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.
AIDS vaccines; antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity; epitope; HIV-1; humoral responses; monoclonal antibodies.
We describe and characterize a stromal-cell independent culture system that efficiently supports pro-B cell to IgM+ B-cell development with near normal levels of IgH and Igκ diversity. Pro-B cells present in non-adherent bone marrow cells proliferate in the presence of IL-7 and subsequent to the removal of IL-7 and addition of BAFF, differentiate normally into IgM+ B cells. B-cell development in vitro closely follows the patterns of development in vivo with culture derived (CD) B cells demonstrating characteristic patterns of surface antigen expression and gene activation. IgM+ CD B cells respond to TLR stimulation by proliferation and differentiation into antibody-secreting cells. Self-reactive IgM+ B-cell development is blocked in 3H9 IgH knockin mice; however, cultures of 3H9 IgH knockin pro-B cells yields high frequencies of “forbidden”, autoreactive IgM+ B cells. Furthermore, serum IgG autoantibody exceeded that present in autoimmune, C4−/− animals following the reconstitution of RAG1−/− mice with IgM+ CD cells derived from BL/6 mice.
B-cell; Development; Autoimmunity; Interleukin-7; BAFF
Development of a safe and effective vaccine for HIV-1 infection is a critical global priority. However, the nature of host-virus interactions that lead to early immunosuppression and CD4 depletion, HIV-1 diversity, and the inability of the immune system to eliminate the latently infected CD4 pool of cells has to date thwarted successful vaccine development. Moreover, both the initial antibody-inducing vaccine (protein envelope gp120) and cell-mediated vaccine (recombinant adenovirus containing HIV-1 genes) strategies have failed in efficacy trials, and the latter cell-mediated vaccine appeared to have caused enhanced HIV-1 acquisition. Thus basic and translational research to understand why current vaccines have failed and elucidation of new mechanisms of virus control at mucosal surfaces is essential for eventual successful development of a preventive HIV-1 vaccine.
HIV-1; vaccine; mucosal; gastrointestinal tract; T cells; antibody; innate; adaptive; immunity
HIV-1-infected individuals with higher viral set points progress to AIDS more rapidly than those with lower set points. Predicting viral set point early following infection can contribute to our understanding of early control of HIV-1 replication, to predicting long-term clinical outcomes, and to the choice of optimal therapeutic regimens.
In a longitudinal study of 10 untreated HIV-1-infected patients, we used gene expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to identify transcriptional networks for viral set point prediction. At each sampling time, a statistical analysis inferred the optimal transcriptional network that best predicted viral set point. We then assessed the accuracy of this transcriptional model by predicting viral set point in an independent cohort of 10 untreated HIV-1-infected patients from Malawi.
The gene network inferred at time of enrollment predicted viral set point 24 weeks later in the independent Malawian cohort with an accuracy of 87.5%. As expected, the predictive accuracy of the networks inferred at later time points was even greater, exceeding 90% after week 4. The composition of the inferred networks was largely conserved between time points. The 12 genes comprising this dynamic signature of viral set point implicated the involvement of two major canonical pathways: interferon signaling (p<0.0003) and membrane fraction (p<0.02). A silico knockout study showed that HLA-DRB1 and C4BPA may contribute to restricting HIV-1 replication.
Longitudinal gene expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with acute HIV-1 infection can be used to create transcriptional network models to early predict viral set point with a high degree of accuracy.
Bioinformatics; HIV; systems biology; immunology; microbiology; HIV; microarray
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
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a global health burden for which safe vaccines are needed. BCG has limitations as a TB vaccine so we have focused on live attenuated Mycobacterium tuberculosis mutants as vaccine candidates. Prior to human studies, however, it is necessary to demonstrate safety in non-human primates (NHP). In this study, we evaluate the safety and efficacy of two live attenuated M. tuberculosis double deletion vaccine strains mc26020 (ΔlysA ΔpanCD) and mc26030 (ΔRD1 ΔpanCD) in cynomolgus macaques. In murine models, mc26020 is rapidly cleared while mc26030 persists. Both mc26020 and mc26030 were safe and well tolerated in cynomolgus macaques. Following a high-dose intrabronchial challenge with virulent M. tuberculosis, mc26020-vaccinates were afforded a level of protection intermediate between that elicited by BCG vaccination and no vaccination. BCG vaccinates had reduced tuberculosis-associated pathology and improved clinical scores as compared to saline and mc26030 vaccinates, but survival did not differ among the groups.
Vaccine; Mycobacteria; Mycobacterium; Tuberculosis; Non-human primate; BCG; Safety
HIV-1 has evolved many ways to evade protective host immune responses, thus creating a number of problems for HIV vaccine developers. In particular, durable, broadly specific neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 have proved difficult to induce with current HIV-1 vaccine candidates. The recent observation that some broadly neutralizing anti-HIV-1 envelope monoclonal antibodies have polyspecific reactivities to host antigens have raised the hypothesis that one reason antibodies against some of the conserved HIV-1 envelope trimer neutralizing epitopes are not routinely made may be down-regulation of some specificities of anti-HIV-1 antibody producing B cells by host B cell tolerance mechanisms.
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.
In 2009, the United Nations Estimated that 33.2 Million People worldwide were living with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and that 2.6 million people had been newly infected.1 The need for effective HIV-1 prevention has never been greater. In this review, we address recent critical advances in our understanding of HIV-1 transmission and acute HIV-1 infection. Fourth-generation HIV-1 testing, now available worldwide,2,3 will allow the diagnosis of infection in many patients and may lead to new treatments and opportunities for prevention.
Two neutralizing human mAbs, 2F5 and 4E10, that react with the HIV-1 envelope gp41 membrane proximal region are also polyspecific autoantibodies that bind to anionic phospholipids. To determine the autoantibody nature of these Abs, we have compared their reactivities with human anti-cardiolipin mAbs derived from a primary antiphospholipid syndrome patient. To define the role of lipid polyreactivity in binding of 2F5 and 4E10 mAbs to HIV-1 envelope membrane proximal epitopes, we determined the kinetics of binding of mAbs 2F5 and 4E10 to their nominal gp41 epitopes vs liposome-gp41 peptide conjugates. Both anti-HIV-1 mAbs 2F5 and 4E10 bound to cardiolipin with Kd values similar to those of autoimmune anti-cardiolipin Abs, IS4 and IS6. Binding kinetics studies revealed that mAb 2F5 and 4E10 binding to their respective gp41 peptide-lipid conjugates could best be defined by a two-step (encounter-docking) conformational change model. In contrast, binding of 2F5 and 4E10 mAbs to linear peptide epitopes followed a simple Langmuir model. A mouse mAb, 13H11, that cross-blocks mAb 2F5 binding to the gp41 epitope did not cross-react with lipids nor did it neutralize HIV-1 viruses. Taken together, these data demonstrate the similarity of 2F5 and 4E10 mAbs to known anti-cardiolipin Abs and support the model that mAb 2F5 and 4E10 binding to HIV-1 involves both viral lipid membrane and gp41 membrane proximal epitopes.
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.
Defining the structures and locations of the glycans attached on secreted proteins and virus envelope proteins is important in understanding how glycosylation affects their biological properties. Glycopeptide mass spectrometry (MS)-based analysis is a very powerful, emerging approach to characterize glycoproteins, in which glycosylation sites and the corresponding glycan structures are elucidated in a single MS experiment. However, to date there is not a consensus regarding which mass spectrometric platform provides the best glycosylation coverage information. Herein, we employ two of the most widely used MS approaches, online high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC/ESI-MS) and offline HPLC followed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS), to determine which of the two approaches provides the best glycosylation coverage information of a complex glycoprotein, the group M consensus HIV-1 envelope, CON-S gp140ΔCFI, which has 31 potential glycosylation sites. Our results highlight differences in the informational content obtained between the two methods such as the overall number of glycosylation sites detected, the numbers of N-linked glycans present at each site, and the type of confirmatory information obtained about the glycopeptide using MS/MS experiments. The two approaches are quite complementary, both in their coverage of glycopeptides and in the information they provide in MS/MS experiments. The information in this study contributes to the field of mass spectrometry by demonstrating the strengths and limitations of two widely used MS platforms in glycoprotein analysis.
We have developed a high throughput platform to detect the presence of HIV-1 and SIV-specific ADCC-mediating antibody responses. The assay is based on the hydrolysis of a cell-permeable fluorogenic peptide substrate containing a sequence recognized by the serine protease, Granzyme B (GzB). GzB is delivered into target cells by cytotoxic effector cells as a result of antigen (Ag)-specific Ab-Fcγ receptor interactions. Within the target cells, effector cell-derived GzB hydrolyzes the substrate, generating a fluorescent signal that allows individual target cells that have received a lethal hit to be identified by flow cytometry. Results are reported as the percentage of target cells with GzB activity (%GzB). Freshly isolated or cryopreserved PBMC and/or NK cells can be used as effector cells. CEM.NKR cells expressing the CCR5 co-receptor are used as a target cells following (i) coating with recombinant envelope glycoprotein, (ii) infection with infectious molecular clones expressing the Env antigens of primary and lab adapted viruses, or (iii) chronic infection with a variant of HIV-1/IIIB, termed A1953. In addition, primary CD4+ T cells infected with HIV-1 in vitro can also be used as targets. The assay is highly reproducible with a coefficient of variation of less than 25%. Target and effector cell populations, in the absence of serum/plasma, were used to calculate background (8.6±2.3%). We determined that an initial dilution of 1:50 and 1:100 is required for testing of human and non-human primate samples, respectively. This assay allows for rapid quantification of HIV-1 or SIV-specific ADCC-mediating antibodies that develop in response to vaccination, or in the natural course of infection, thus providing researchers with a new methodology for investigating the role of ADCC-mediating antibodies as correlates of control or prevention of HIV-1 and SIV infection.
ADCC; HIV; SIV; NK; Fc gamma receptors; Granzyme B; high throughput
CD7 is an immunoglobulin superfamily molecule involved in T and natural killer (NK) cell activation and cytokine production. CD7-deficient animals develop normally but have antigen-specific defects in interferon (IFN)-γ production and CD8+ CTL generation. To determine the in vivo role of CD7 in systems dependent on IFN-γ, the response of CD7-deficient mice to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced shock syndromes was studied. In the high-dose LPS-induced shock model, 67% of CD7-deficient mice survived LPS injection, whereas 19% of control C57BL/6 mice survived LPS challenge (P < 0.001). CD7-deficient or C57BL/6 control mice were next injected with low-dose LPS (1 μg plus 8 mg D-galactosamine [D-gal] per mouse) and monitored for survival. All CD7-deficient mice were alive 72 h after injection of LPS compared with 20% of C57BL/6 control mice (P < 0.001). After injection of LPS and D-gal, CD7-deficient mice had decreased serum IFN-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α levels compared with control C57BL/6 mice (P < 0.001). Steady-state mRNA levels for IFN-γ and TNF-α in liver tissue were also significantly decreased in CD7-deficient mice compared with controls (P < 0.05). In contrast, CD7-deficient animals had normal liver interleukin (IL)-12, IL-18, and interleukin 1 converting enzyme (ICE) mRNA levels, and CD7-deficient splenocytes had normal IFN-γ responses when stimulated with IL-12 and IL-18 in vitro. NK1.1+/ CD3+ T cells are known to be key effector cells in the pathogenesis of toxic shock. Phenotypic analysis of liver mononuclear cells revealed that CD7-deficient mice had fewer numbers of liver NK1.1+/CD3+ T cells (1.5 ± 0.3 × 105) versus C57BL/6 control mice (3.7 ± 0.8 × 105; P < 0.05), whereas numbers of liver NK1.1+/CD3− NK cells were not different from controls. Thus, targeted disruption of CD7 leads to a selective deficiency of liver NK1.1+/ CD3+ T cells, and is associated with resistance to LPS shock. These data suggest that CD7 is a key molecule in the inflammatory response leading to LPS-induced shock.
CD7; lipopolysaccharide; septic shock; NK1.1; T cells
Different HIV-1 antigen specificities appear in sequence after HIV-1 transmission and the immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclass responses to HIV antigens are distinct from each other. The initial predominant IgG subclass response to HIV-1 infection consists of IgG1 and IgG3 antibodies with a noted decline in some IgG3 antibodies during acute HIV-1 infection. Thus, we postulate that multiple antigen-specific IgG3 responses may serve as surrogates for the relative time since HIV-1 acquisition.
We determined the magnitude, peak, and half-life of HIV-1 antigen-specific IgG1 and IgG3 antibodies in 41 HIV-1-infected individuals followed longitudinally from acute infection during the first appearance of HIV-1-specific antibodies through approximately 6 months after infection.
We used quantitative HIV-1-binding antibody multiplex assays and exponential decay models to estimate concentrations of IgG1 and IgG3 antibodies to eight different HIV-1 proteins including gp140 Env, gp120 Env, gp41 Env, p66 reverse transcriptase, p31 Integrase, Tat, Nef, and p55 Gag proteins during acute/recent HIV-1 infection.
Among HIV-1-specific IgG3 responses, anti-gp41 IgG3 antibodies were the first to appear. We found that anti-gp41 Env IgG3 and anti-p66 reverse transcriptase IgG3 antibodies, in addition to anti-Gag IgG3 antibodies, each consistently and measurably declined after acute infection, in contrast to the persistent antigen-specific IgG1 responses.
The detailed measurements of the decline in multiple HIV-specific IgG3 responses simultaneous with persistent IgG1 responses during acute and recent HIV-1 infection could serve as markers for detection of incident HIV infection.
HIV-1 acute infection; HIV-1 incidence; immunoglobulin G subclass
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
A vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seems to be on the horizon. Correlates of risk of infection for the RV144 trial have been found. There is understanding of what makes HIV envelope–specific antibodies broadly neutralizing and new T cell vaccine approaches can overcome virus variability.
A single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs2395029) in the HCP5 gene associated with HLA-B*5701 is correlated with lower HIV-1 viral set point. The two allelic forms of coding region were ectopically expressed in TZM-bl cells for an effect on HIV-1 replication. No significant HIV-1 restriction was observed in the cells with infectivity assays throughout HIV-1 life cycle, suggesting that the association of HCP5 variant with viral control is likely due to HLA-B*5701-related effect or other functional variants in the haplotype or both.
To determine the spectrum of antiviral antibodies in HIV-1-infected individuals in whom viral replication is spontaneously undetectable, termed HIV controllers (HICs).
Multicenter French trial ANRS EP36 studying the viral control in HICs.
Neutralizing Antibody (nAb) activities (neutralization assay, competition with broadly reactive monoclonal antibodies, and reactivity against the viral MPER gp41 region), FcγR-mediated antiviral activities, antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC), as well as autoantibody levels, were quantified in plasma from 22 controllers and from viremic individuals. The levels of these different antibody responses and HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) IFNγ assay were compared in each controller.
The levels of antibody against the gp120 CD4 binding site, gp41, as well as Env epitopes near to the sites bound by broadly nAbs 2F5 and 1b12 were not different between HICs and viremic individuals. We did not find significant autoantibody levels in HICs. The magnitude and breadth of nAbs were heterogeneous in HICs but lower than in viremic individuals. The levels of nAbs using FcγR-mediated assay inhibition were similar in both groups. Regardless of the type of antibody tested, there was no correlation with HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses. ADCC was detectable in all controllers tested and was significantly higher than in viremic individuals (P <0.0002).
There was no single anti-HIV-1 antibody specificity that was a clear correlate of immunity in controllers. Rather, for most antibody types, controllers had the same or lower levels of nAbs than viremic individuals, with the possible exception of ADCC antibodies.
antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity; FcγR; HIV controller; humoral immunity; neutralizing antibodies
Human (h) CD7 is a 40 kDa single chain Ig superfamily molecule that is expressed on thymocytes, a major subunit of peripheral T cells, and most natural killer cells. Ligands for hCD7 include the epithelial cell-produced molecule, K-12, and galectin. Mice deficient in CD7 have been shown to be resistant to LPS-induced endotoxic shock syndromes. However, monoclonal antibodies (MAb) to mouse (m) CD7 have yet to be produced, nor is the distribution of mCD7 protein in mice known. We have raised a panel of three rat MAbs to mCD7 by immunizing rats with recombinant mCD7 protein. However, using Western blot and immunoprecipitation of tissue extracts from mouse thymus, spleen, liver, brain, lymph node and skin, these anti-mouse CD7 MAbs bound only to murine heat shock protein 60 (HSP-60) present both in wild-type (CD7+/+) and CD7-deficient (CD7−/−) mice. Epitope mapping of the sites on HSP-60 and recombinant mCD7 recognized by mCD7 MAbs demonstrated non-homologous amino acid sequence epitopes recognized by anti-CD7 MAbs on both proteins. These data demonstrated molecular mimicry of mCD7 with HSP-60, and leave open the question of surface expression of mCD7.
Developing a vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) poses an exceptional challenge. There are no documented cases of immune-mediated clearance of HIV from an infected individual, and no known correlates of immune protection. Although non-human primate models of lentivirus infection have provided valuable data about HIV pathogenesis, such models do not predict HIV vaccine efficacy in humans. The combined lack of a predictive animal model and undefined biomarkers of immune protection against HIV necessitate that vaccines to this pathogen be tested directly in clinical trials. Adaptive clinical trial designs can accelerate vaccine development by rapidly screening out poor vaccines while extending the evaluation of efficacious ones, thereby improving the characterization of promising vaccine candidates and the identification of correlates of immune protection.
HIV infection is characterized by a gradual deterioration of immune function mainly in the CD4 compartment. To better understand the dynamics of HIV-specific T cells, we analyzed the kinetics and polyfunctional profiles of Gag-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses in 12 subtype C-infected individuals with different disease progression profiles from acute to chronic HIV infection. The frequencies of Gag-responsive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells showed distinct temporal kinetics. The peak frequency of Gag-responsive IFNγ+CD4+ T cell was observed at a median of 28 days (IQR: 21-81) post Fiebig I/II staging, whilst Gag-specific IFNγ+CD8+ T cell responses peaked at a median of 253 days (IQR: 136-401 and showed a significant biphasic expansion. The proportion of TNFα-expressing cells within the IFNγ+CD4+ T cell population increased (p=0.001) over time, whilst TNFα-expressing cells within IFNγ+CD8+ T cells declined (p=0.005). Both Gag-responsive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells showed decreased Ki67 expression within the first 120 days post Feibig I/II staging. Prior to the disappearance of Gag-responsive Ki67+CD4+ T cells, these cells positively correlated (p=0.00038) with viremia, indicating that early Gag-responsive CD4 events are shaped by viral burden. No such associations were observed in the Gag-specific CD8+ T cell compartment. Overall, these observations indicate that circulating Gag-responsive CD4+ and CD8+ T cell frequencies and functions are not synchronous and properties change rapidly at different tempos during early HIV infection.
Mycobacteria have features that make them attractive as potential vaccine vectors. The nonpathogenic and rapidly growing Mycobacterium smegmatis can express both Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens and heterologous antigens from other pathogens, and it has been used as a viable vector for the development of live vaccines. In order to further improve antigen-specific immunogenicity of M. smegmatis, we screened a random transposon mutant library for mutants displaying enhanced efficiency of protein secretion (“high secretors”) and isolated 61 mutants showing enhanced endogenic and transgenic protein secretion. Sequence analysis identified a total of 54 genes involved in optimal secretion of insert proteins, as well as multiple independent transposon insertions localized within the same genomic loci and operons. The majority of transposon insertions occurred in genes that have no known protein secretion function. These transposon mutants were shown to prime antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses better than the parental strain. Specifically, upon introducing the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) gag gene into these transposon mutant strains, we observed that they primed SIV Gag-specific CD8+ T cell responses significantly better than the control prime immunization in a heterologous prime/boost regimen. Our results reveal a dependence on bacterial secretion of mycobacterial and foreign antigens for the induction of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in vivo. The data also suggest that these M. smegmatis transposon mutants could be used as novel live attenuated vaccine strains to express foreign antigens, such as those of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), and induce strong antigen-specific T cell responses.
Antibody PG9 is a prototypical member of a class of V1/V2-directed antibodies that effectively neutralizes diverse strains of HIV-1. We analyzed strain-specific resistance to PG9 using sequence and structural information. For multiply resistant strains, mutations in a short segment of V1/V2 resulted in gain of sensitivity to PG9 and related V1/V2 neutralizing antibodies, suggesting both a common mechanism of HIV-1 resistance to and a common mode of recognition by this class of antibodies.