical significance for two of the variables: Ab responses to gp70-V1V2 and to overlapping V2 linear peptides. It remains to be determined whether anti-V2 Ab responses were directly responsible for the reduced infection rate in RV144 and whether anti-V2 Abs will prove to be important with other candidate HIV vaccines that show efficacy, however, the results support continued dissection of Ab responses to the V2 region which may illuminate mechanisms of protection from HIV-1 infection and may facilitate the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053629
PMCID: PMC3547933  PMID: 23349725
4.  DNA and Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Vaccines Encoding Multiple Cytotoxic and Helper T-Lymphocyte Epitopes of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Are Safe but Weakly Immunogenic in HIV-1-Uninfected, Vaccinia Virus-Naive Adults 
We evaluated a DNA plasmid-vectored vaccine and a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara vaccine (MVA-mBN32), each encoding cytotoxic and helper T-lymphocyte epitopes of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial in 36 HIV-1-uninfected adults using a heterologous prime-boost schedule. HIV-1-specific cellular immune responses, measured as interleukin-2 and/or gamma interferon production, were induced in 1 (4%) of 28 subjects after the first MVA-mBN32 immunization and in 3 (12%) of 25 subjects after the second MVA-mBN32 immunization. Among these responders, polyfunctional T-cell responses, including the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha and perforin, were detected. Vaccinia virus-specific antibodies were induced to the MVA vector in 27 (93%) of 29 and 26 (93%) of 28 subjects after the first and second immunizations with MVA-mBN32. These peptide-based vaccines were safe but were ineffective at inducing HIV-1-specific immune responses and induced much weaker responses than MVA vaccines expressing the entire open reading frames of HIV-1 proteins.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00038-12
PMCID: PMC3346329  PMID: 22398243
5.  Immune-Correlates Analysis of an HIV-1 Vaccine Efficacy Trial 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(14):1275-1286.
BACKGROUND
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.
METHODS
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.
RESULTS
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.
CONCLUSIONS
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.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1113425
PMCID: PMC3371689  PMID: 22475592
6.  HIV-DNA priming alters T-cell responses to HIV-adenovirus vaccine even when responses to DNA are undetectable1 
Many candidate HIV vaccines are designed to primarily elicit T-cell responses. Although repeated immunization with the same vaccine boosts antibody responses, the benefit for T-cell responses is ill-defined. We compared two immunization regimens that include the same recombinant adenoviral serotype 5 (rAd5) boost. Repeated homologous rAd5 immunization fails to increase T-cell responses, but increases gp140 antibody responses ten-fold. DNA prime, as compared with rAd5 prime, directs long-term memory CD8+ T cells toward a terminally differentiated effector memory phenotype with cytotoxic potential. Based on the kinetics of activated cells measured directly ex vivo, the DNA vaccination primes for both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, despite the lack of detection of the latter until after the boost. These results suggest that heterologous prime-boost combinations have distinct immunological advantages over homologous prime-boosts, and suggest that the effect of DNA on subsequent boosting may not be easily detectable directly after the DNA vaccination.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1101421
PMCID: PMC3180898  PMID: 21844392
7.  MRKAd5 HIV-1 Gag/Pol/Nef Vaccine-Induced T-Cell Responses Inadequately Predict Distance of Breakthrough HIV-1 Sequences to the Vaccine or Viral Load 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43396.
Background
The sieve analysis for the Step trial found evidence that breakthrough HIV-1 sequences for MRKAd5/HIV-1 Gag/Pol/Nef vaccine recipients were more divergent from the vaccine insert than placebo sequences in regions with predicted epitopes. We linked the viral sequence data with immune response and acute viral load data to explore mechanisms for and consequences of the observed sieve effect.
Methods
Ninety-one male participants (37 placebo and 54 vaccine recipients) were included; viral sequences were obtained at the time of HIV-1 diagnosis. T-cell responses were measured 4 weeks post-second vaccination and at the first or second week post-diagnosis. Acute viral load was obtained at RNA-positive and antibody-negative visits.
Findings
Vaccine recipients had a greater magnitude of post-infection CD8+ T cell response than placebo recipients (median 1.68% vs 1.18%; p = 0·04) and greater breadth of post-infection response (median 4.5 vs 2; p = 0·06). Viral sequences for vaccine recipients were marginally more divergent from the insert than placebo sequences in regions of Nef targeted by pre-infection immune responses (p = 0·04; Pol p = 0·13; Gag p = 0·89). Magnitude and breadth of pre-infection responses did not correlate with distance of the viral sequence to the insert (p>0·50). Acute log viral load trended lower in vaccine versus placebo recipients (estimated mean 4·7 vs 5·1) but the difference was not significant (p = 0·27). Neither was acute viral load associated with distance of the viral sequence to the insert (p>0·30).
Interpretation
Despite evidence of anamnestic responses, the sieve effect was not well explained by available measures of T-cell immunogenicity. Sequence divergence from the vaccine was not significantly associated with acute viral load. While point estimates suggested weak vaccine suppression of viral load, the result was not significant and more viral load data would be needed to detect suppression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043396
PMCID: PMC3428369  PMID: 22952672
8.  Human adenovirus-specific T cells modulate HIV-specific T cell responses to an Ad5-vectored HIV-1 vaccine 
Recombinant viruses hold promise as vectors for vaccines to prevent infectious diseases with significant global health impacts. One of their major limitations is that preexisting anti-vector neutralizing antibodies can reduce T cell responses to the insert antigens; however, the impact of vector-specific cellular immunity on subsequent insert-specific T cell responses has not been assessed in humans. Here, we have identified and compared adenovirus-specific and HIV-specific T cell responses in subjects participating in two HIV-1 vaccine trials using a vaccine vectored by adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5). Higher frequencies of pre-immunization adenovirus-specific CD4+ T cells were associated with substantially decreased magnitude of HIV-specific CD4+ T cell responses and decreased breadth of HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses in vaccine recipients, independent of type-specific preexisting Ad5-specific neutralizing antibody titers. Further, epitopes recognized by adenovirus-specific T cells were commonly conserved across many adenovirus serotypes, suggesting that cross-reactivity of preexisting adenovirus-specific T cells can extend to adenovirus vectors derived from rare serotypes. These findings provide what we believe to be a new understanding of how preexisting viral immunity may impact the efficacy of vaccines under current evaluation for prevention of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.
doi:10.1172/JCI60202
PMCID: PMC3248307  PMID: 22201684
9.  Recurrent Signature Patterns in HIV-1 B Clade Envelope Glycoproteins Associated with either Early or Chronic Infections 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(9):e1002209.
Here we have identified HIV-1 B clade Envelope (Env) amino acid signatures from early in infection that may be favored at transmission, as well as patterns of recurrent mutation in chronic infection that may reflect common pathways of immune evasion. To accomplish this, we compared thousands of sequences derived by single genome amplification from several hundred individuals that were sampled either early in infection or were chronically infected. Samples were divided at the outset into hypothesis-forming and validation sets, and we used phylogenetically corrected statistical strategies to identify signatures, systematically scanning all of Env. Signatures included single amino acids, glycosylation motifs, and multi-site patterns based on functional or structural groupings of amino acids. We identified signatures near the CCR5 co-receptor-binding region, near the CD4 binding site, and in the signal peptide and cytoplasmic domain, which may influence Env expression and processing. Two signatures patterns associated with transmission were particularly interesting. The first was the most statistically robust signature, located in position 12 in the signal peptide. The second was the loss of an N-linked glycosylation site at positions 413–415; the presence of this site has been recently found to be associated with escape from potent and broad neutralizing antibodies, consistent with enabling a common pathway for immune escape during chronic infection. Its recurrent loss in early infection suggests it may impact fitness at the time of transmission or during early viral expansion. The signature patterns we identified implicate Env expression levels in selection at viral transmission or in early expansion, and suggest that immune evasion patterns that recur in many individuals during chronic infection when antibodies are present can be selected against when the infection is being established prior to the adaptive immune response.
Author Summary
A single virus most often establishes HIV-1 infection. As a consequence, virus sampled early in infection is usually very homogeneous. A few months into the infection, the virus begins to accumulate mutations as it evolves to evade HIV-specific immune responses mounted by the infected host. During chronic infection, the viral population diversifies, reflecting the history of mutations that arose within that infected individual. We hypothesized that particular amino acids might confer a selective advantage during transmission or early infection, and others might recur during chronic infection because they provide common and effective strategies of immune escape. We compared a large number of viral sequences from several hundred infected people sampled soon after transmission or during chronic infection to identify such infection-status “signature” patterns. A particularly robust signature was identified in the signal peptide of Envelope, a region that regulates its expression. Other signatures were found in regions of Envelope that interact with its cellular receptors, or are implicated in immune escape.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002209
PMCID: PMC3182927  PMID: 21980282
10.  Genetic impact of vaccination on breakthrough HIV-1 sequences from the Step trial 
Nature medicine  2011;17(3):366-371.
We analyzed HIV-1 genome sequences from 68 newly-infected volunteers in the Step HIV-1 vaccine trial. To determine whether the vaccine exerted selective T-cell pressure on breakthrough viruses, we identified potential T-cell epitopes in the founder sequences and compared them to epitopes in the vaccine. We found greater distances for sequences from vaccine recipients than from placebo recipients (p-values ranging from < 0.0001 to 0.09). The most significant signature site distinguishing vaccine from placebo recipients was Gag-84, a site encompassed by several epitopes contained in the vaccine and restricted by HLA alleles common in the cohort. Moreover, the extended divergence was confined to the vaccine components of the virus (Gag, Pol, Nef) and not found in other HIV-1 proteins. These results represent the first evidence of selective pressure from vaccine-induced T-cell responses on HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1038/nm.2316
PMCID: PMC3053571  PMID: 21358627
11.  Magnitude and breadth of a non-protective neutralizing antibody response in an efficacy trial of a candidate HIV-1 gp120 vaccine (AIDSVAX™ B/B) 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;202(4):595-605.
Background
A candidate vaccine consisting of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subunit gp120 protein (AIDSVAX™ B/B) was found previously to be non-protective despite strong antibody responses against the vaccine antigens. We assessed the magnitude and breadth of neutralizing antibody responses in this trial.
Methods
Neutralizing antibodies were measured against highly sensitive (tier 1) and moderately sensitive (tier 2) strains of HIV-1 subtype B in two independent assays. Vaccine recipients were stratified by gender, race and high versus low behavioral risk of HIV-1 acquisition.
Results
Most vaccine recipients mounted potent neutralizing antibody responses against HIV-1MN and a subset of other tier 1 viruses. Occasional weak neutralizing activity was detected against tier 2 viruses. The response against tier 1 and tier 2 viruses was significantly stronger in women than in men. Race and behavioral risk of HIV-1 acquisition had no significant effect on the response. Prior vaccination had little effect on the neutralizing antibody response that arose post infection.
Conclusions
Weak overall neutralizing antibody responses against tier 2 viruses is consistent with a lack of protection in this trial. The magnitude and breadth of neutralization reported here should be useful for identifying improved vaccines.
doi:10.1086/654816
PMCID: PMC2946208  PMID: 20608874
HIV; vaccines; antibodies
12.  A novel HIV T helper epitope-based vaccine elicits cytokine-secreting HIV-specific CD4+ T cells in a phase I clinical trial in HIV-uninfected adults 
Vaccine  2009;27(50):7080-7086.
A Phase I human vaccine trial of a novel polypeptide vaccine of HIV T helper epitopes (EP-1043) and a DNA vaccine of HIV CTL epitopes was conducted in 84 healthy adult volunteers. The vaccine immunogenicity was assessed by an intracellular cytokine staining assay for IL-2, IL-4, TNFα and IFNγ. Sixty eight percent (32/47) of subjects had a positive CD4+ T response after receiving two vaccinations of the polypeptide vaccine. The responding CD4+ T cells made various combinations of IL-2, IL-4, IFN-γ, and TNF-α. The study demonstrated that the EP-1043 vaccine is safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.09.060
PMCID: PMC2784203  PMID: 19786145
HIV vaccine; T helper epitopes; phase I clinical trial
13.  Antibody Specificities Associated with Neutralization Breadth in Plasma from Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Subtype C-Infected Blood Donors▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(17):8925-8937.
Defining the specificities of the anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope antibodies able to mediate broad heterologous neutralization will assist in identifying targets for an HIV-1 vaccine. We screened 70 plasmas from chronically HIV-1-infected individuals for neutralization breadth. Of these, 16 (23%) were found to neutralize 80% or more of the viruses tested. Anti-CD4 binding site (CD4bs) antibodies were found in almost all plasmas independent of their neutralization breadth, but they mainly mediated neutralization of the laboratory strain HxB2 with little effect on the primary virus, Du151. Adsorption with Du151 monomeric gp120 reduced neutralizing activity to some extent in most plasma samples when tested against the matched virus, although these antibodies did not always confer cross-neutralization. For one plasma, this activity was mapped to a site overlapping the CD4-induced (CD4i) epitope and CD4bs. Anti-membrane-proximal external region (MPER) (r = 0.69; P < 0.001) and anti-CD4i (r = 0.49; P < 0.001) antibody titers were found to be correlated with the neutralization breadth. These anti-MPER antibodies were not 4E10- or 2F5-like but spanned the 4E10 epitope. Furthermore, we found that anti-cardiolipin antibodies were correlated with the neutralization breadth (r = 0.67; P < 0.001) and anti-MPER antibodies (r = 0.6; P < 0.001). Our study suggests that more than one epitope on the envelope glycoprotein is involved in the cross-reactive neutralization elicited during natural HIV-1 infection, many of which are yet to be determined, and that polyreactive antibodies are possibly involved in this phenomenon.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00758-09
PMCID: PMC2738176  PMID: 19553335
14.  AIDSVAX Immunization Induces HIV-specific CD8+ T-cell Responses in High-risk, HIV-negative Volunteers Who Subsequently Acquire HIV Infection12 
Vaccine  2008;27(7):1136-1140.
Correlates of immune protection from HIV vaccines remain undefined. The first HIV vaccine efficacy trial in the US and Europe VAX004, was designed to assess whether rgp120 envelope subunits (AIDSVAX B/B, VaxGen) can induce partial or complete protection from HIV-1 infection. No effectiveness in the reduction of either the acquisition of infection or levels of plasma viremia after HIV infection was noted. We found evidence of vaccine-specific CD8+ T cells in volunteers who received the vaccine, regardless of behavioral risk. Surprisingly, the CD8-response is significantly higher in participants who would go on to contract HIV infection. These results suggest that AIDSVAX immunization may boost preexisting immune responses—due to pre-infection exposure, and a vaccine-induced immune profile may serve as a biological marker for HIV susceptibility.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.11.071
PMCID: PMC2676722  PMID: 19071176
15.  Induction of a Striking Systemic Cytokine Cascade prior to Peak Viremia in Acute Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection, in Contrast to More Modest and Delayed Responses in Acute Hepatitis B and C Virus Infections ▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(8):3719-3733.
Characterization of the immune responses induced in the initial stages of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is of critical importance for an understanding of early viral pathogenesis and prophylactic vaccine design. Here, we used sequential plasma samples collected during the eclipse and exponential viral expansion phases from subjects acquiring HIV-1 (or, for comparison, hepatitis B virus [HBV]or hepatitis C virus [HCV]) to determine the nature and kinetics of the earliest systemic elevations in cytokine and chemokine levels in each infection. Plasma viremia was quantitated over time, and levels of 30 cytokines and chemokines were measured using Luminex-based multiplex assays and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The increase in plasma viremia in acute HIV-1 infection was found to be associated with elevations in plasma levels of multiple cytokines and chemokines, including rapid and transient elevations in alpha interferon (IFN-α) and interleukin-15 (IL-15) levels; a large increase in inducible protein 10 (IP-10) levels; rapid and more-sustained increases in tumor necrosis factor alpha and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 levels; more slowly initiated elevations in levels of additional proinflammatory factors including IL-6, IL-8, IL-18, and IFN-γ; and a late-peaking increase in levels of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10. Notably, there was comparatively little perturbation in plasma cytokine levels during the same phase of HBV infection and a delayed response of more intermediate magnitude in acute HCV infection, indicating that the rapid activation of a striking systemic cytokine cascade is not a prerequisite for viral clearance (which occurs in a majority of HBV-infected individuals). The intense early cytokine storm in acute HIV-1 infection may have immunopathological consequences, promoting immune activation, viral replication, and CD4+ T-cell loss.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01844-08
PMCID: PMC2663284  PMID: 19176632
16.  Initial B-Cell Responses to Transmitted Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1: Virion-Binding Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG Antibodies Followed by Plasma Anti-gp41 Antibodies with Ineffective Control of Initial Viremia▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(24):12449-12463.
A window of opportunity for immune responses to extinguish human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) exists from the moment of transmission through establishment of the latent pool of HIV-1-infected cells. A critical time to study the initial immune responses to the transmitted/founder virus is the eclipse phase of HIV-1 infection (time from transmission to the first appearance of plasma virus), but, to date, this period has been logistically difficult to analyze. To probe B-cell responses immediately following HIV-1 transmission, we have determined envelope-specific antibody responses to autologous and consensus Envs in plasma donors from the United States for whom frequent plasma samples were available at time points immediately before, during, and after HIV-1 plasma viral load (VL) ramp-up in acute infection, and we have modeled the antibody effect on the kinetics of plasma viremia. The first detectable B-cell response was in the form of immune complexes 8 days after plasma virus detection, whereas the first free plasma anti-HIV-1 antibody was to gp41 and appeared 13 days after the appearance of plasma virus. In contrast, envelope gp120-specific antibodies were delayed an additional 14 days. Mathematical modeling of the earliest viral dynamics was performed to determine the impact of antibody on HIV replication in vivo as assessed by plasma VL. Including the initial anti-gp41 immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgM, or both responses in the model did not significantly impact the early dynamics of plasma VL. These results demonstrate that the first IgM and IgG antibodies induced by transmitted HIV-1 are capable of binding virions but have little impact on acute-phase viremia at the timing and magnitude that they occur in natural infection.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01708-08
PMCID: PMC2593361  PMID: 18842730

Results 1-16 (16)