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
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 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.
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.
Purpose of review
Major roadblocks persist in the development of vaccines that elicit potent neutralizing antibodies targeting diverse HIV-1 strains, similar to known broadly neutralizing HIV-1 human monoclonal antibodies. Alternatively, other types of anti-HIV-1 envelope antibodies that may not neutralize HIV-1 in traditional neutralization assays but have other anti-HIV-1 activities (hereafter termed HIV-1 inhibitory antibodies) can be elicited by current vaccine strategies, and numerous studies are exploring their roles in preventing HIV-1 acquisition. We review examples of strategies for eliciting potentially protective HIV-1 inhibitory antibodies.
Heterologous prime-boost strategies can yield anti-HIV immune responses; although only one (canarypox prime, Env protein boost) has been tested and shown positive results in an efficacy trial (RV144). Although the immune correlates of protection are as yet undefined, the reduced rate of acquisition without a significant effect on initial viral loads or CD4+ T cell counts, have raised the hypothesis of an RV144 vaccine-elicited transient protective B cell response.
In light of the RV144 trial, there is a critical need to define the entire functional spectrum of anti-HIV-1 antibodies, how easily each can be elicited, and how effective different types of antibody effector mechanisms can be in prevention of HIV-1 transmission.
Vaccines; B-cells; Neutralizing Antibodies; Inhibitory Antibodies; Mucosal
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.
Acute HIV-1 infection results in dysregulated immunity, which contributes to poor control of viral infection. DCs are key regulators of both adaptive and innate immune responses needed for controlling HIV-1, and we surmised that factors elicited during acute HIV-1 infection might impede DC function. We derived immature DCs from healthy donor peripheral blood monocytes and treated them with plasma from uninfected control donors and donors with acute HIV-1 infections. We found that the plasma from patients with HIV specifically inhibited DC function. This suppression was mediated by elevated apoptotic microparticles derived from dying cells during acute HIV-1 infection. Apoptotic microparticles bound to and inhibited DCs through the hyaluronate receptor CD44. These data suggest that targeting this CD44-mediated inhibition by apoptotic microparticles could be a novel strategy to potentiate DC activation of HIV-specific immunity.
In the RV144 trial, the estimated efficacy of a vaccine regimen against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) was 31.2%. We performed a case–control analysis to identify antibody and cellular immune correlates of infection risk.
In pilot studies conducted with RV144 blood samples, 17 antibody or cellular assays met prespecified criteria, of which 6 were chosen for primary analysis to determine the roles of T-cell, IgG antibody, and IgA antibody responses in the modulation of infection risk. Assays were performed on samples from 41 vaccinees who became infected and 205 uninfected vaccinees, obtained 2 weeks after final immunization, to evaluate whether immune-response variables predicted HIV-1 infection through 42 months of follow-up.
Of six primary variables, two correlated significantly with infection risk: the binding of IgG antibodies to variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2) of HIV-1 envelope proteins (Env) correlated inversely with the rate of HIV-1 infection (estimated odds ratio, 0.57 per 1-SD increase; P = 0.02; q = 0.08), and the binding of plasma IgA antibodies to Env correlated directly with the rate of infection (estimated odds ratio, 1.54 per 1-SD increase; P = 0.03; q = 0.08). Neither low levels of V1V2 antibodies nor high levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies were associated with higher rates of infection than were found in the placebo group. Secondary analyses suggested that Env-specific IgA antibodies may mitigate the effects of potentially protective antibodies.
This immune-correlates study generated the hypotheses that V1V2 antibodies may have contributed to protection against HIV-1 infection, whereas high levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies may have mitigated the effects of protective antibodies. Vaccines that are designed to induce higher levels of V1V2 antibodies and lower levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies than are induced by the RV144 vaccine may have improved efficacy against HIV-1 infection.
The HIV-1 broad neutralizing antibody (bnAb) 2F5 has been shown to be poly/self-reactive in vitro, and we previously demonstrated that targeted expression of its VDJ rearrangement alone was sufficient to trigger a profound B cell developmental blockade in 2F5 VH knockin (KI) mice, consistent with central deletion of 2F5 H chain-expressing B cells. Here, we generate a strain expressing the entire 2F5 bnAb specificity, 2F5 VHxVL KI mice, and find an even higher degree of tolerance control than observed in the 2F5 VH KI strain. Although B-cell development was severely impaired in 2F5 VHxVL KI animals, we demonstrate rescue of their B-cells when cultured in IL-7/BAFF. Intriguingly, even under these conditions, most rescued B-cell hybridomas produced mAbs that lacked HIV-1 Envelope (Env) reactivity due to editing of the 2F5 L chain, and the majority of rescued B-cells retained an anergic phenotype. Thus, when clonal deletion is circumvented, κ editing and anergy are additional safeguards preventing 2F5 VH/VL expression by immature/transitional B-cells. Importantly, 7% of rescued B-cells retained 2F5 VH/VL-expression and secreted Env-specific mAbs with HIV-1 neutralizing activity. This “partial” rescue was further corroborated in vivo, as reflected by the anergic phenotype of most rescued B-cells in 2F5 VHxVL KI × Eμ-bcl2 tg mice, and significant (yet modest) enrichment of Env-specific B-cells and serum Igs. The rescued 2F5 mAb-producing B-cell clones in this study are the first examples of in vivo-derived bone marrow precursors specifying HIV-1 bnAbs, and provide a starting point for design of strategies aimed at rescuing such B-cells.
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
Genome sequences of transmitted/founder (T/F) HIV-1 have been inferred by analyzing single genome amplicons of acute infection plasma viral RNA in the context of a mathematical model of random virus evolution; however, few of these T/F sequences have been molecularly cloned and biologically characterized. Here, we describe the derivation and biological analysis of ten infectious molecular clones, each representing a T/F genome responsible for productive HIV-1 clade B clinical infection. Each of the T/F viruses primarily utilized the CCR5 coreceptor for entry and replicated efficiently in primary human CD4+ T lymphocytes. This result supports the conclusion that single genome amplification-derived sequences from acute infection allow for the inference of T/F viral genomes that are consistently replication competent. Studies with monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) demonstrated various levels of replication among the T/F viruses. Although all T/F viruses replicated in MDM, the overall replication efficiency was significantly lower compared to prototypic “highly macrophage-tropic” virus strains. This phenotype was transferable by expressing the env genes in an isogenic proviral DNA backbone, indicating that T/F virus macrophage tropism mapped to Env. Furthermore, significantly higher concentrations of soluble CD4 were required to inhibit T/F virus infection compared to prototypic macrophage-tropic virus strains. Our findings suggest that the acquisition of clinical HIV-1 subtype B infection occurs by mucosal exposure to virus that is not highly macrophage tropic and that the generation and initial biological characterization of 10 clade B T/F infectious molecular clones provides new opportunities to probe virus-host interactions involved in HIV-1 transmission.
The work presented herein describes the first comprehensive analysis of a partially deglycosylated HIV vaccine candidate envelope protein (Env). The Env, JRFL gp140 ΔCF, with 27 potential glycosylation sites, was partially deglycosylated with PNGase F as part of a strategy to generate a more immunogenic HIV vaccine, and the resulting protein’s glycosylation was characterized in a unique workflow using two different glycosidases, Endo H and Endo F3. This unique analysis protocol provided for coverage on 26 of the 27 glycosylation sites, and the data showed that the biochemical treatment with PNGase F resulted in a highly heterogeneous glycoprotein product that had been partially deglycosylated at most of the glycosylation sites. The protocols described in this work could be useful for characterizing the glycosylation site occupancy of other native or biochemically deglycosylated proteins.
Broad and potent neutralizing antibody (BNAb) responses are rare in people infected by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Clearly defining the nature of BNAb epitopes on HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Envs) targeted in vivo is critical for future directions of anti-HIV-1 vaccine development. Conventional techniques are successful in defining neutralizing epitopes in a small number of individual subjects but fail in studying large groups of subjects. Two independent methods were employed to investigate the nature of NAb epitopes targeted in 9 subjects, identified by the NIAID Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) 001 and 008 clinical teams, known to make a strong BNAb response. Neutralizing activity from 8/9 subjects was enhanced by enriching high-mannose N-linked glycan (HM-glycan) of HIV-1 glycoproteins on neutralization target viruses and was sensitive to specific glycan deletion mutations of HIV-1 glycoproteins, indicating that HM-glycan-dependent epitopes are targeted by BNAb responses in these subjects. This discovery adds to accumulating evidence supporting the hypothesis that glycans are important targets on HIV-1 glycoproteins for BNAb responses in vivo, providing an important lead for future directions in developing NAb-based anti-HIV-1 vaccines.
Although antibodies can be elicited by HIV-1 infection or immunization, those that are broadly neutralizing (bnAbs) are undetectable in most individuals, and when they do arise in HIV-1 infection, only do so years after transmission. Until recently, the reasons for difficulty in inducing such bnAbs have been obscure. Recent technological advances in isolating bnAbs from rare patients have increased our knowledge of their specificities and features, and along with gene-targeting studies, have also begun uncovering evidence of immunoregulatory roadblocks preventing their induction. One critical avenue towards developing an effective HIV-1 vaccine is to harness this emerging information into the rational design of immunogens and formulation of adjuvants, such that structural and immunological hurdles to routinely eliciting bnAbs can be overcome.
Understanding how human genetic variation impacts individual response to immunogens is fundamental for rational vaccine development. To explore host mechanisms involved in cellular immune responses to the MRKAd5 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gag/pol/nef vaccine tested in the Step trial, we performed a genome-wide association study of determinants of HIV-specific T cell responses, measured by interferon γ enzyme-linked immunospot assays. No human genetic variant reached genome-wide significance, but polymorphisms located in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region showed the strongest association with response to the HIV-1 Gag protein: HLA-B alleles known to be associated with differences in HIV-1 control were responsible for these associations. The implication of the same HLA alleles in vaccine-induced cellular immunity and in natural immune control is of relevance for vaccine design. Furthermore, our results demonstrate the importance of considering the host immunogenetic background in the analysis of immune responses to T cell vaccines.
Epitopes that drive the initial autologous neutralizing antibody response in HIV-1-infected individuals could provide insights for vaccine design. Although highly strain specific, these epitopes are immunogenic, vulnerable to antibody attack on infectious virus, and could be involved in the ontogeny of broadly neutralizing antibody responses. To delineate such epitopes, we used site-directed mutagenesis, autologous plasma samples, and autologous monoclonal antibodies to map the amino acid changes that led to escape from the initial autologous neutralizing antibody response in two HIV-1 subtype B-infected individuals. Additional mapping of the epitopes was accomplished by using alanine scanning mutagenesis. Escape in the two individuals occurred by different pathways, but the responses in both cases appeared to be directed against the same region of gp120. In total, three amino acid positions were identified that were independently associated with autologous neutralization. Positions 295 and 332 are located immediately before and after the N- and C-terminal cysteines of the V3 loop, respectively, the latter of which affected an N-linked glycan that was critical to the neutralization epitope. Position 415 affected an N-linked glycan at position 413 in the C terminus of V4 that might mask epitopes near the base of V3. All three sites lie in close proximity on a four-stranded antiparallel sheet on the outer domain of gp120. We conclude that a region just below the base of the V3 loop, near the coreceptor binding domain of gp120, can be a target for autologous neutralization.
The structure of VRC01 in complex with the HIV-1 gp120 core reveals that this broadly neutralizing CD4 binding site (CD4bs) antibody partially mimics the interaction of the primary virus receptor, CD4, with gp120. Here, we extended the investigation of the VRC01-gp120 core interaction to the biologically relevant viral spike to better understand the mechanism of VRC01-mediated neutralization and to define viral elements associated with neutralization resistance. In contrast to the interaction of CD4 or the CD4bs monoclonal antibody (MAb) b12 with the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env), occlusion of the VRC01 epitope by quaternary constraints was not a major factor limiting neutralization. Mutagenesis studies indicated that VRC01 contacts within the gp120 loop D, the CD4 binding loop, and the V5 region were necessary for optimal VRC01 neutralization, as suggested by the crystal structure. In contrast to interactions with the soluble gp120 monomer, VRC01 interaction with the native viral spike did not occur in a CD4-like manner; VRC01 did not induce gp120 shedding from the Env spike or enhance gp41 membrane proximal external region (MPER)-directed antibody binding to the Env spike. Finally, VRC01 did not display significant reactivity with human antigens, boding well for potential in vivo applications. The data indicate that VRC01 interacts with gp120 in the context of the functional spike in a manner distinct from that of CD4. It achieves potent neutralization by precisely targeting the CD4bs without requiring alterations of Env spike configuration and by avoiding steric constraints imposed by the quaternary structure of the functional Env spike.
Sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) across mucosal barriers is responsible for the vast majority of new infections. This relatively inefficient process results in the transmission of a single transmitted/founder (T/F) virus, from a diverse viral swarm in the donor, in approximately 80% of cases. Here we compared the biological activities of 24 clade B T/F envelopes (Envs) with those from 17 chronic controls to determine whether the genetic bottleneck that occurs during transmission is linked to a particular Env phenotype. To maximize the likelihood of an intact mucosal barrier in the recipients and to enhance the sensitivity of detecting phenotypic differences, only T/F Envs from individuals infected with a single T/F variant were selected. Using pseudotyping to assess Env function in single-round infectivity assays, we compared coreceptor tropism, CCR5 utilization efficiencies, primary CD4+ T cell subset tropism, dendritic cell trans-infections, fusion kinetics, and neutralization sensitivities. T/F and chronic Envs were phenotypically equivalent in most assays; however, T/F Envs were modestly more sensitive to CD4 binding site antibodies b12 and VRC01, as well as pooled human HIV Ig. This finding was independently validated with a panel of 14 additional chronic HIV-1 Env controls. Moreover, the enhanced neutralization sensitivity was associated with more efficient binding of b12 and VRC01 to T/F Env trimers. These data suggest that there are subtle but significant structural differences between T/F and chronic clade B Envs that may have implications for HIV-1 transmission and the design of effective vaccines.
To date, CCR5 variants remain the only human genetic factors to be confirmed to impact HIV-1 acquisition. However, protective CCR5 variants are largely absent in African populations, in which sporadic resistance to HIV-1 infection is still unexplained. Here we perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in a population of 1,532 individuals from Malawi, a country with high prevalence of HIV-1 infection, to investigate whether common genetic variants associate with HIV-1 susceptibility in Africans. Using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present on the genome-wide chip, we also investigated previously reported associations with HIV-1 susceptibility or acquisition. Recruitment was coordinated by the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology at two sexually transmitted infection clinics. HIV status was determined by HIV rapid tests and nucleic acid testing.
After quality control, the population consisted of 848 high-risk seronegative and 531 HIV-1 seropositive individuals. Logistic regression testing in an additive genetic model was performed for SNPs that passed quality control. No single SNP yielded a significant P-value after correction for multiple testing. The study was sufficiently powered to detect markers with genotype relative risk ≥ 2.0 and minor allele frequencies ≥12%. This is the first GWAS of host determinants of HIV-1 susceptibility, performed in an African population. The absence of any significant association can have many possible explanations: rarer genetic variants or common variants with weaker effect could be responsible for the resistance phenotype; alternatively, resistance to HIV-1 infection might be due to non-genetic parameters or to complex interactions between genes, immunity and environment.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1); acquisition; resistance; Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS); Africa
The B cell arm of the immune response becomes activated soon after HIV-1 transmission, yet the initial antibody response does not control HIV-1 replication, and it takes months for neutralizing antibodies to develop against the autologous virus. Antibodies that can be broadly protective are made only in a minority of subjects and take years to develop—too late to affect the course of disease. New studies of the earliest stages of HIV-1 infection, new techniques to probe the human B cell repertoire, the modest degree of efficacy in a vaccine trial, and new studies of human monoclonal antibodies that represent the types of immune responses an HIV-1 vaccine should induce are collectively illuminating paths that a successful HIV-1 vaccine might take.
The analysis of HIV-1 envelope carbohydrates is critical to understanding their roles in HIV-1 transmission as well as in binding of envelope to HIV-1 antibodies. However, direct analysis of protein glycosylation by glycopeptide-based mass mapping approaches involves structural simplification of proteins with the use of a protease followed by an isolation and/or enrichment step before mass analysis. The successful completion of glycosylation analysis is still a major analytical challenge due to the complexity of samples, wide dynamic range of glycopeptide concentrations, and glycosylation heterogeneity. Here, we use a novel experimental workflow that includes an up-front complete or partial enzymatic deglycosylation step before trypsin digestion to characterize the glycosylation patterns and maximize the glycosylation coverage of two recombinant HIV-1 transmitted/founder envelope oligomers derived from clade B and C viruses isolated from acute infection and expressed in 293T cells. Our results show that both transmitted/founder Envs had similar degrees of glycosylation site occupancy as well as similar glycan profiles. Compared to 293T-derived recombinant Envs from viruses isolated from chronic HIV-1, transmitted/founder Envs displayed marked differences in their glycosylation site occupancies and in their amounts of complex glycans. Our analysis reveals that the glycosylation patterns of transmitted/founder Envs from two different clades (B and C) are more similar to each other than they are to the glycosylation patterns of chronic HIV-1 Envs derived from their own clades.