We describe a drug delivery method that combines Time-Reversal Acoustics (TRA) with Convection-Enhanced Delivery (CED) to improve the delivery of therapeutics to the interstitium of the brain. The Ultrasound-assisted CED approach (UCED) circumvents the blood-brain barrier by infusing compounds through a cannula that is inserted into the brain while simultaneously delivering ultrasound to improve the penetration of pharmaceuticals. CED without ultrasound-assistance has been used to treat a variety of neural disorders, including glioblastoma multiforme, a malignancy that presents a very poor prognosis for patients. We describe a novel system that is used to infuse fluids into the brain parenchyma while simultaneously exposing the tissue to safe levels of 1-MHz, low intensity, ultrasound energy. The system includes a combined infusion needle-hydrophone, a 10-channel ultralow-output impedance amplifier, a broad-band ultrasound resonator, and MatLab®-based TRA control and user-interface. TRA allows easy coupling of ultrasound therapy through the skull without complex phase-correction and array design. The smart targeting UCED system has been tested in vivo and results show it provides 1.5-mm spatial resolution for UCED and improves tracer distribution in the brain over CED alone.
This paper explains the circuitry and signal processing to perform electrical impedance spectroscopy on piezoelectric materials and ultrasound transducers. Here, we measure and compare the impedance spectra of 2−5 MHz piezoelectrics, but the methodology applies for 700 kHz–20 MHz ultrasonic devices as well. Using a 12 ns wide 5 volt pulsing circuit as an impulse, we determine the electrical impedance curves experimentally using Ohm's law and fast Fourier transform (FFT), and compare results with mathematical models. The method allows for rapid impedance measurement for a range of frequencies using a narrow input pulse, digital oscilloscope and FFT techniques. The technique compares well to current methodologies such as network and impedance analyzers while providing additional versatility in the electrical impedance measurement. The technique is theoretically simple, easy to implement and completed with ordinary laboratory instrumentation for minimal cost.
impulse circuit; electrical impedance; piezoelectric; ultrasound measurement; spectroscopy; pulse
Recent studies have shown that natural infection by HIV-2 leads to the elicitation of high titers of broadly neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against primary HIV-2 strains (T. I. de Silva, et al., J. Virol. 86:930–946, 2012; R. Kong, et al., J. Virol. 86:947–960, 2012; G. Ozkaya Sahin, et al., J. Virol. 86:961–971, 2012). Here, we describe the envelope (Env) binding and neutralization properties of 15 anti-HIV-2 human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), 14 of which were newly generated from 9 chronically infected subjects. All 15 MAbs bound specifically to HIV-2 gp120 monomers and neutralized heterologous primary virus strains HIV-27312A and HIV-2ST. Ten of 15 MAbs neutralized a third heterologous primary virus strain, HIV-2UC1. The median 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) for these MAbs were surprisingly low, ranging from 0.007 to 0.028 μg/ml. Competitive Env binding studies revealed three MAb competition groups: CG-I, CG-II, and CG-III. Using peptide scanning, site-directed mutagenesis, chimeric Env constructions, and single-cycle virus neutralization assays, we mapped the epitope of CG-I antibodies to a linear region in variable loop 3 (V3), the epitope of CG-II antibodies to a conformational region centered on the carboxy terminus of V4, and the epitope(s) of CG-III antibodies to conformational regions associated with CD4- and coreceptor-binding sites. HIV-2 Env is thus highly immunogenic in vivo and elicits antibodies having diverse epitope specificities, high potency, and wide breadth. In contrast to the HIV-1 Env trimer, which is generally well shielded from antibody binding and neutralization, HIV-2 is surprisingly vulnerable to broadly reactive NAbs. The availability of 15 human MAbs targeting diverse HIV-2 Env epitopes can facilitate comparative studies of HIV/SIV Env structure, function, antigenicity, and immunogenicity.
The common properties of broadly cross-reactive HIV-1 neutralization antibodies found in certain HIV-1-infected individuals holds significant value for understanding natural and vaccine-mediated anti-HIV immunity. Recent efforts have addressed this question by deriving neutralizing monoclonal anti-envelope antibodies from memory B cell pools of selected subjects. However, it has been more difficult to identify whether broadly neutralizing antibodies circulating in plasma possess shared characteristics among individuals. To address this question, we used affinity chromatography and isoelectric focusing to fractionate plasma immunoglobulin from 10 HIV-1-infected subjects (5 subjects with broad HIV-1 neutralizing activity and 5 controls). We find that plasma neutralizing activity typically partitions into at least two subsets of antibodies. Antibodies with restricted neutralization breadth have relatively neutral isoelectric points and preferentially bind to envelope monomers and trimers versus core antigens from which variable loops and other domains have been deleted. In comparison, broadly neutralizing antibodies account for a minor fraction of the total anti-envelope response. They are consistently distinguished by more basic isoelectric points and specificity for epitopes shared by monomeric gp120, gp120 core, or CD4-induced structures. Such biochemical properties might be exploited to reliably predict or produce broad anti-HIV immunity.
The global transcriptional profile of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) stimulated with HIV candidate vaccine (virus-like particles, VLPs) has been evaluated in HIV-infected patients with low/high viral load compared to healthy volunteers. Baseline activation of chemokine production was observed in PBMC from HIV-infected patients and innate immune stimulation with HIV-VLPs was not blunted. The immune profile among HIV-infected patients was found to be qualitatively similar but quantitatively extremely variable. This diversity was independent of viral load and it might be dependent on individual immunogenetic traits or concurrent immunological status.
This ex vivo screening strategy represents an efficient tool for guiding modifications/optimizations of vaccination strategies and understanding failures in individuals enrolled in clinical trials.
Immunogenomics; Vaccine; HIV-1; Peripheral blood mononuclear cell
Certain antibodies from HIV-infected humans bind conserved transition state (CD4 induced [CD4i]) domains on the HIV envelope glycoprotein, gp120, and demonstrate extreme dependence on the formation of a gp120-human CD4 receptor complex. The epitopes recognized by these antibodies remain undefined although recent crystallographic studies of the anti-CD4i monoclonal antibody (MAb) 21c suggest that contacts with CD4 as well as gp120 might occur. Here, we explore the possibility of hybrid epitopes that demand the collaboration of both gp120 and CD4 residues to enable antibody reactivity. Analyses with a panel of human anti-CD4i MAbs and gp120-CD4 antigens with specific mutations in predicted binding domains revealed one putative hybrid epitope, defined by the human anti-CD4i MAb 19e. In virological and immunological tests, MAb 19e did not bind native or constrained gp120 except in the presence of CD4. This contrasted with other anti-CD4i MAbs, including MAb 21c, which bound unliganded, full-length gp120 held in a constrained conformation. Conversely, MAb 19e exhibited no specific reactivity with free human CD4. Computational modeling of MAb 19e interactions with gp120-CD4 complexes suggested a distinct binding profile involving antibody heavy chain interactions with CD4 and light chain interactions with gp120. In accordance, targeted mutations in CD4 based on this model specifically reduced MAb 19e interactions with stable gp120-CD4 complexes that retained reactivity with other anti-CD4i MAbs. These data represent a rare instance of an antibody response that is specific to a pathogen-host cell protein interaction and underscore the diversity of immunogenic CD4i epitope structures that exist during natural infection.
To examine the relationship between HIV-1 antigenic load (plasma RNA copies/ml) and broad HIV-1 neutralizing antibody activity.
Plasma from 120 HIV-1 infected patients, including HIV-1 Natural Viral Suppressors (similar to Elite Controllers), was tested for neutralization against 15 Tier 1/Tier 2 HIV-1 pseudoviruses. Broad HIV-1 neutralizing antibody activity was confirmed with IgG and heterlogous clade testing (18 pseudoviruses from Clades A, C, and CRF02_AG). Statistical analysis was performed to determine factors associated with broad HIV-1 neutralizing antibody activity.
Ten individuals with broad HIV-1 neutralizing antibody activity were identified. These individuals had a median CD4 count of 589 cells/ul (range 202–927), 1,611 HIV-1 RNA copies/ml (range 110–8,964), and 13 years since HIV diagnosis (range 1–22). There was a significant correlation between the presence of broadly neutralizing antibodies in those with HIV-1 RNA between 100 and 10,000 copies/ml compared to those <100 or >10,000 copies/ml (p=.0003 and .0245, respectively). Individuals with HIV-1 RNA 100–10,000 copies/ml had a higher number of Tier 2 viruses neutralized compared to the <100or >10,000 copies/ml groups (p=< .0001 and p=.076, respectively). Male sex was associated with broad HIV-1 neutralizing antibody activity (p=.016).
These results indicate that low but persistent HIV antigen expression correlates with broad HIV-1 neutralizing antibody activity. At higher levels of plasma viremia, neutralization titers were diminished. Conversely, at lower levels, there appears to be insufficient antigen stimulation to maintain high neutralization titers. These findings may have important implications in furthering the understanding of the humoral response to HIV infection.
HIV; broadly neutralizing antibody; neutralizing activity; HIV RNA; natural viral suppressor; elite controller
The β-chemokine RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) suppresses the infection of susceptible host cells by macrophage tropic strains of HIV-1. This effect is attributed to interactions of this chemokine with a 7-transmembrane domain receptor, CCR5, that is required for virus–cell fusion and entry. Here we identify domains of RANTES that contribute to its biological activities through structure–function studies using a new monoclonal antibody, mAb 4A12, isolated from mice immunized with recombinant human RANTES. This monoclonal antibody (mAb) blocked the antiviral activity of RANTES in infectivity assays with HIV-1Bal, and inhibited the mobilization of intracellular Ca2+ elicited by RANTES, yet recognized this chemokine bound to cell surfaces. Epitope mapping using limited proteolysis, reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry suggest that residues 55–66 of RANTES, which include the COOH-terminal α-helical region implicated as the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) binding domain, overlap the determinant recognized by mAb 4A12. This is supported by affinity chromatography studies, which showed that RANTES could be eluted specifically by heparin from a mAb 4A12 immunoaffinity matrix. Removal of cell surface GAGs by enzymatic digestion greatly reduced the ability of mAb 4A12 to detect RANTES passively bound on cell surfaces and abrogated the ability of RANTES to elicit an intracellular Ca2+ signal. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that the COOH-terminal α-helical region of RANTES plays a key role in GAG-binding, antiviral activity, and intracellular Ca2+ signaling and support a model in which GAGs play a key role in the biological activities of this chemokine.
β-chemokines; human immunodeficiency virus 1; monoclonal antibody; signaling; antiviral effect
Most DNA-encoded adjuvants enhance immune responses to DNA vaccines in small animals but are less effective in primates. Here, we characterize the adjuvant activity of the catalytic A1 domain of cholera toxin (CTA1) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) antigens in mice and macaques delivered by GeneGun. The inclusion of CTA1 with SIVmac239 Gag dramatically enhanced anti-Gag antibody responses in mice. The adjuvant effects of CTA1 for the secreted antigen HIV gp120 were much less pronounced than those for Gag, as the responses to gp120 were high in the absence of an adjuvant. CTA1 was a stronger adjuvant for Gag than was granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and it also displayed a wider dose range than GM-CSF in mice. In macaques, CTA1 modestly enhanced the antibody responses to SIV Gag but potently primed for a recombinant Gag protein boost. The results of this study show that CTA1 is a potent adjuvant for SIV Gag when delivered by GeneGun in mice and that CTA1 provides a potent GeneGun-mediated DNA prime for a heterologous protein boost in macaques.
Seventeen women who were persistently uninfected by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), despite repeated sexual exposure, and 12 of their HIV-positive male partners were studied for antiviral correlates of nontransmission. Thirteen women had ≥1 immune response in the form of CD8 cell noncytotoxic HIV-1 suppressive activity, proliferative CD4 cell response to HIV antigens, CD8 cell production of macrophage inflammatory protein–1β, or ELISPOT assay for HIV-1–specific interferon-γ secretion. The male HIV-positive partners without AIDS had extremely high CD8 cell counts. All 8 male partners evaluated showed CD8 cell–related cytotoxic HIV suppressive activity. Reduced CD4 cell susceptibility to infection, neutralizing antibody, single-cell cytokine production, and local antibody in the women played no apparent protective role. These observations suggest that the primary protective factor is CD8 cell activity in both the HIV-positive donor and the HIV-negative partner. These findings have substantial implications for vaccine development.
We have developed a portable high power ultrasound system with a very low output impedance amplifier circuit (less than 0.3 Ω) that can transfer more than 90% of the energy from a battery supply to the ultrasound transducer. The system can deliver therapeutic acoustical energy waves at lower voltages than those in conventional ultrasound systems, because energy losses owing to a mismatched impedance are eliminated. The system can produce acoustic power outputs over the therapeutic range (greater then 50 W) from a PZT-4, 1.54 MHz, 0.75 in diameter piezoelectric ceramic. It is lightweight, portable, and powered by a rechargeable battery. The portable therapeutic ultrasound unit has the potential to replace “plug-in” medical systems and RF amplifiers used in research. The system is capable of field service on its internal battery, making it especially useful for military, ambulatory, and remote medical applications.
It is well established that paracrine secretion of anti-viral CCR5 ligands by CD8+ and CD4+ T cells can block the infection of activated CD4+ T cells by R5 and dual-tropic isolates of HIV-1. By contrast, because CD4+ T cells can be infected by HIV-1 and at least some subsets secrete anti-viral CCR5 ligands, it is possible that these ligands protect against HIV-1 via autocrine as well as paracrine pathways. Here we use a model primary CD4+ T cell response in vitro to show that individual CD4+ T cells that secrete anti-viral CCR5 ligands are ‘self-protected’ against infection with R5 but not X4 strains of HIV-1. This protection is selective for CD4+ T cells that secrete anti-viral CCR5 ligands in that activated CD4+ T cells in the same cultures remain infectable with R5 HIV-1. These data are most consistent with an autocrine pathway of protection in this system and indicate a previously unappreciated selective pressure on the emergence of viral variants and CD4+ T cell phenotypes during HIV-1 infection.
Baculovirus-expressed HIV-1 Pr55gag Virus-Like Particles (HIV-VLPs) induce maturation and activation of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs) with a production of Th1- and Th2-specific cytokines.
The analysis of genomic transcriptional profile of MDDCs, obtained from normal healthy donors and activated by HIV-VLPs, show the modulation of genes involved in the morphological and functional changes characterizing the MDDCs activation and maturation. Similar data are obtained using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), without further selection, showing the feasibility of a direct and “simplified” experimental procedure.
The results here described show that the maturation pattern induced by HIV-VLPs in ex vivo generated MDDCs, can be observed also in CD14-expressing freshly derived PBMCs, with the possible identification of genetic predictors of individual response to immunogens.
Infectious Agents and Cancer is a new open access, peer-reviewed, online journal, which encompasses all aspects of basic, clinical and translational research that provide an insight into the association between chronic infections and cancer.
Cholera toxin (CT) is a potent adjuvant that activates dendritic cells (DC) by increasing intracellular cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels. In vivo and in vitro, very small amounts of CT induce potent adjuvant effects and activate DC. We hypothesized that DC intoxicated by CT may release factors that enhance their own maturation and induce the maturation of toxin-free bystander DC. Through the use of mixed cultures and transwell cultures, we found that human monocyte-derived DC (MDDC) pulsed with CT or other cAMP-elevating agonists induce the maturation of bystander DC. Many DC agonists including CT increase the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and nitric oxide (NO). For this reason, we determined whether the actions of PGE2 or NO are involved in the maturation of MDDC induced by CT or dibutyryl-cAMP (d-cAMP). We found that blocking the production of PGE2 or blocking prostaglandin receptors inhibited MDDC maturation induced by CT and d-cAMP. Likewise, sequestering NO or blocking the downstream actions of NO resulted in the inhibition of MDDC maturation induced by CT and d-cAMP. These results indicate that endogenously produced factors including PGE2 and NO contribute to the maturation of DC induced by CT and that these factors participate in bystander DC maturation. The results of this study may help explain why bacterial toxins that elevate cAMP are such potent adjuvants.
We have recently developed a candidate HIV-1 vaccine model based on HIV-1 Pr55gag Virus-Like Particles (HIV-VLPs), produced in a baculovirus expression system and presenting a gp120 molecule from an Ugandan HIV-1 isolate of the clade A (HIV-VLPAs).
The HIV-VLPAs induce in Balb/c mice systemic and mucosal neutralizing Antibodies as well as cytotoxic T lymphocytes, by intra-peritoneal as well as intra-nasal administration. Moreover, we have recently shown that the baculovirus-expressed HIV-VLPs induce maturation and activation of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs) which, in turn, produce Th1- and Th2-specific cytokines and stimulate in vitro a primary and secondary response in autologous CD4+ T cells.
In the present manuscript, the effects of the baculovirus-expressed HIV-VLPAs on the genomic transcriptional profile of MDDCs obtained from normal healthy donors have been evaluated. The HIV-VLPA stimulation, compared to both PBS and LPS treatment, modulate the expression of genes involved in the morphological and functional changes characterizing the MDDCs activation and maturation.
The results of gene profiling analysis here presented are highly informative on the global pattern of gene expression alteration underlying the activation of MDDCs by HIV-VLPAs at the early stages of the immune response and may be extremely helpful for the identification of exclusive activation markers.
Pasteurella multocida toxin (PMT) is a potent mitogen for fibroblasts and osteoblastic cells. PMT activates phospholipase C-β through Gqα, and the activation of this pathway is responsible for its mitogenic activity. Here, we investigated the effects of PMT on human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDC) in vitro and show a novel activity for PMT. In this regard, PMT activates MDDC to mature in a dose-dependent manner through the activation of phospholipase C and subsequent mobilization of calcium. This activation was accompanied by enhanced stimulation of naïve alloreactive T cells and dominant inhibition of interleukin-12 production in the presence of saturating concentrations of lipopolysaccharide. Surprisingly, although PMT mimics the activating effects of cholera toxin on human MDDC and mouse bone marrow-derived dendritic cells, we found that PMT is not a mucosal adjuvant and that it suppresses the adjuvant effects of cholera toxin in mice. Together, these results indicate discordant effects for PMT in vitro compared to those in vivo.
Calcium is an important second messenger in the phospholipase C (PLC) signal transduction pathway. Calcium signaling is involved in many biological processes, including muscle contraction, cellular activation, and cellular proliferation. Dendritic cell (DC) maturation is induced by many different stimuli, including bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), bacterial toxins, inflammatory cytokines, prostaglandins, as well as calcium mobilization. In the present study, we determined the role of the PLC signal transduction pathway in the activation and maturation of human monocyte-derived DCs (MDDCs) induced by diverse agonists. We found that signaling through PLC activates MDDCs to mature and is necessary for LPS, cholera toxin, dibutyryl-cyclic AMP, prostaglandin E2, and the calcium ionophore A23187 to induce MDDC maturation. The results of the present study along with the results of other studies indicate that multiple signaling pathways are involved in the activation of DCs and that inhibition of any of these pathways inhibits the maturation of DCs.
The cholera-like enterotoxins (CLETS), cholera toxin (CT) and Escherichia coli heat-labile toxin (LT), are powerful mucosal adjuvants. Here we show that these toxins also induce a long-lived blockade (of at least 6 months) on the induction of oral tolerance when they are coadministered with the antigen ovalbumin. Strikingly, only enzymatically active CLETS induced this blockade on the induction of oral tolerance. In this regard, the enzymatically inactive mutants of CT and LT, CTK63 and LTK63, and their recombinant B pentamers, rCTB and rLTB, failed to block the induction of oral tolerance, demonstrating a stringent requirement for an enzymatically active A domain in this phenomenon. Together with the results of other recent studies, these results indicate that the enzymatic activity of CLETS, most likely cyclic AMP elevation, is responsible for their adjuvant effects. The results of this study also indicate that measuring the ability of putative mucosal adjuvants to block the induction of oral tolerance may be a superior method for measuring mucosal adjuvanticity.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) entry is triggered by interactions between a pair of heptad repeats in the gp41 ectodomain, which convert a prehairpin gp41 trimer into a fusogenic three-hairpin bundle. Here we examined the disposition and antigenic nature of these structures during the HIV-mediated fusion of HeLa cells expressing either HIVHXB2 envelope (Env cells) or CXCR4 and CD4 (target cells). Cell-cell fusion, indicated by cytoplasmic dye transfer, was allowed to progress for various lengths of time and then arrested. Fusion intermediates were then examined for reactivity with various monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against immunogenic cluster I and cluster II epitopes in the gp41 ectodomain. All of these MAbs produced similar staining patterns indicative of reactivity with prehairpin gp41 intermediates or related structures. MAb staining was seen on Env cells only upon exposure to soluble CD4, CD4-positive, coreceptor-negative cells, or stromal cell-derived factor-treated target cells. In the fusion system, the MAbs reacted with the interfaces of attached Env and target cells within 10 min of coculture. MAb reactivity colocalized with the formation of gp120-CD4-coreceptor tricomplexes after longer periods of coculture, although reactivity was absent on cells exhibiting cytoplasmic dye transfer. Notably, the MAbs were unable to inhibit fusion even when allowed to react with soluble-CD4-triggered or temperature-arrested antigens prior to initiation of the fusion process. In comparison, a broadly neutralizing antibody, 2F5, which recognizes gp41 antigens in the HIV envelope spike, was immunoreactive with free Env cells and Env-target cell clusters but not with fused cells. Notably, exposure of the 2F5 epitope required temperature-dependent elements of the HIV envelope structure, as MAb binding occurred only above 19°C. Overall, these results demonstrate that immunogenic epitopes, both neutralizing and nonneutralizing, are accessible on gp41 antigens prior to membrane fusion. The 2F5 epitope appears to depend on temperature-dependent elements on prefusion antigens, whereas cluster I and cluster II epitopes are displayed by transient gp41 structures. Such findings have important implications for HIV vaccine approaches based on gp41 intermediates.
Cholera toxin (CT) and heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) are powerful mucosal adjuvants whose cellular targets and mechanism of action are unknown. There is emerging evidence that dendritic cells (DC) are one of the principal cell types that mediate the adjuvant effects of these toxins in vivo. Here we investigate the effects of CT and LT on the maturation of human monocyte-derived DC (MDDC) in vitro. We found that an enzymatically active A domain is necessary for both CT and LT to induce the maturation of MDDC and that this activation is strictly cyclic AMP (cAMP) dependent. ADP-ribosylation-defective derivatives of these toxins failed to induce maturation of MDDC, whereas dibutyryl-cyclic-3′,5′-AMP and Forskolin mimic the maturation of MDDC induced by CT and LT. In addition, an inhibitor of cAMP-dependent kinases, Rp-8-Br-cAMPs, blocked the ability of CT, LT, and Forskolin to activate MDDC. CT, LT, dibutyryl-cyclic-3′,5′-AMP, and Forskolin also dominantly inhibit interleukin 12 and tumor necrosis factor alpha production by MDDC in the presence of saturating concentrations of lipopolysaccharide. Taken together, these results show that the effects of CT and LT on MDDC are mediated by cAMP.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) fusion and entry involves sequential interactions between the viral envelope protein, gp120, cell surface CD4, and a G-protein-coupled coreceptor. Each interaction creates an intermediate gp120 structure predicted to display distinct antigenic features, including key functional domains for viral entry. In this study, we examined the disposition of these features during the fusion of HeLa cells expressing either HIVHXB2 envelope (Env cells) or CXCR4 and CD4 (target cells). Cell-cell fusion, indicated by cytoplasmic dye transfer, was allowed to progress for various times and then arrested. The cells were then examined for reactivity with antibodies directed against receptor-induced epitopes on gp120. Analyses of cells arrested by cooling to 4°C revealed that antibodies against the CD4-induced coreceptor-binding domain, i.e., 17b, 48d, and CG10, faintly react with Env cells even in the absence of target cell or soluble CD4 (sCD4) interactions. Such reactivity increased after exposure to sCD4 but remained unchanged during fusion with target cells and was not intensified at the Env-target cell interface. Notably, the antibodies did not react with Env cells when treated with a covalent cross-linker either alone or during fusion with target cells. Immunoreactivity could not be promoted or otherwise altered on either temperature arrested or cross-linked cells by preventing coreceptor interactions or by using a 17b Fab. In comparison, two other gp120-CD4 complex-dependent antibodies against epitopes outside the coreceptor domain, 8F101 and A32, exhibited a different pattern of reactivity. These antibodies reacted with the Env-target cell interface only after 30 min of cocultivation, concurrent with the first visible transfer of cytoplasmic dye from Env to target cells. At later times, the staining surrounded entire syncytia. Such binding was entirely dependent on the formation of gp120-CD4-CXCR4 tricomplexes since staining was absent with SDF-treated or coreceptor-negative target cells. Overall, these studies show that access to the CD4-induced coreceptor-binding domain on gp120 is largely blocked at the fusing cell interface and is unlikely to represent a target for neutralizing antibodies. However, new epitopes are presented on intermediate gp120 structures formed as a result of coreceptor interactions. Such findings have important implications for HIV vaccine approaches based on conformational alterations in envelope structures.
The infection of CD4+ host cells by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is initiated by a temporal progression of interactions between specific cell surface receptors and the viral envelope protein, gp120. These interactions produce a number of intermediate structures with distinct conformational, functional, and antigenic features that may provide important targets for therapeutic and vaccination strategies against HIV infection. One such intermediate, the gp120-CD4 complex, arises from the interaction of gp120 with the CD4 receptor and enables interactions with specific coreceptors needed for viral entry. gp120-CD4 complexes are thus promising targets for anti-HIV vaccines and therapies. The development of such strategies would be greatly facilitated by a means to produce the gp120-CD4 complexes in a wide variety of contexts. Accordingly, we have developed single-chain polypeptide analogues that accurately replicate structural, functional, and antigenic features of the gp120-CD4 complex. One analogue (FLSC) consists of full-length HIV-1BaL gp120 and the D1D2 domains of CD4 joined by a 20-amino-acid linker. The second analogue (TcSC) contains a truncated form of the gp120 lacking portions of the C1, C5, V1, and V2 domains. Both molecules exhibited increased exposure of epitopes in the gp120 coreceptor-binding site but did not present epitopes of either gp120 or CD4 responsible for complex formation. Further, the FLSC and TcSC analogues bound specifically to CCR5 (R5) and blocked R5 virus infection. Thus, these single-chain chimeric molecules represent the first generation of soluble recombinant proteins that mimic the gp120-CD4 complex intermediate that arises during HIV replication.