Broadly neutralizing antibodies to the CD4 binding site (CD4bs) of gp120 are generated by some HIV-1-infected individuals, but little is known about the prevalence and evolution of this antibody response during the course of HIV-1 infection. We analyzed the sera of 113 HIV-1 seroconverters from three cohorts for binding to a panel of gp120 core proteins and their corresponding CD4bs knockout mutants. Among sera collected between 99 and 258 weeks post-HIV-1 infection, 88% contained antibodies to the CD4bs and 47% contained antibodies to resurfaced stabilized core (RSC) probes that react preferentially with broadly neutralizing CD4bs antibodies (BNCD4), such as monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) VRC01 and VRC-CH31. Analysis of longitudinal serum samples from a subset of 18 subjects revealed that CD4bs antibodies to gp120 arose within the first 4 to 16 weeks of infection, while the development of RSC-reactive antibodies was more varied, occurring between 10 and 152 weeks post-HIV-1 infection. Despite the presence of these antibodies, serum neutralization mediated by RSC-reactive antibodies was detected in sera from only a few donors infected for more than 3 years. Thus, CD4bs antibodies that bind a VRC01-like epitope are often induced during HIV-1 infection, but the level and potency required to mediate serum neutralization may take years to develop. An improved understanding of the immunological factors associated with the development and maturation of neutralizing CD4bs antibodies during HIV-1 infection may provide insights into the requirements for eliciting this response by vaccination.
Vaccine regimens using different agents for priming and boosting have become popular for enhancing T cell and Ab responses elicited by candidate HIV/AIDS vaccines. Here we use a simian model to evaluate immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccine in the presence and absence of a recombinant DNA prime. The simian vaccines and regimens represent prototypes for candidate HIV vaccines currently undergoing clinical testing.
Recombinant DNA and MVA immunogens expressed simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)mac239 Gag, PR, RT, and Env sequences. Vaccine schedules tested inoculations of MVA at months 0, 2, and 6 (MMM regimen) or priming with DNA at months 0 and 2 and boosting with MVA at months 4 and 6 (DDMM regimen). Twelve weekly rectal challenges with the heterologous SIV smE660 were initiated at 6 months following the last immunization.
Both regimens elicited similar 61–64% reductions in the per challenge risk of SIVsmE660 transmission despite raising different patterns of immune responses. The DDMM regimen elicited higher magnitudes of CD4 T cells whereas the MMM regimen elicited higher titers and greater avidity Env-specific IgG and more frequent and higher titer SIV-specific IgA in rectal secretions. Both regimens elicited similar magnitudes of CD8 T cells. Magnitudes of T cell responses, specific activities of rectal IgA Ab, and the tested specificities for neutralization and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity did not correlate with risk of infection. However, the avidity of Env-specific IgG had a strong correlation with the per challenge risk of acquisition, but only for the DDMM group.
We conclude that for the tested immunogens in rhesus macaques, the simpler MMM regimen is as protective as the more complex DDMM regimen.
Vaccine; Immunodeficiency virus; Simian immunodeficiency virus; DNA vaccine MVA vaccine; avidity in protection
Broadly neutralizing Abs to HIV-1 are well described; however, identification of Ags that elicit these Abs has proven difficult. Persistent infection with GB virus type C (GBV-C) is associated with prolonged survival in HIV-1–infected individuals, and among those without HIV-1 viremia, the presence of Ab to GBV-C glycoprotein E2 is also associated with survival. GBV-C E2 protein inhibits HIV-1 entry, and an antigenic peptide within E2 interferes with gp41-induced membrane perturbations in vitro, suggesting the possibility of structural mimicry between GBV-C E2 protein and HIV-1 particles. Naturally occurring human and experimentally induced GBV-C E2 Abs were examined for their ability to neutralize infectious HIV-1 particles and HIV-1–enveloped pseudovirus particles. All GBV-C E2 Abs neutralized diverse isolates of HIV-1 with the exception of rabbit anti-peptide Abs raised against a synthetic GBV-C E2 peptide. Rabbit anti–GBV-C E2 Abs neutralized HIV-1–pseudotyped retrovirus particles but not HIV-1–pseudotyped vesicular stomatitis virus particles, and E2 Abs immune-precipitated HIV-1 gag particles containing the vesicular stomatitis virus type G envelope, HIV-1 envelope, GBV-C envelope, or no viral envelope. The Abs did not neutralize or immune-precipitate mumps or yellow fever viruses. Rabbit GBV-C E2 Abs inhibited HIV attachment to cells but did not inhibit entry following attachment. Taken together, these data indicate that the GBV-C E2 protein has a structural motif that elicits Abs that cross-react with a cellular Ag present on retrovirus particles, independent of HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins. The data provide evidence that a heterologous viral protein can induce HIV-1–neutralizing Abs.
The role of antibodies directed against the hyper variable envelope region V1 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), has not been thoroughly studied. We show that a vaccine able to elicit strain-specific non-neutralizing antibodies to this region of gp120 is associated with control of highly pathogenic chimeric SHIV89.6P replication in rhesus macaques. The vaccinated animal that had the highest titers of antibodies to the amino terminus portion of V1, prior to challenge, had secondary antibody responses that mediated cell killing by antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), as early as two weeks after infection and inhibited viral replication by antibody-dependent cell-mediated virus inhibition (ADCVI), by four weeks after infection. There was a significant inverse correlation between virus level and binding antibody titers to the envelope protein, (R = -0.83, p 0.015), and ADCVI (R = -0.84 p=0.044). Genotyping of plasma virus demonstrated in vivo selection of three SHIV89.6P variants with changes in potential N-linked glycosylation sites in V1. We found a significant inverse correlation between virus levels and titers of antibodies that mediated ADCVI against all the identified V1 virus variants. A significant inverse correlation was also found between neutralizing antibody titers to SHIV89.6 and virus levels (R = -0.72 p =0.0050). However, passive inoculation of purified immunoglobulin from animal M316, the macaque that best controlled virus, to a naïve macaque, resulted in a low serum neutralizing antibodies and low ADCVI activity that failed to protect from SHIV89.6P challenge. Collectively, while our data suggest that anti-envelope antibodies with neutralizing and non-neutralizing FcγR-dependent activities may be important in the control of SHIV replication, they also demonstrate that low levels of these antibodies alone are not sufficient to protect from infection.
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.
Plasma from a small subset of subjects chronically infected with HIV-1 shows remarkable magnitude and breadth of neutralizing activity. From one of these individuals (CH0219), we isolated two broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs), CH01 and VRC-CH31, from two clonal lineages of memory B cells with distinct specificities (variable loop 1 and 2 [V1V2] conformational specificity and CD4-binding site specificity, respectively) that recapitulate 95% of CH0219 serum neutralization breadth. These data provide proof of concept for an HIV-1 vaccine that aims to elicit bnAbs of multiple specificities.
An HIV-1 vaccine remains elusive, in part because various factors limit the quantity and quality of the antibodies raised against the viral envelope glycoprotein complex (Env). We hypothesized that targeting Env vaccines directly to B cells, by fusing them to molecules that bind and activate these cells, would improve Env-specific antibody responses. Therefore, we fused trimeric Env gp140 to A PRoliferation-Inducing Ligand (APRIL), B-cell Activating Factor (BAFF), and CD40 Ligand (CD40L). The Env-APRIL, Env-BAFF, and Env-CD40L gp140 trimers all enhanced the expression of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), the enzyme responsible for inducing somatic hypermutation, antibody affinity maturation, and antibody class switching. They also triggered IgM, IgG, and IgA secretion from human B cells in vitro. The Env-APRIL trimers induced higher anti-Env antibody responses in rabbits, including neutralizing antibodies against tier 1 viruses. The enhanced Env-specific responses were not associated with a general increase in total plasma antibody concentrations, indicating that the effect of APRIL was specific for Env. All the rabbit sera raised against gp140 trimers, irrespective of the presence of CD40L, BAFF, or APRIL, recognized trimeric Env efficiently, whereas sera raised against gp120 monomers did not. The levels of trimer-binding and virus-neutralizing antibodies were strongly correlated, suggesting that gp140 trimers are superior to gp120 monomers as immunogens. Targeting and activating B cells with a trimeric HIV-1 Env-APRIL fusion protein may therefore improve the induction of humoral immunity against HIV-1.
The influence of preexisting immunity to viral vectors is a major issue for the development of viral vectored vaccines. Here, we investigate the effect of preexisting vaccinia virus immunity on the immunogenicity and efficacy of a DNA/MVA SIV vaccine in rhesus macaques using a pathogenic intrarectal SIV251 challenge. Preexisting immunity decreased SIV-specific CD8 and CD4 T cell responses, but preserved the SIV-specific humoral immunity. In addition, preexisting immunity did not diminish the control of a SIV challenge mediated by the DNA/MVA vaccine. The peak and set point viremia was 150- and 17-fold lower, respectively in preimmune animals compared to control animals. The peak and set point viremia correlated directly with colorectal virus at 2 weeks post challenge suggesting that early control of virus replication at the site of viral challenge was critical for viral control. Factors that correlated with early colorectal viral control included (i) the presence of anti-SIV IgA in rectal secretions, (ii) high avidity binding antibody for the native form of Env and (iii) low magnitude of vaccine-elicited SIV-specific CD4 T cells displaying the CCR5 viral co-receptor. The frequency of SIV-specific CD8 T cells in blood and colorectal tissue at 2 weeks post challenge did not correlate with early colorectal viral control. These results suggest that preexisting vaccinia virus immunity may not limit the potential of recombinant MVA vaccines to elicit humoral immunity and highlight the importance of immunodeficiency virus vaccines achieving early control at the mucosal sites of challenge.
We sought to induce primate immunodeficiency virus-specific cellular and neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses in rhesus macaques (RM) through a bimodal vaccine approach. RM were immunized intragastrically (i.g.) with the live-attenuated Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) vector Lmdd-BdopSIVgag encoding SIVmac239 gag. SIV Gag-specific cellular responses were boosted by intranasal and intratracheal administration of replication-competent adenovirus (Ad5hr-SIVgag) encoding the same gag. To broaden antiviral immunity, the RM were immunized with multimeric HIV clade C (HIV-C) gp160 and HIV Tat. SIV Gag-specific cellular immune responses and HIV-1 nAb developed in some RM. The animals were challenged intrarectally with five low doses of R5 SHIV-1157ipEL-p, encoding a heterologous HIV-C Env (22.1% divergent to the Env immunogen). All five controls became viremic. One out of ten vaccinees was completely protected and another had low peak viremia. Sera from the completely and partially protected RM neutralized the challenge virus >90%; these RM also had strong SIV Gag-specific proliferation of CD8+ T cells. Peak and area under the curve of plasma viremia (during acute phase) among vaccinees was lower than for controls, but did not attain significance. The completely protected RM showed persistently low numbers of the α4β7-expressing CD4+ T cells; the latter have been implicated as preferential virus targets in-vivo. Thus, vaccine-induced immune responses and relatively lower numbers of potential target cells were associated with protection.
Live attenuated Listeria monocytogenes; Replication-competent adenovirus; Live oral vaccine; HIV/AIDS vaccine; Multimeric HIV clade C gp160; Prime-boost vaccination; α4β7 integrin
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.
Purpose of review
New findings continue to support the notion that broadly crossreactive neutralizing antibody induction is a worthwhile and achievable goal for HIV-1 vaccines. Immunogens are needed that can overcome the genetic variability and complex immune evasion tactics of the virus. Other antibodies might bridge innate and acquired immunity for possible beneficial vaccine effects. This review summarizes progress made over the past year that has enhanced our understanding of humoral immunity as it relates to HIV-1 vaccine development.
Although a clear path to designing an effective neutralizing antibody-based HIV-1 vaccine remains elusive, there is new information on how antibodies neutralize HIV-1, the epitopes involved, and clues to the possible nature of protective immunogens that keep this goal alive. Moreover, there is a greater understanding of HIV-1 diversity and its possible limits under immune pressure. Other antibodies might possess antiviral activity by mechanisms involving Fc receptor engagement or complement activation that would be of value for HIV-1 vaccines.
Recent developments strengthen the rationale for antibody-based HIV-1 vaccine immunogens and provide a stronger foundation for vaccine discovery.
adjuvants; AIDS; antibodies; complement; Fc receptors; vaccines
A simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) vaccine coexpressing granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) prevented infection in 71% of macaques that received 12 rectal challenges. The SIVsmE660 challenge had the tropism of incident human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections and a similar genetic distance from the SIV239 vaccine as intraclade HIV isolates. The heterologous prime-boost vaccine regimen used recombinant DNA for priming and recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara for boosting. Co-expression of GM-CSF in the DNA prime enhanced the avidity of elicited immunoglobulin G for SIV envelope glycoproteins, the titers of neutralizing antibody for easy-to-neutralize SIV isolates, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Impressively, the co-expressed GM-CSF increased vaccine-induced prevention of infection from 25% in the non–GM-CSF co-expressing vaccine group to 71% in the GM-CSF co-expressing vaccine group. The prevention of infection showed a strong correlation with the avidity of the elicited Env-specific antibody for the Env of the SIVsmE660 challenge virus (r = 0.9; P < .0001).
The envelope glycoprotein (Env) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is composed of two noncovalently associated subunits: an extracellular subunit (gp120) and a transmembrane subunit (gp41). The functional unit of Env on the surface of infectious virions is a trimer of gp120/gp41 heterodimers. Env is the target of anti-HIV neutralizing antibodies. A considerable effort has been invested in the engineering of recombinant soluble forms of the virion-associated Env trimer as vaccine candidates to elicit anti-HIV neutralizing antibody responses. These soluble constructs contain three gp120 subunits and the extracellular segments of the corresponding gp41 subunits. The individual gp120/gp41 protomers on these soluble trimers are identical in amino acid sequence (homotrimers). Here, we engineered novel soluble trimeric gp140 proteins that are formed by the association of gp140 protomers that differ in amino acid sequence and glycosylation patterns (heterotrimers). Specifically, we engineered soluble heterotrimeric proteins composed of clade A and clade B Env protomers. The clade A gp140 protomers were derived from viruses isolated during acute infection (Q168a2, Q259d2.17, and Q461e2), whereas the clade B gp140 protomers were derived from a virus isolated during chronic infection (SF162). The amino acid sequence divergence between the clade A and the clade B Envs is approximately 24%. Neutralization epitopes in the CD4 binding sites and coreceptor binding sites, as well as the membrane-proximal external region (MPER), were differentially expressed on the heterotrimeric and homotrimeric proteins. The heterotrimeric gp140s elicited broader anti-tier 1 isolate neutralizing antibody responses than did the homotrimeric gp140s.
Single genome sequencing of early HIV-1 genomes provides a sensitive, dynamic assessment of virus evolution and insight into the earliest anti-viral immune responses in vivo. By using this approach, together with deep sequencing, site-directed mutagenesis, antibody adsorptions and virus-entry assays, we found evidence in three subjects of neutralizing antibody (Nab) responses as early as 2 weeks post-seroconversion, with Nab titers as low as 1∶20 to 1∶50 (IC50) selecting for virus escape. In each of the subjects, Nabs targeted different regions of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) in a strain-specific, conformationally sensitive manner. In subject CH40, virus escape was first mediated by mutations in the V1 region of the Env, followed by V3. HIV-1 specific monoclonal antibodies from this subject mapped to an immunodominant region at the base of V3 and exhibited neutralizing patterns indistinguishable from polyclonal antibody responses, indicating V1–V3 interactions within the Env trimer. In subject CH77, escape mutations mapped to the V2 region of Env, several of which selected for alterations of glycosylation. And in subject CH58, escape mutations mapped to the Env outer domain. In all three subjects, initial Nab recognition was followed by sequential rounds of virus escape and Nab elicitation, with Nab escape variants exhibiting variable costs to replication fitness. Although delayed in comparison with autologous CD8 T-cell responses, our findings show that Nabs appear earlier in HIV-1 infection than previously recognized, target diverse sites on HIV-1 Env, and impede virus replication at surprisingly low titers. The unexpected in vivo sensitivity of early transmitted/founder virus to Nabs raises the possibility that similarly low concentrations of vaccine-induced Nabs could impair virus acquisition in natural HIV-1 transmission, where the risk of infection is low and the number of viruses responsible for transmission and productive clinical infection is typically one.
Characterizing early adaptive immune responses to HIV-1 can inform studies of virus persistence, pathogenesis and natural history and can guide rational vaccine design. Previous studies examined the role of neutralizing antibodies (Nab) in acute and chronic HIV-1 infection but not against the precise envelope (Env) glycoproteins of transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses and not in direct comparison with autologous cellular immune responses in the same subjects. Here, we identified T/F HIV-1 env genes and their progeny in three subjects by single genome sequencing and performed a dynamic assessment of Nab responses based on env evolution and phenotypic changes in the Env glycoprotein over time. Surprisingly, we found genetic evidence of Nab activity as early as 2 weeks post-seroconversion, with Nab titers as low as 1∶20 to 1∶50 (IC50) selecting for virus escape. Nabs targeted different regions of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) in a strain-specific, conformationally sensitive manner. Although delayed in comparison with autologous CD8 T-cell responses, Nabs appeared earlier in HIV-1 infection than previously recognized and impeded virus entry at low titers. This raises the possibility that similarly low concentrations of vaccine-induced Nabs could impair virus acquisition in natural HIV-1 transmission, where the risk of infection is low and the number of viruses responsible for transmission and productive clinical infection is typically one.
Background. A recombinant canarypox vector expressing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag, Pro, and membrane-linked gp120 (vCP1521), combined with a bivalent gp120 protein boost (AIDSVAX B/E), provided modest protection against HIV-1 infection in a community-based population in Thailand (RV144 trial). No protection was observed in Thai injection drug users who received AIDSVAX B/E alone (Vax003 trial). We compared the neutralizing antibody response in these 2 trials.
Methods. Neutralization was assessed with tier 1 and tier 2 strains of virus in TZM-bl and A3R5 cells.
Results. Neutralization of several tier 1 viruses was detected in both RV144 and Vax003. Peak titers were higher in Vax003 and waned rapidly in both trials. The response in RV144 was targeted in part to V3 of gp120.vCP1521 priming plus 2 boosts with gp120 protein was superior to 2 gp120 protein inoculations alone, confirming a priming effect for vCP1521. Sporadic weak neutralization of tier 2 viruses was detected only in Vax003 and A3R5 cells.
Conclusion. The results suggest either that weak neutralizing antibody responses can be partially protective against HIV-1 in low-risk heterosexual populations or that the modest efficacy seen in RV144 was mediated by other immune responses, either alone or in combination with neutralizing antibodies.
Vaginal gels may act as physical barriers to HIV following semen deposition. However, the extent and significance of this effect are not well understood. During male-to-female sexual transmission of HIV, semen containing infectious HIV is present within the lower female reproductive tract. In cases where a topical gel has previously been applied to the vaginal epithelium, virions must move through gel layers before reaching vulnerable tissue. This additional barrier could affect the functioning of anti-HIV microbicide gels and placebos. To better understand HIV transport in gels, we: (1) quantified diffusion coefficients of HIV virions within semi-solid delivery vehicles; and (2) tested the barrier functioning of thin gel layers in a Transwell system. Two gels used as placebos in microbicides clinical trials, hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) and methylcellulose (MC), were found to hinder HIV transport in vitro. The diffusion coefficients for HIV virions in undiluted HEC and MC were 4 ± 2 × 10−12 cm2/s and 7 ± 1 × 10−12 cm2/s respectively. These are almost 10,000 times lower than the diffusion coefficient for HIV in water. Substantial gel dilution (80%: diluent/gel, v/v) was required before diffusion coefficients rose to even two orders of magnitude lower than those in water. In the Transwell system, gel layers of approximately 150-μm thickness reduced HIV transport. There was a log reduction in the amount of HIV that had breached the Transwell membrane after 0-, 4-, and 8- hour incubations. The ability of a gel to function as a physical barrier to HIV transport from semen to tissue will also depend on its distribution over the epithelium and effects of dilution by vaginal fluids or semen. Results here can serve as a baseline for future design of products that act as barriers to HIV transmission. The potential barrier function of placebo gels should be considered in the design and interpretation of microbicides clinical trials.
HIV prevention; microbicides; gels; diffusion; drug delivery; placebos
Understanding the interactions between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virions and antibodies (Ab) produced during acute HIV-1 infection (AHI) is critical for defining antibody antiviral capabilities. Antibodies that bind virions may prevent transmission by neutralization of virus or mechanically prevent HIV-1 migration through mucosal layers. In this study, we quantified circulating HIV-1 virion-immune complexes (ICs), present in approximately 90% of AHI subjects, and compared the levels and antibody specificity to those in chronic infection. Circulating HIV-1 virions coated with IgG (immune complexes) were in significantly lower levels relative to the viral load in acute infection than in chronic HIV-1 infection. The specificities of the antibodies in the immune complexes differed between acute and chronic infection (anti-gp41 Ab in acute infection and anti-gp120 in chronic infection), potentially suggesting different roles in immunopathogenesis for complexes arising at different stages of infection. We also determined the ability of circulating IgG from AHI to bind infectious versus noninfectious virions. Similar to a nonneutralizing anti-gp41 monoclonal antibody (MAb), purified plasma IgG from acute HIV-1 subjects bound both infectious and noninfectious virions. This was in contrast to the neutralizing antibody 2G12 MAb that bound predominantly infectious virions. Moreover, the initial antibody response captured acute HIV-1 virions without selection for different HIV-1 envelope sequences. In total, this study demonstrates that the composition of immune complexes are dynamic over the course of HIV-1 infection and are comprised initially of antibodies that nonselectively opsonize both infectious and noninfectious virions, likely contributing to the lack of efficacy of the antibody response during acute infection.
While some recently transmitted HIV clade C (HIV-C) strains exhibited tier 1 neutralization phenotypes, most were tier 2 strains (J Virol 2010; 84:1439). Because induction of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) through vaccination against tier 2 viruses has proven difficult, we have generated a tier 1, clade C simian–human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV-C) to permit efficacy testing of candidate AIDS vaccines against tier 1 viruses.
SHIV-1157ipEL was created by swapping env of a late-stage virus with that of a tier 1, early form.
After adaptation to rhesus macaques (RM), passaged SHIV-1157ipEL-p replicated vigorously in vitro and in vivo while maintaining R5 tropism. The virus was reproducibly transmissible intrarectally. Phylogenetically, SHIV-1157ipEL-p Env clustered with HIV-C sequences. All RM chronically infected with SHIV-1157ipEL-p developed high nAb titers against autologous as well as heterologous tier 1 strains.
SHIV-1157ipEL-p was reproducibly transmitted in RM, induced cross-clade nAbs, and represents a tool to evaluate anti-HIV-C nAb responses in primates.
clade C SHIV; neutralization sensitive; R5 SHIV; tier 1; vaccine development
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.
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.
Background. Recombinant DNA and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (rMVA) vaccines represent a promising approach to an HIV/AIDS vaccine. This Phase 1 clinical trial compared the safety and immunogenicity of a rMVA vaccine administered with and without DNA vaccine priming
Methods. GeoVax pGA2/JS7 DNA (D) and MVA/HIV62 (M) vaccines encode noninfectious virus-like particles. Intramuscular needle injections were used to deliver placebo, 2 doses of DNA followed by 2 doses of rMVA (DDMM), one dose of DNA followed by 2 doses of rMVA (DMM), or 3 doses of rMVA (MMM) to HIV-seronegative participants.
Results. Local and systemic symptoms were mild or moderate. Immune response rates for CD4 + and CD8 + T cells were highest in the DDMM group and lowest in the MMM group (77% vs 43% CD4 + and 42% vs 17% CD8 +). In contrast, response rates for Env binding and neutralizing Ab were highest in the MMM group. The DMM group had intermediate response rates. A 1/10th-dose DDMM regimen induced similar T cell but reduced Ab response rates compared with the full-dose DDMM.
Conclusions. MVA62 was well tolerated and elicited different patterns of T cell and Ab responses when administered alone or in combination with the JS7 DNA vaccine.
Three Indian rhesus macaques, Ad-SIV primed/protein boosted and exposed twice to high-dose mucosal SIVmac251 challenges, exhibited elite control of viremia over 6½ years. They were negative for host factors associated with control of SIV infection. After a third intrarectal challenge with SIVsmE660, all controlled viremia, with one (macaque #5) maintaining undetectable viremia in blood. Acquisition was not blocked, but virus was contained in the jejunum and draining lymph nodes. Polyfunctional memory T cell responses and high-titered neutralizing and non-neutralizing serum and mucosal antibodies were present before and maintained post-challenge. The level of protection seen for animal #5 was predicted from analyses of gene transcription in jejunum 2 weeks post-challenge. Macaques #7 and #9, exhibiting lower pre-challenge cellular and humoral immunity, partially controlled the SIVsmE660 challenge. Initial vaccine-induced control by macaque #5 extended to the SIVsmE660 challenge due to multiple immune mechanisms that were boosted and augmented by cryptic SIV exposure.
SIV; elite-control; virus sequestration; multifaceted immunity; vaccine; memory
Purpose of Review
This review describes some of the major obstacles that have impeded progress in the development of an effective neutralizing antibody-based HIV-1 vaccine and explains why it may be possible to overcome these obstacles. A renewed interest in the B-cell response in HIV-1-infected individuals is emphasized.
New assay technologies and access to large numbers of clinical specimens have permitted a detailed assessment of the neutralizing antibody response in HIV-1 infected individuals. Recent studies have demonstrated that B-cells can be stimulated to generate high titers of broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against multiple genetic subtypes of the virus. Preliminary evidence suggests that some of these antibodies are directed against epitopes in the CD4 binding site on monomeric gp120, whereas many others are directed against epitopes that remain to be identified.
The rationale for pursuing an effective neutralizing antibody-based HIV-1 vaccine is strengthened by the recent demonstration of potent neutralizing antibody responses in a subset of HIV-1-infected individuals. Information on how this response develops and what epitopes are targeted could provide the insights that are needed to design improved vaccine strategies.
HIV-1 vaccine; neutralizing antibodies; B-cells
Subtype C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1C) continues to cause the majority of new cases of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), and yet there are limited data on HIV-1C transmission. We amplified env from plasma RNA for 19 HIV-1C MTCT pairs, 10 transmitting in utero (IU) and 9 transmitting intrapartum (IP). There was a strong genetic bottleneck between all mother-infant pairs, with a majority of transmission events involving the transmission of a single virus. env genes of viruses transmitted to infants IP, but not IU, encoded Env proteins that were shorter and had fewer putative N-linked glycosylation sites in the V1-V5 region than matched maternal sequences. Viruses pseudotyped with env clones representative of each maternal and infant population were tested for neutralization sensitivity. The 50% inhibitory concentration of autologous serum was similar against both transmitted (infant) and nontransmitted (maternal) viruses in a paired analysis. Mother and infant Env proteins were also similar in sensitivity to soluble CD4, to a panel of monoclonal antibodies, and to heterologous HIV-1C sera. In addition, there was no difference in the breadth or potency of neutralizing antibodies between sera from 50 nontransmitting and 23 IU and 23 IP transmitting HIV-1C-infected women against four Env proteins from heterologous viruses. Thus, while a strong genetic bottleneck was detected during MCTC, with viruses of shorter and fewer glycosylation sites in env present in IP transmission, our data do not support this bottleneck being driven by selective resistance to antibodies.
The Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery/Comprehensive Antibody – Vaccine Immune Monitoring Consortium (CAVD/CA-VIMC) assisted an international network of laboratories in transferring a validated assay used to judge HIV-1 vaccine immunogenicity in compliance with Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) with the goal of adding quality to the conduct of endpoint assays for Human Immunodeficiency Virus I (HIV-1) vaccine human clinical trials. Eight Regional Laboratories in the international setting (Regional Laboratories), many located in regions where the HIV-1 epidemic is most prominent, were selected to implement the standardized, GCLP-compliant Neutralizing Antibody Assay for HIV-1 in TZM-bl Cells (TZM-bl NAb Assay). Each laboratory was required to undergo initial training and implementation of the immunologic assay on-site and then perform partial assay re-validation, competency testing, and undergo formal external audits for GCLP compliance. Furthermore, using a newly established external proficiency testing program for the TZM-bl NAb Assay has allowed the Regional Laboratories to assess the comparability of assay results at their site with the results of neutralizing antibody assays performed around the world. As a result, several of the CAVD/CA-VIMC Regional Laboratories are now in the process of conducting or planning to conduct the GCLP-compliant TZM-bl NAb Assay as an indicator of vaccine immunogenicity for ongoing human clinical trials.