Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (64)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
Document Types
2.  Cooperation of B Cell Lineages in Induction of HIV-1-Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies 
Cell  2014;158(3):481-491.
Development of strategies for induction of HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) by vaccines is a priority. Determining the steps of bnAb induction in HIV-1-infected individuals who make bnAbs is a key strategy for immunogen design. Here we study the B cell response in a bnAb-producing individual, and report cooperation between two B cell lineages to drive bnAb development. We isolated an autologous virus-neutralizing antibody lineage that targeted an envelope region (loop D) and selected virus escape mutants that resulted in both enhanced bnAb lineage envelope binding and escape mutant neutralization—traits associated with increased B cell antigen drive. Thus, in this individual, two B cell lineages cooperated to induce the development of bnAbs. Design of vaccine immunogens that simultaneously drive both autologous and broadly neutralizing B cell lineages may be important for vaccine-induced recapitulation of events that transpire during the maturation of neutralizing antibodies in HIV-1-infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC4150607  PMID: 25065977
3.  Progress in HIV-1 Vaccine Development 
The past two years have seen a number of basic and translational science advances in the quest for development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine. These advances include discovery of new envelope (Env) targets of potentially protective antibodies, demonstration that CD8+ T cells can control HIV-1 infection, development of immunogens to overcome HIV-1 T cell epitope diversity, identification of correlates of transmission risk in an HIV-1 efficacy trial, and mapping the co-evolution of HIV-1 founder Env mutants in infected individuals who develop bnAbs, thereby defining broad neutralizing antibody (bnAb) developmental pathways. Despite these advances, a promising HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial published in 2013 failed to prevent infection, and the HIV-1 vaccine field is still years away from deployment of an effective vaccine. This review summarizes what some of the scientific advances have been, what roadblocks still remain, and what the most promising approaches are for progress in design of successful HIV-1 vaccine candidates.
PMCID: PMC4133697  PMID: 25117798
HIV-1; vaccine; T cells; B cells; broadly neutralizing antibodies
4.  Leukopak PBMC Sample Processing for Preparing Quality Control Material to Support Proficiency Testing Programs 
External proficiency testing programs designed to evaluate the performance of end-point laboratories involved in vaccine and therapeutic clinical trials form an important part of clinical trial quality assurance. Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) guidelines recommend both assay validation and proficiency testing for assays being used in clinical trials, and such testing is facilitated by the availability of large numbers of well-characterized test samples. These samples can be distributed to laboratories participating in these programs and allow monitoring of laboratory performance over time and among participating sites when results are obtained with samples derived from a large master set. The leukapheresis procedure provides an ideal way to collect samples from participants that can meet the required number of cells to support these activities. The collection and processing of leukapheresis samples requires tight coordination between the clinical and laboratory teams to collect, process, and cryopreserve large number of samples within the established ideal time of ≤8 hours. Here, we describe our experience with a leukapheresis cryopreseration program that has been able to preserve the functionality of cellular subsets and that provides the sample numbers necessary to run an external proficiency testing program.
PMCID: PMC4138237  PMID: 24928650
5.  The External Quality Assurance Oversight Laboratory (EQAPOL) Proficiency Program for IFN-gamma Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSpot (IFN-γ ELISpot) assay 
The Interferon-gamma Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSpot (IFN-γ ELISpot) assay has been developed and used as an end-point assay in clinical trials for infectious diseases and cancer to detect the magnitude of antigen-specific immune responses. The ability to compare data generated by different laboratories across organizations is pivotal to understand the relative potency of different therapeutic and vaccine strategies. We developed an external proficiency program for the IFN-γ ELISpot assay that evaluates the laboratory performance based on five parameters: timeliness for data reporting; ability to handle cellular samples; detection of background (non-specific) responses; accuracy to consensus of the results; and precision of the measurements. Points are awarded for each criterion, and the sum of the points is used to determine a numeric and adjectival performance rating. Importantly, the evaluation of the accuracy to the consensus mean for the detection of antigen-specific responses using laboratory-specific procedures informs each laboratory and its sponsor on the degree of concordance of its results with those obtained by other laboratories. This study will ultimately provide the scientific community with information on how to organize and implement an external proficiency program to evaluate longitudinally the performance of the participating laboratories and, therefore, fulfill the requirements of the GCLP guidelines for laboratories performing end-point IFN-γ ELISpot assay for clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC4138255  PMID: 24685833
6.  The Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) Multi-site Quality Assurance Program for Cryopreserved Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells 
The Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) consortium was established to determine the host and virus factors associated with HIV transmission, infection and containment of virus replication, with the goal of advancing the development of an HIV protective vaccine. Studies to meet this goal required the use of cryopreserved Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell (PBMC) specimens, and therefore it was imperative that a quality assurance (QA) oversight program be developed to monitor PBMC samples obtained from study participants at multiple international sites. Nine site-affiliated laboratories in Africa and the USA collected and processed PBMCs, and cryopreserved PBMC were shipped to CHAVI repositories in Africa and the USA for long-term storage. A three-stage program was designed, based on Good Clinical Laboratory Practices (GCLP), to monitor PBMC integrity at each step of this process. The first stage evaluated the integrity of fresh PBMCs for initial viability, overall yield, and processing time at the site-affiliated laboratories (Stage 1); for the second stage, the repositories determined post-thaw viability and cell recovery of cryopreserved PBMC, received from the site-affiliated laboratories (Stage 2); the third stage assessed the long-term specimen storage at each repository (Stage 3). Overall, the CHAVI PBMC QA oversight program results highlight the relative importance of each of these stages to the ultimate goal of preserving specimen integrity from peripheral blood collection to long-term repository storage.
PMCID: PMC4138272  PMID: 24910414
cellular immunity; cryopreservation; vaccine; human clinical trials; PBMC; HIV; biorepository
7.  Potent Functional Antibody Responses Elicited by HIV-I DNA Priming and Boosting with Heterologous HIV-1 Recombinant MVA in Healthy Tanzanian Adults 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0118486.
Vaccine-induced HIV antibodies were evaluated in serum samples collected from healthy Tanzanian volunteers participating in a phase I/II placebo-controlled double blind trial using multi-clade, multigene HIV-DNA priming and recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (HIV-MVA) virus boosting (HIVIS03). The HIV-DNA vaccine contained plasmids expressing HIV-1 gp160 subtypes A, B, C, Rev B, Gag A, B and RTmut B, and the recombinant HIV-MVA boost expressed CRF01_AE HIV-1 Env subtype E and Gag-Pol subtype A. While no neutralizing antibodies were detected using pseudoviruses in the TZM-bl cell assay, this prime-boost vaccination induced neutralizing antibodies in 83% of HIVIS03 vaccinees when a peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) assay using luciferase reporter-infectious molecular clones (LucR-IMC) was employed. The serum neutralizing activity was significantly (but not completely) reduced upon depletion of natural killer (NK) cells from PBMC (p=0.006), indicating a role for antibody-mediated Fcγ-receptor function. High levels of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)-mediating antibodies against CRF01_AE and/or subtype B were subsequently demonstrated in 97% of the sera of vaccinees. The magnitude of ADCC-mediating antibodies against CM235 CRF01_AE IMC-infected cells correlated with neutralizing antibodies against CM235 in the IMC/PBMC assay. In conclusion, HIV-DNA priming, followed by two HIV-MVA boosts elicited potent ADCC responses in a high proportion of Tanzanian vaccinees. Our findings highlight the potential of HIV-DNA prime HIV-MVA boost vaccines for induction of functional antibody responses and suggest this vaccine regimen and ADCC studies as potentially important new avenues in HIV vaccine development.
Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials ISRCTN90053831
The Pan African Clinical Trials Registry ATMR2009040001075080 (currently PACTR2009040001075080)
PMCID: PMC4396991  PMID: 25874723
8.  Identification of Effective Subdominant Anti-HIV-1 CD8+ T Cells Within Entire Post-infection and Post-vaccination Immune Responses 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(2):e1004658.
Defining the components of an HIV immunogen that could induce effective CD8+ T cell responses is critical to vaccine development. We addressed this question by investigating the viral targets of CD8+ T cells that potently inhibit HIV replication in vitro, as this is highly predictive of virus control in vivo. We observed broad and potent ex vivo CD8+ T cell-mediated viral inhibitory activity against a panel of HIV isolates among viremic controllers (VC, viral loads <5000 copies/ml), in contrast to unselected HIV-infected HIV Vaccine trials Network (HVTN) participants. Viral inhibition of clade-matched HIV isolates was strongly correlated with the frequency of CD8+ T cells targeting vulnerable regions within Gag, Pol, Nef and Vif that had been identified in an independent study of nearly 1000 chronically infected individuals. These vulnerable and so-called “beneficial” regions were of low entropy overall, yet several were not predicted by stringent conservation algorithms. Consistent with this, stronger inhibition of clade-matched than mismatched viruses was observed in the majority of subjects, indicating better targeting of clade-specific than conserved epitopes. The magnitude of CD8+ T cell responses to beneficial regions, together with viral entropy and HLA class I genotype, explained up to 59% of the variation in viral inhibitory activity, with magnitude of the T cell response making the strongest unique contribution. However, beneficial regions were infrequently targeted by CD8+ T cells elicited by vaccines encoding full-length HIV proteins, when the latter were administered to healthy volunteers and HIV-positive ART-treated subjects, suggesting that immunodominance hierarchies undermine effective anti-HIV CD8+ T cell responses. Taken together, our data support HIV immunogen design that is based on systematic selection of empirically defined vulnerable regions within the viral proteome, with exclusion of immunodominant decoy epitopes that are irrelevant for HIV control.
Author Summary
Attempts to develop an HIV vaccine that elicits potent cell-mediated immunity have so far been unsuccessful. This is due in part to the use of immunogens that appear to recapitulate responses induced naturally by HIV that are, at best, partially effective. We previously showed that the capacity of CD8+ T cells from patients to block HIV replication in culture is strongly correlated with HIV control in vivo, therefore, we investigated the virological determinants of potent CD8+ T cell inhibitory activity. We observed that CD8+ T cells from patients with naturally low plasma viral loads (viremic controllers) were better able to inhibit the replication of diverse HIV strains in vitro than CD8+ T cells from HIV-noncontroller patients. Importantly, we also found that the potency of the antiviral activity in the latter group was strongly correlated with recognition of selected regions across the viral proteome that are critical to viral fitness. Vaccines that encode full-length viral proteins rarely elicited responses to these vulnerable regions. Taken together, our results provide insight into the characteristics of effective cell-mediated immune responses against HIV and how these may inform the design of better immunogens.
PMCID: PMC4344337  PMID: 25723536
9.  Vaccine-Induced HIV-1 Envelope gp120 Constant Region 1-Specific Antibodies Expose a CD4-Inducible Epitope and Block the Interaction of HIV-1 gp140 with Galactosylceramide 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(16):9406-9417.
Mucosal epithelial cell surface galactosylceramide (Galcer) has been postulated to be a receptor for HIV-1 envelope (Env) interactions with mucosal epithelial cells. Disruption of the HIV-1 Env interaction with such alternate receptors could be one strategy to prevent HIV-1 entry through the mucosal barrier. To study antibody modulation of HIV-1 Env-Galcer interactions, we used Galcer-containing liposomes to assess whether natural- and vaccine-induced monoclonal antibodies can block HIV-1 Env binding to Galcer. HIV-1 Env gp140 proteins bound to Galcer liposomes with Kds (dissociation constants) in the nanomolar range. Several HIV-1 ALVAC/AIDSVAX vaccinee-derived monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for the gp120 first constant (C1) region blocked Galcer binding of a transmitted/founder HIV-1 Env gp140. Among the C1-specific MAbs that showed Galcer blocking, the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity-mediating CH38 IgG and its natural IgA isotype were the most potent blocking antibodies. C1-specific IgG monoclonal antibodies that blocked Env binding to Galcer induced upregulation of the gp120 CD4-inducible (CD4i) epitope bound by MAb 17B, demonstrating that a conformational change in gp120 may be required for Galcer blocking. However, the MAb 17B itself did not block Env-Galcer binding, suggesting that the C1 antibody-induced gp120 conformational changes resulted in alteration in a Galcer binding site distant from the CD4i 17B MAb binding site.
IMPORTANCE Galactosyl ceramide, a glycosphingolipid, has been postulated to be a receptor for the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) interaction with mucosal epithelial cells. Here, we have mimicked this interaction by using an artificial membrane containing synthetic Galcer and recombinant HIV-1 Env proteins to identify antibodies that would block the HIV-1 Env-Galcer interaction. Our study revealed that a class of vaccine-induced human antibodies potently blocks HIV-1 Env-Galcer binding by perturbing the HIV-1 Env conformation.
PMCID: PMC4136246  PMID: 24920809
10.  Aggregate complexes of HIV-1 induced by multimeric antibodies 
Retrovirology  2014;11:78.
Antibody mediated viral aggregation may impede viral transfer across mucosal surfaces by hindering viral movement in mucus, preventing transcytosis, or reducing inter-cellular penetration of epithelia thereby limiting access to susceptible mucosal CD4 T cells and dendritic cells. These functions may work together to provide effective immune exclusion of virus from mucosal tissue; however little is known about the antibody characteristics required to induce HIV aggregation. Such knowledge may be critical to the design of successful immunization strategies to facilitate viral immune exclusion at the mucosal portals of entry.
The potential of neutralizing and non-neutralizing IgG and IgA monoclonals (mAbs) to induce HIV-1 aggregation was assessed by Dynamic light scattering (DLS). Although neutralizing and non-neutralizing IgG mAbs and polyclonal HIV-Ig efficiently aggregated soluble Env trimers, they were not capable of forming viral aggregates. In contrast, dimeric (but not monomeric) IgA mAbs induced stable viral aggregate populations that could be separated from uncomplexed virions. Epitope specificity influenced both the degree of aggregation and formation of higher order complexes by dIgA. IgA purified from serum of uninfected RV144 vaccine trial responders were able to efficiently opsonize viral particles in the absence of significant aggregation, reflective of monomeric IgA.
These results collectively demonstrate that dIgA is capable of forming stable viral aggregates providing a plausible basis for testing the effectiveness of aggregation as a potential protection mechanism at the mucosal portals of viral entry.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12977-014-0078-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4193994  PMID: 25274446
HIV-1; Mucosal immunity; Immunoglobulin A; Aggregation
11.  Vaccine-Induced Env V1–V2 IgG3 Correlates with Lower HIV-1 Infection Risk and Declines Soon After Vaccination 
Science translational medicine  2014;6(228):228ra39.
HIV-1–specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclass antibodies bind to distinct cellular Fc receptors. Antibodies of the same epitope specificity but of a different subclass therefore can have different antibody effector functions. The study of IgG subclass profiles between different vaccine regimens used in clinical trials with divergent efficacy outcomes can provide information on the quality of the vaccine-induced B cell response. We show that HIV-1–specific IgG3 distinguished two HIV-1 vaccine efficacy studies (RV144 and VAX003 clinical trials) and correlated with decreased risk of HIV-1 infection in a blinded follow-up case-control study with the RV144 vaccine. HIV-1–specific IgG3 responses were not long-lived, which was consistent with the waning efficacy of the RV144 vaccine. These data suggest that specific vaccine-induced HIV-1 IgG3 should be tested in future studies of immune correlates in HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trials.
PMCID: PMC4116665  PMID: 24648342
12.  Establishment and maintenance of a PBMC repository for functional cellular studies in support of clinical vaccine trials 
A large repository of cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) samples was created to provide laboratories testing the specimens from human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) vaccine clinical trials the material for assay development, optimization, and validation. One hundred thirty-one PBMC samples were collected using leukapheresis procedure between 2007 and 2013 by the Comprehensive T cell Vaccine Immune Monitoring Consortium core repository. The donors included 83 human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) seronegative and 32 HIV-1 seropositive subjects. The samples were extensively characterized for the ability of T cell subsets to respond to recall viral antigens including cytomegalovirus, Epstein– Barr virus, influenza virus, and HIV-1 using Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) enzyme linked immunospot (ELISpot) and IFN-γ/interleukin 2 (IL-2) intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) assays. A subset of samples was evaluated over time to determine the integrity of the cryopreserved samples in relation to recovery, viability, and functionality. The principal results of our study demonstrate that viable and functional cells were consistently recovered from the cryopreserved samples. Therefore, we determined that this repository of large size cryopreserved cellular samples constitutes a unique resource for laboratories that are involved in optimization and validation of assays to evaluate T, B, and NK cellular functions in the context of clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC4152919  PMID: 24787274
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Cryopreservation; Repository
13.  Toll-Like Receptor 7/8 (TLR7/8) and TLR9 Agonists Cooperate To Enhance HIV-1 Envelope Antibody Responses in Rhesus Macaques 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(6):3329-3339.
The development of a vaccine that can induce high titers of functional antibodies against HIV-1 remains a high priority. We have developed an adjuvant based on an oil-in-water emulsion that incorporates Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands to test whether triggering multiple pathogen-associated molecular pattern receptors could enhance immunogenicity. Compared to single TLR agonists or other pairwise combinations, TLR7/8 and TLR9 agonists combined were able to elicit the highest titers of binding, neutralizing, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity-mediating antibodies against the protein immunogen, transmitted/founder HIV-1 envelope gp140 (B.63521). We further found that the combination of TLR7/8 and TLR9 agonists was associated with the release of CXCL10 (IP-10), suggesting that this adjuvant formulation may have optimally stimulated innate and adaptive immunity to elicit high titers of antibodies.
IMPORTANCE Combining TLR agonists in an adjuvant formulation resulted in higher antibody levels compared to an adjuvant without TLR agonists. Adjuvants that combine TLR agonists may be useful for enhancing antibody responses to HIV-1 vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3957956  PMID: 24390332
14.  Interaction with Cellular CD4 Exposes HIV-1 Envelope Epitopes Targeted by Antibody-Dependent Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(5):2633-2644.
Anti-HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) antibodies without broadly neutralizing activity correlated with protection in the RV144 clinical trial, stimulating interest in other protective mechanisms involving antibodies, such as antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Env epitopes targeted by many antibodies effective at mediating ADCC are poorly exposed on the unliganded Env trimer. Here we investigated the mechanism of exposure of ADCC epitopes on Env and showed that binding of Env and CD4 within the same HIV-1-infected cell effectively exposes these epitopes. Env capacity to transit to the CD4-bound conformation is required for ADCC epitope exposure. Importantly, cell surface CD4 downregulation by Nef and Vpu accessory proteins and Vpu-mediated BST-2 antagonism modulate exposure of ADCC-mediating epitopes and reduce the susceptibility of infected cells to this effector function in vitro. Significantly, Env conformational changes induced by cell surface CD4 are conserved among Env from HIV-1 and HIV-2/SIVmac lineages. Altogether, our observations describe a highly conserved mechanism required to expose ADCC epitopes that might help explain the evolutionary advantage of downregulation of cell surface CD4 by the HIV-1 Vpu and Nef proteins.
IMPORTANCE HIV-1 envelope epitopes targeted by many antibodies effective at mediating antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) are poorly exposed on the unliganded envelope trimer. Here we investigated the mechanism of exposure of these epitopes and found that envelope interaction with the HIV-1 CD4 receptor is required to expose some of these epitopes. Moreover, our results suggest that HIV-1 CD4 downregulation might help avoid the killing of HIV-1-infected cells by this immune mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3958102  PMID: 24352444
15.  Transcriptional and Posttranscriptional Regulation of Cytokine Gene Expression in HIV-1 Antigen-Specific CD8+ T Cells That Mediate Virus Inhibition 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(17):9514-9528.
The ability of CD8+ T cells to effectively limit HIV-1 replication and block HIV-1 acquisition is determined by the capacity to rapidly respond to HIV-1 antigens. Understanding both the functional properties and regulation of an effective CD8+ response would enable better evaluation of T cell-directed vaccine strategies and may inform the design of new therapies. We assessed the antigen specificity, cytokine signature, and mechanisms that regulate antiviral gene expression in CD8+ T cells from a cohort of HIV-1-infected virus controllers (VCs) (<5,000 HIV-1 RNA copies/ml and CD4+ lymphocyte counts of >400 cells/μl) capable of soluble inhibition of HIV-1. Gag p24 and Nef CD8+ T cell-specific soluble virus inhibition was common among the VCs and correlated with substantial increases in the abundance of mRNAs encoding the antiviral cytokines macrophage inflammatory proteins MIP-1α, MIP-1αP (CCL3L1), and MIP-1β; granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); lymphotactin (XCL1); tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 9 (TNFRSF9); and gamma interferon (IFN-γ). The induction of several of these mRNAs was driven through a coordinated response of both increased transcription and stabilization of mRNA, which together accounted for the observed increase in mRNA abundance. This coordinated response allows rapid and robust induction of mRNA messages that can enhance the CD8+ T cells' ability to inhibit virus upon antigen encounter.
IMPORTANCE We show that mRNA stability, in addition to transcription, is key in regulating the direct anti-HIV-1 function of antigen-specific memory CD8+ T cells. Regulation at the level of RNA helps enable rapid recall of memory CD8+ T cell effector functions for HIV-1 inhibition. By uncovering and understanding the mechanisms employed by CD8+ T cell subsets with antigen-specific anti-HIV-1 activity, we can identify new strategies for comprehensive identification of other important antiviral genes. This will, in turn, enhance our ability to inhibit virus replication by informing both cure strategies and HIV-1 vaccine designs that aim to reduce transmission and can aid in blocking HIV-1 acquisition.
PMCID: PMC4136361  PMID: 24899193
16.  FCGR2C polymorphisms associate with HIV-1 vaccine protection in RV144 trial 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(9):3879-3890.
The phase III RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial estimated vaccine efficacy (VE) to be 31.2%. This trial demonstrated that the presence of HIV-1–specific IgG-binding Abs to envelope (Env) V1V2 inversely correlated with infection risk, while the presence of Env-specific plasma IgA Abs directly correlated with risk of HIV-1 infection. Moreover, Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity responses inversely correlated with risk of infection in vaccine recipients with low IgA; therefore, we hypothesized that vaccine-induced Fc receptor–mediated (FcR-mediated) Ab function is indicative of vaccine protection. We sequenced exons and surrounding areas of FcR-encoding genes and found one FCGR2C tag SNP (rs114945036) that associated with VE against HIV-1 subtype CRF01_AE, with lysine at position 169 (169K) in the V2 loop (CRF01_AE 169K). Individuals carrying CC in this SNP had an estimated VE of 15%, while individuals carrying CT or TT exhibited a VE of 91%. Furthermore, the rs114945036 SNP was highly associated with 3 other FCGR2C SNPs (rs138747765, rs78603008, and rs373013207). Env-specific IgG and IgG3 Abs, IgG avidity, and neutralizing Abs inversely correlated with CRF01_AE 169K HIV-1 infection risk in the CT- or TT-carrying vaccine recipients only. These data suggest a potent role of Fc-γ receptors and Fc-mediated Ab function in conferring protection from transmission risk in the RV144 VE trial.
PMCID: PMC4151214  PMID: 25105367
17.  Immunological and Virological Mechanisms of Vaccine-Mediated Protection Against SIV and HIV 
Nature  2013;505(7484):502-508.
A major challenge for the development of a highly effective AIDS vaccine is the identification of mechanisms of protective immunity. To address this question, we used a non-human primate challenge model with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). We show that antibodies to the SIV Envelope are necessary and sufficient to prevent infection. Moreover, sequencing of viruses from breakthrough infections revealed selective pressure against neutralization-sensitive viruses; we identified a two amino acid signature that alters antigenicity and confers neutralization resistance. A similar signature confers resistance of HIV-1 to neutralization by monoclonal antibodies against variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2), suggesting that SIV and HIV share a fundamental mechanism of immune escape from vaccine- or naturally-elicited antibodies. These analyses provide insight into the limited efficacy seen in HIV vaccine trials.
PMCID: PMC3946913  PMID: 24352234
18.  HIV-1 Vaccine-Induced C1 and V2 Env-Specific Antibodies Synergize for Increased Antiviral Activities 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(14):7715-7726.
The RV144 ALVAC/AIDSVax HIV-1 vaccine clinical trial showed an estimated vaccine efficacy of 31.2%. Viral genetic analysis identified a vaccine-induced site of immune pressure in the HIV-1 envelope (Env) variable region 2 (V2) focused on residue 169, which is included in the epitope recognized by vaccinee-derived V2 monoclonal antibodies. The ALVAC/AIDSVax vaccine induced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against the Env V2 and constant 1 (C1) regions. In the presence of low IgA Env antibody levels, plasma levels of ADCC activity correlated with lower risk of infection. In this study, we demonstrate that C1 and V2 monoclonal antibodies isolated from RV144 vaccinees synergized for neutralization, infectious virus capture, and ADCC. Importantly, synergy increased the HIV-1 ADCC activity of V2 monoclonal antibody CH58 at concentrations similar to that observed in plasma of RV144 vaccinees. These findings raise the hypothesis that synergy among vaccine-induced antibodies with different epitope specificities contributes to HIV-1 antiviral antibody responses and is important to induce for reduction in the risk of HIV-1 transmission.
IMPORTANCE The Thai RV144 ALVAC/AIDSVax prime-boost vaccine efficacy trial represents the only example of HIV-1 vaccine efficacy in humans to date. Studies aimed at identifying immune correlates involved in the modest vaccine-mediated protection identified HIV-1 envelope (Env) variable region 2-binding antibodies as inversely correlated with infection risk, and genetic analysis identified a site of immune pressure within the region recognized by these antibodies. Despite this evidence, the antiviral mechanisms by which variable region 2-specific antibodies may have contributed to lower rates of infection remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that vaccine-induced HIV-1 envelope variable region 2 and constant region 1 antibodies synergize for recognition of virus-infected cells, infectious virion capture, virus neutralization, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. This is a major step in understanding how these types of antibodies may have cooperatively contributed to reducing infection risk and should be considered in the context of prospective vaccine design.
PMCID: PMC4097802  PMID: 24807721
19.  The Human Antibody Response to the Surface of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98938.
Vaccine-induced human antibodies to surface components of Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumonia are correlated with protection. Monoclonal antibodies to surface components of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are also protective in animal models. We have characterized human antibodies that bind to the surface of live M. tuberculosis.
Plasma from humans with latent tuberculosis (TB) infection (n = 23), active TB disease (n = 40), and uninfected controls (n = 9) were assayed by ELISA for reactivity to the live M. tuberculosis surface and to inactivated M. tuberculosis fractions (whole cell lysate, lipoarabinomannan, cell wall, and secreted proteins).
When compared to uninfected controls, patients with active TB disease had higher antibody titers to the surface of live M. tuberculosis (Δ = 0.72 log10), whole cell lysate (Δ = 0.82 log10), and secreted proteins (Δ = 0.62 log10), though there was substantial overlap between the two groups. Individuals with active disease had higher relative IgG avidity (Δ = 1.4 to 2.6) to all inactivated fractions. Surprisingly, the relative IgG avidity to the live M. tuberculosis surface was lower in the active disease group than in uninfected controls (Δ = –1.53, p = 0.004). Patients with active disease had higher IgG than IgM titers for all inactivated fractions (ratios, 2.8 to 10.1), but equal IgG and IgM titers to the live M. tuberculosis surface (ratio, 1.1). Higher antibody titers to the M. tuberculosis surface were observed in active disease patients who were BCG-vaccinated (Δ = 0.55 log10, p = 0.008), foreign-born (Δ = 0.61 log10, p = 0.004), or HIV-seronegative (Δ = 0.60 log10, p = 0.04). Higher relative IgG avidity scores to the M. tuberculosis surface were also observed in active disease patients who were BCG-vaccinated (Δ = 1.12, p<0.001) and foreign-born (Δ = 0.87, p = 0.01).
Humans with active TB disease produce antibodies to the surface of M. tuberculosis with low avidity and with a low IgG/IgM ratio. Highly-avid IgG antibodies to the M. tuberculosis surface may be an appropriate target for future TB vaccines.
PMCID: PMC4053328  PMID: 24918450
20.  Antiretroviral therapy initiated during acute HIV infection fails to prevent persistent T cell activation 
Initiation of ART during acute HIV-1 infection may prevent persistent immune activation. We analyzed longitudinal CD38+HLA-DR+ CD8+ T cell percentages in 31 acutely infected individuals who started early (median 43 days since infection) and successful ART, and maintained viral suppression through 96 weeks. Pre-therapy a median of 72.6% CD8+ T cells were CD38+HLA-DR+, and while this decreased to 15.6% by 96 weeks, it remained substantially higher than seronegative controls (median 8.9%, p=0.008). Shorter time to suppression predicted lower activation at 96 weeks. These results support the hypothesis that very early events in HIV-1 pathogenesis may result in prolonged immune dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3683110  PMID: 23314410
acute HIV infection; antiretroviral therapy; immune activation; viral dynamics; NNRTIs
21.  Vaccine Induction of Antibodies Against a Structurally Heterogeneous Site of Immune Pressure within HIV-1 Envelope Protein Variable Regions 1 and 2 
Immunity  2013;38(1):176-186.
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.
PMCID: PMC3569735  PMID: 23313589
22.  Epitope Specificity of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity [ADCC] Responses 
Current HIV Research  2013;11(5):378-387.
Antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity [ADCC] has been suggested to play an important role in control of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 [HIV-1] viral load and protection from infection. ADCC antibody responses have been mapped to multiple linear and conformational epitopes within the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins gp120 and gp41. Many epitopes targeted by antibodies that mediate ADCC overlap with those recognized by antibodies capable of virus neutralization. In addition, recent studies conducted with human monoclonal antibodies derived from HIV-1 infected individuals and HIV-1 vaccine-candidate vaccinees have identified a number of antibodies that lack the ability to capture primary HIV-1 isolates or mediate neutralizing activity, but are able to bind to the surface of infected CD4+ T cells and mediate ADCC. Of note, the conformational changes in the gp120 that may not exclusively relate to binding of the CD4 molecule are important in exposing epitopes recognized by ADCC responses. Here we discuss the HIV-1 envelope epitopes targeted by ADCC antibodies in the context of the potential protective capacities of ADCC.
PMCID: PMC3878369  PMID: 24191939
AIDS vaccines; antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity; epitope; HIV-1; humoral responses; monoclonal antibodies.
23.  Acute HIV-1 Infection in the Southeastern United States: A Cohort Study 
In 1998 a collaboration between Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) was founded to enhance identification of persons with acute HIV-1 infection (AHI). The Duke-UNC AHI Research Consortium Cohort consists of patients ≥18 years old with a positive nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and either a negative enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test or a positive EIA with a negative/indeterminate Western blot. Patients were referred to the cohort from acute care settings and state-funded HIV testing sites that use NAAT testing on pooled HIV-1 antibody-negative samples. Between 1998 and 2010, 155 patients with AHI were enrolled: 81 (52%) African-Americans, 63 (41%) white, non-Hispanics, 137 (88%) males, 108 (70%) men who have sex with men (MSM), and 18 (12%) females. The median age was 27 years (IQR 22–38). Most (n=138/155) reported symptoms with a median duration of 17.5 days. The median nadir CD4 count was 408 cells/mm3 (IQR 289–563); the median observed peak HIV-1 level was 726,859 copies/ml (IQR 167,585–3,565,728). The emergency department was the most frequent site of initial presentation (n=55/152; 3 missing data). AHI diagnosis was made at time of first contact in 62/137 (45%; 18 missing data) patients. This prospectively enrolled cohort is the largest group of patients with AHI reported from the Southeastern United States. The demographics reflect the epidemic of this geographic area with a high proportion of African-Americans, including young black MSM. Highlighting the challenges of diagnosing AHI, less than half of the patients were diagnosed at the first healthcare visit. Women made up a small proportion despite increasing numbers in our clinics.
PMCID: PMC3537297  PMID: 22839749
24.  Mucosal Immunization of Lactating Female Rhesus Monkeys with a Transmitted/Founder HIV-1 Envelope Induces Strong Env-Specific IgA Antibody Responses in Breast Milk 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(12):6986-6999.
We previously demonstrated that vaccination of lactating rhesus monkeys with a DNA prime/vector boost strategy induces strong T-cell responses but limited envelope (Env)-specific humoral responses in breast milk. To improve vaccine-elicited antibody responses in milk, hormone-induced lactating rhesus monkeys were vaccinated with a transmitted/founder (T/F) HIV Env immunogen in a prime-boost strategy modeled after the moderately protective RV144 HIV vaccine. Lactating rhesus monkeys were intramuscularly primed with either recombinant DNA (n = 4) or modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) poxvirus vector (n = 4) expressing the T/F HIV Env C.1086 and then boosted twice intramuscularly with C.1086 gp120 and the adjuvant MF59. The vaccines induced Env-binding IgG and IgA as well as neutralizing and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) responses in plasma and milk of most vaccinated animals. Importantly, plasma neutralization titers against clade C HIV variants MW965 (P = 0.03) and CAP45 (P = 0.04) were significantly higher in MVA-primed than in DNA-primed animals. The superior systemic prime-boost regimen was then compared to a mucosal-boost regimen, in which animals were boosted twice intranasally with C.1086 gp120 and the TLR 7/8 agonist R848 following the same systemic prime. While the systemic and mucosal vaccine regimens elicited comparable levels of Env-binding IgG antibodies, mucosal immunization induced significantly stronger Env-binding IgA responses in milk (P = 0.03). However, the mucosal regimen was not as potent at inducing functional IgG responses. This study shows that systemic MVA prime followed by either intranasal or systemic protein boosts can elicit strong humoral responses in breast milk and may be a useful strategy to interrupt postnatal HIV-1 transmission.
PMCID: PMC3676124  PMID: 23596289
25.  High Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity Responses Are Correlated with Strong CD8 T Cell Viral Suppressive Activity but Not with B57 Status in HIV-1 Elite Controllers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74855.
The role of Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) responses in HIV-1 controllers is still unclear due to the heterogeneity of these patients. We analyzed 67 HIV-1 controllers and found significantly higher levels of ADCC antibodies in controllers versus viremic subjects (p = 0.017). Moreover, multivariate analysis revealed significantly higher ADCC titers in HLA B57- controllers compared to HLA-B57+ ones (p = 0.0086). These data suggest a role for ADCC in immune control of HIV, especially in HLA B57 negative controllers.
PMCID: PMC3781132  PMID: 24086385

Results 1-25 (64)