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1.  Tissue memory B cell repertoire analysis after ALVAC/AIDSVAX B/E gp120 immunization of rhesus macaques 
JCI Insight  null;1(20):e88522.
The ALVAC prime/ALVAC + AIDSVAX B/E boost RV144 vaccine trial induced an estimated 31% efficacy in a low-risk cohort where HIV‑1 exposures were likely at mucosal surfaces. An immune correlates study demonstrated that antibodies targeting the V2 region and in a secondary analysis antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), in the presence of low envelope-specific (Env-specific) IgA, correlated with decreased risk of infection. Thus, understanding the B cell repertoires induced by this vaccine in systemic and mucosal compartments are key to understanding the potential protective mechanisms of this vaccine regimen. We immunized rhesus macaques with the ALVAC/AIDSVAX B/E gp120 vaccine regimen given in RV144, and then gave a boost 6 months later, after which the animals were necropsied. We isolated systemic and intestinal vaccine Env-specific memory B cells. Whereas Env-specific B cell clonal lineages were shared between spleen, draining inguinal, anterior pelvic, posterior pelvic, and periaortic lymph nodes, members of Env‑specific B cell clonal lineages were absent in the terminal ileum. Env‑specific antibodies were detectable in rectal fluids, suggesting that IgG antibodies present at mucosal sites were likely systemically produced and transported to intestinal mucosal sites.
The RV144 HIV prime-boost vaccination regimen in macaques demonstrates that vaccine-specific B cell clonal lineages are absent in terminal ileum.
PMCID: PMC5135278  PMID: 27942585
2.  Neutralization Takes Precedence Over IgG or IgA Isotype-related Functions in Mucosal HIV-1 Antibody-mediated Protection 
EBioMedicine  2016;14:97-111.
HIV-1 infection occurs primarily through mucosal transmission. Application of biologically relevant mucosal models can advance understanding of the functional properties of antibodies that mediate HIV protection, thereby guiding antibody-based vaccine development. Here, we employed a human ex vivo vaginal HIV-1 infection model and a rhesus macaque in vivo intrarectal SHIV challenge model to probe the protective capacity of monoclonal broadly-neutralizing (bnAb) and non-neutralizing Abs (nnAbs) that were functionally modified by isotype switching. For human vaginal explants, we developed a replication-competent, secreted NanoLuc reporter virus system and showed that CD4 binding site bnAbs b12 IgG1 and CH31 IgG1 and IgA2 isoforms potently blocked HIV-1JR-CSF and HIV-1Bal26 infection. However, IgG1 and IgA nnAbs, either alone or together, did not inhibit infection despite the presence of FcR-expressing effector cells in the tissue. In macaques, the CH31 IgG1 and IgA2 isoforms infused before high-dose SHIV challenge were completely to partially protective, respectively, while nnAbs (CH54 IgG1 and CH38 mIgA2) were non-protective. Importantly, in both mucosal models IgG1 isotype bnAbs were more protective than the IgA2 isotypes, attributable in part to greater neutralization activity of the IgG1 variants. These findings underscore the importance of potent bnAb induction as a primary goal of HIV-1 vaccine development.
•Only broadly-neutralizing IgG and IgA Abs were protective in two relevant mucosal models of HIV-1 infection.•IgG isotype variants were typically more protective than the IgA isotype variants against vaginal or rectal challenge.•Neutralization rather than IgA-specific functions may afford better protection against mucosal HIV-1 infection.
Antibodies are likely to play a key role in preventing HIV-1 infection following mucosal exposure. We used two mucosal models, in conjunction with IgG and IgA versions of the same antibodies, to identify protective antibody properties relevant to vaginal and rectal transmission. Antibodies that can potently neutralize most HIV-1 strains were protective against viral challenge, but those without this capability were non-protective. The IgA antibodies were no more protective than their IgG counterparts even though IgA antibody forms are more abundant in the mucosa. These findings can help prioritize vaccine designs to those that induce potent broadly neutralizing IgG antibodies.
PMCID: PMC5161443  PMID: 27919754
ADCC, Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity; ARV, Anti-retroviral; AZT, Zidovudine; bnAb, Broadly neutralizing antibody; CD4bs, CD4 binding site; dIgA, Dimeric IgA; FcRn, Neonatal Fc receptor; GalCer, Galactosyl ceramide; GI, Gastrointestinal; GU, Genitourinary; IDV, Indinivir; IMC, Infectious molecular clone; LED, Lowest effective dose; mAb, Monoclonal antibody; mIgA, Monomeric IgA; MPER, Membrane-proximal external region; nnAb, Non-neutralizing antibody; pIgR, Polymeric IgA receptor; SC, Secretory component; snLuc, Secreted nanoluciferase; sIgA, Secretory IgA; T/F, Transmitted/founder; Antibodies; Neutralizing antibodies; HIV-1; Mucosal immunology; Non-human primate rectal challenge model; Vaginal explants; IgA; IgG
3.  Clinical Trial of an Oral Live Shigella sonnei Vaccine Candidate, WRSS1, in Thai Adults 
Live attenuated Shigella sonnei vaccine candidate WRSS1, previously tested in U.S. and Israeli volunteers, was evaluated in a population of adult Thai volunteers in which the organism is endemic. In a randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind design, inpatient participants received a single oral dose of 1.6 × 104 CFU of WRSS1. The vaccine was generally well tolerated, with equal numbers of vaccinees and placebo controls showing mild symptoms. Only 3 of 13 vaccinees (23%) had culture-positive stools, while a total of 9 vaccinees were positive by PCR. Lack of vaccine shedding in volunteers correlated with lack of clinical symptoms and immune responses, just as the duration of fecal shedding correlated directly with stronger immune responses. Two months following immunization, 10 vaccinees and 10 newly recruited naive controls received a challenge dose of 1,670 CFU of virulent S. sonnei strain 53G. This dose had previously demonstrated a 75% attack rate for dysentery in Thai volunteers. However, in this study the attack rate for dysentery in naive controls after challenge was 20%. Based on clinical record summaries, 3 vaccinees and 5 naive controls experienced clinically relevant illness (diarrhea/dysentery/fever/shigellosis), and a 40% vaccine efficacy was calculated. When these data are compared to those for the performance of this vaccine candidate in more naive populations, it is clear that a single oral dose of WRSS1 at 104 CFU failed to achieve its full potential in a population in which the organism is endemic. Higher doses and/or repeated immunizations may contribute to improved vaccine shedding and consequent elevation of protective immune responses in a population in which the organism is endemic. (The study has been registered at under registration no. NCT01080716.)
PMCID: PMC4933782  PMID: 27146000
4.  HLA class II genes modulate vaccine-induced antibody responses to affect HIV-1 acquisition 
Science translational medicine  2015;7(296):296ra112.
In the RV144 vaccine trial, two antibody responses were found to correlate with HIV-1 acquisition. Because human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II–restricted CD4+ T cells are involved in antibody production, we tested whether HLA class II genotypes affected HIV-1–specific antibody levels and HIV-1 acquisition in 760 individuals. Indeed, antibody responses correlated with acquisition only in the presence of single host HLA alleles. Envelope (Env)–specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies were associated with increased risk of acquisition specifically in individuals with DQB1*06. IgG antibody responses to Env amino acid positions 120 to 204 were higher and were associated with decreased risk of acquisition and increased vaccine efficacy only in the presence of DPB1*13. Screening IgG responses to overlapping peptides spanning Env 120–204 and viral sequence analysis of infected individuals defined differences in vaccine response that were associated with the presence of DPB1*13 and could be responsible for the protection observed. Overall, the underlying genetic findings indicate that HLA class II modulated the quantity, quality, and efficacy of antibody responses in the RV144 trial.
PMCID: PMC4911012  PMID: 26180102
5.  Infant HIV Type 1 gp120 Vaccination Elicits Robust and Durable Anti-V1V2 Immunoglobulin G Responses and Only Rare Envelope-Specific Immunoglobulin A Responses 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;211(4):508-517.
Infant responses to vaccines can be impeded by maternal antibodies and immune system immaturity. It is therefore unclear whether human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccination would elicit similar responses in adults and infants.
HIV-1 Env–specific antibody responses were evaluated in 2 completed pediatric vaccine trials. In the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group (PACTG) 230 protocol, infants were vaccinated with 4 doses of Chiron rgp120 with MF59 (n = 48), VaxGen rgp120 with aluminum hydroxide (alum; n = 49), or placebo (n = 19) between 0 and 20 weeks of age. In PACTG 326, infants received 4 doses of ALVAC-HIV-1/AIDSVAX B/B with alum (n = 9) or placebo (n = 13) between 0 and 12 weeks of age.
By 52 weeks of age, the majority of maternally acquired antibodies had waned and vaccine Env-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses in vaccinees were higher than in placebo recipients. Chiron vaccine recipients had higher and more-durable IgG responses than VaxGen vaccine recipients or ALVAC/AIDSVAX vaccinees, with vaccine-elicited IgG responses still detectable in 56% of recipients at 2 years of age. Remarkably, at peak immunogenicity, the concentration of anti-V1V2 IgG, a response associated with a reduced risk of HIV-1 acquisition in the RV144 adult vaccine trial, was 22-fold higher in Chiron vaccine recipients, compared with RV144 vaccinees.
As exemplified by the Chiron vaccine regimen, vaccination of infants against HIV-1 can induce robust, durable Env-specific IgG responses, including anti-V1V2 IgG.
PMCID: PMC4318918  PMID: 25170104
HIV-1; vaccine; infants; antibodies
6.  HLA class II diversity in HIV-1 uninfected individuals from the placebo arm of the RV144 Thai vaccine efficacy trial 
Tissue antigens  2015;85(2):117-126.
The RV144 HIV vaccine trial in Thailand elicited antibody responses to the envelope of HIV-1, which correlated significantly with the risk of HIV-1 acquisition. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II molecules are essential in antigen presentation to CD4 T cells for activation of B cells to produce antibodies. We genotyped the classical HLA-DRB1, DQB1, and DPB1 genes in 450 individuals from the placebo arm of the RV144 study to determine the background allele and haplotype frequencies of these genes in this cohort. High-resolution 4 and 6-digit class II HLA typing data was generated using sequencing-based methods. The observed diversity for the HLA loci was 33 HLA-DRB1, 15 HLA-DQB1, and 26 HLA-DPB1 alleles. Common alleles with frequencies greater than 10% were DRB1*07:01, DRB1*09:01, DRB1*12:02, DRB1*15:02, DQB1*02:01/02, DQB1*03:01, DQB1*03:03, DQB1*05:01, DQB1*05:02, DPB1*04:01:01, DPB1*05:01:01, and DPB1*13:01:01. We identified 28 rare alleles with frequencies of less than 1% in the Thai individuals. Ambiguity for HLA-DPB1*28:01 in exon 2 was resolved to DPB1*296:01 by next-generation sequencing of all exons. Multi-locus haplotypes including HLA class I and II loci were reported in this study. This is the first comprehensive report of allele and haplotype frequencies of all three HLA class II genes from a Thai population. A high-resolution genotyping method such as next-generation sequencing avoids missing rare alleles and resolves ambiguous calls. The HLA class II genotyping data generated in this study will be beneficial not only for future disease association/vaccine efficacy studies related to the RV144 study, but also for similar studies in other diseases in the Thai population, as well as population genetics and transplantation studies.
PMCID: PMC4552183  PMID: 25626602
HIV-1; Human leukocyte antigen; HLA-DPB1; HLA-DQB1; HLA-DRB1; RV144
7.  Antibody light chain-restricted recognition of the site of immune pressure in the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial is phylogenetically conserved 
Immunity  2014;41(6):909-918.
In HIV-1, the ability to mount antibody responses to conserved, neutralizing epitopes is critical for protection. Here we have studied the light chain usage of human and rhesus macaque antibodies targeted to a dominant region of the HIV-1 envelope second variable (V2) region involving lysine (K)169, the site of immune pressure in the RV144 vaccine efficacy trial. We found that humans and rhesus macaques used orthologous lambda variable gene segments encoding a glutamic acid-aspartic acid (ED) motif for K169 recognition. Structure determination of an unmutated ancestor antibody demonstrated that the V2 binding site was pre-configured for ED motif-mediated recognition prior to maturation. Thus, light chain usage for recognition of the site of immune pressure in the RV144 trial is highly conserved across species. These data indicate the HIV-1 K169-recognizing ED motif has persisted over the diversification between rhesus macaques and humans, suggesting an evolutionary advantage of this antibody recognition mode.
PMCID: PMC4324565  PMID: 25526306
8.  COMPASS identifies T-cell subsets correlated with clinical outcomes 
Nature biotechnology  2015;33(6):610-616.
Advances in flow cytometry and other single-cell technologies have enabled high-dimensional, high-throughput measurements of individual cells and allowed interrogation of cell population heterogeneity. Computational tools to take full advantage of these technologies are lacking. Here, we present COMPASS, a computational framework for unbiased polyfunctionality analysis of antigen-specific T-cell subsets. COMPASS uses a Bayesian hierarchical framework to model all observed functional cell subsets and select those most likely to exhibit antigen-specific responses. Cell-subset responses are quantified by posterior probabilities, while subject-level responses are quantified by two novel summary statistics that can be correlated directly with clinical outcome, and describe the quality of an individual’s (poly)functional response. Using three clinical datasets of cytokine production we demonstrate how COMPASS improves characterization of antigen-specific T cells and reveals novel cellular correlates of protection in the RV144 HIV vaccine efficacy trial that are missed by other methods. COMPASS is available as open-source software.
PMCID: PMC4569006  PMID: 26006008
9.  Identification of New Regions in HIV-1 gp120 Variable 2 and 3 Loops that Bind to α4β7 Integrin Receptor 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0143895.
The gut mucosal homing integrin receptor α4β7 present on activated CD4+ T cells interacts with the HIV-1 gp120 second variable loop (V2). Case control analysis of the RV144 phase III vaccine trial demonstrated that plasma IgG binding antibodies specific to scaffolded proteins expressing the first and second variable regions (V1V2) of HIV envelope protein gp120 containing the α4β7 binding motif correlated inversely with risk of infection. Subsequently antibodies to the V3 region were also shown to correlate with protection. The integrin receptor α4β7 was shown to interact with the LDI/V motif on V2 loop but recent studies suggest that additional regions of V2 loop could interact with the α4β7. Thus, there may be several regions on the V2 and possibly V3 loops that may be involved in this binding. Using a cell line, that constitutively expressed α4β7 receptors but lacked CD4, we examined the contribution of V2 and V3 loops and the ability of V2 peptide-, V2 integrin-, V3-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), and purified IgG from RV144 vaccinees to block the V2/V3-α4β7 interaction.
We demonstrate that α4β7 on RPMI8866 cells bound specifically to its natural ligand mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1) as well as to cyclic-V2 and cyclic-V3 peptides. This binding was inhibited by anti-α4β7-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) ACT-1, mAbs specific to either V2 or V3 loops, and by purified primary virions or infectious molecular clones expressing envelopes from acute or chronic subtypes A, C, and CRF01_AE viruses. Plasma from HIV-1 infected Thai individuals as well as purified IgG from uninfected RV144 vaccinees inhibited (0–50%) the binding of V2 and V3 peptides to α4β7.
Our results indicate that in addition to the tripeptide LDI/V motif, other regions of the V2 and V3 loops of gp120 were involved in binding to α4β7 receptors and this interaction was blocked by anti-V2 peptide, anti-V2 integrin, and anti-V3 antibodies. The ability of purified IgG from some of the uninfected RV144 vaccinees to inhibit α4β7 raises the hypothesis that anti-V2 and anti-V3 antibodies may play a role in blocking the gp120-α4β7 interaction after vaccination and thus prevent HIV-1 acquisition.
PMCID: PMC4666614  PMID: 26625359
10.  Expectation of Volunteers Towards the Vaccine Efficacy of the Prime-Boost HIV Vaccine Phase III Trial During Unblinding 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2014;30(11):1041-1045.
A Phase III community-based HIV vaccine trial using the ALVAC-HIV and AIDSVAX B/E prime-boost regimen (RV144) showed a modest vaccine efficacy of 31.2% against HIV acquisition. Participant's understanding of the trial is a key element of its success. This study aimed to understand participant's expectation and response to the overall results of the trial as well after unblinding. Using an open-ended questionnaire, data were collected from 400 participants who came for the unblinding visit. Fifty-three percent received the vaccine and 47% were placebo recipients. The median age was 30 years (range: 22–37). The observed vaccine efficacy of 31.2% was lower than expected by 67.75% of participants compared to higher than expected (by 6%), as expected (by 11.25%), and those with no expectation (15%). A majority of participants (71.5%) were happy and proud, and indicated that it was a good result. The rest were sad or disappointed (22.75%) or acquiescent (5.75%). After unblinding, 67.92% of the vaccine recipients had a positive response and 32.08% were acquiescent. Among placebo recipients, 85.11% were acquiescent and 10.11% indicated that being assigned to the vaccine group would have been better even though vaccine efficacy was only 31.2%. Despite the modest vaccine efficacy, a majority of study participants acknowledged the value of the trial and hoped that information from RV144 could be used for future vaccine development.
PMCID: PMC4208557  PMID: 24906244
11.  IgG Antibody Responses to Recombinant gp120 Proteins, gp70V1/V2 Scaffolds, and a CyclicV2 Peptide in Thai Phase I/II Vaccine Trials Using Different Vaccine Regimens 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2015;31(11):1178-1186.
RV144 correlates of risk analysis showed that IgG antibodies to gp70V1V2 scaffolds inversely correlated with risk of HIV acquisition. We investigated IgG antibody responses in RV135 and RV132, two ALVAC-HIV prime-boost vaccine trials conducted in Thailand prior to RV144. Both trials used ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) at 0, 1, 3, and 6 months and HIV-1 gp120MNgD and gp120A244gD in alum (RV135) or gp120SF2 and gp120CM235 in MF59 (RV132) at 3 and 6 months. We assessed ELISA binding antibodies to the envelope proteins (Env) 92TH023, A244gD and MNgD, cyclicV2, and gp70V1V2 CaseA2 (subtype B) and 92TH023 (subtype CRF01_AE), and Env-specific IgG1 and IgG3. Antibody responses to gp120 A244gD, MNgD, and gp70V1V2 92TH023 scaffold were significantly higher in RV135 than in RV132. Antibodies to gp70V1V2 CaseA2 were detected only in RV135 vaccine recipients and IgG1 and IgG3 antibody responses to A244gD were significantly higher in RV135. IgG binding to gp70V1V2 CaseA2 and CRF01_AE scaffolds was higher with the AIDSVAX®B/E boost but both trials showed similar rates of antibody decline post-vaccination. MF59 did not result in higher IgG antibody responses compared to alum with the antigens tested. However, notable differences in the structure of the recombinant proteins and dosage used for immunizations may have contributed to the magnitude and specificity of IgG induced by the two trials.
PMCID: PMC4651018  PMID: 26234467
12.  Health education and factors influencing acceptance of and willingness to pay for influenza vaccination among older adults 
BMC Geriatrics  2015;15:136.
The influenza vaccine is recommended in older population. However the immunization coverage varies globally. It has been reported as low as 10–20 % in some countries. This study explored the acceptance of and willingness to pay for influenza vaccination, comparing acceptance and willingness to pay before and after health education.
The study was conducted with 2693 older people in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants were divided into an education group (n = 1402) and a control group (n = 1291). A validated questionnaire measuring acceptance of and willingness to pay for vaccination was administered during semi-structured interviews before and after education. Data on factors influencing acceptance were analyzed.
Participants’ mean age was 69.5 years, 80 % were women and 82.1 % had at least one co-morbidity. Of the participants, 43.5 % had previously received vaccination more than once, although 92.8 % expressed acceptance of vaccination. Acceptance was associated with a positive attitude toward vaccination (OR 2.1, 95 % CI 1.5–2.9) and a history of receiving vaccination (OR 4.1, 95 % CI 2.8–6.1). At baseline, there were no differences between the education and control groups in terms of work status (p = 0.457), co-morbidities (p = 0.07), medical status (p = 0.243), and previous vaccination (p = 0.62), except for educational background (p = 0.004). Acceptance of vaccination increased to 95.8 % (p < 0.001) after education and willingness to pay increased to 82.1 % (p < 0.001). Education significantly affected those with primary school-level education and no previous vaccination history, with acceptance increasing from 83.3 to 92.6 % (p < 0.001); more than twice as high as the control group (OR 2.4, 95 % CI 1.2–4.7). Viewing an educational video increased the proportion of participants with a high level of knowledge from 29.2 to 49.2 % (p < 0.001), and increased the proportion of participants with a positive attitude from 52.4 to 70.7 % (p <0.001). No significant difference was found in any parameter between the first and second assessment in the control group.
The strategies to increase positive attitudes may enhance the acceptance of vaccination. Health education using an educational video demonstrated a significant impact on acceptance, willingness to pay, knowledge and attitude in older people. This may lead to increased sustainability of the immunization program in older people.
PMCID: PMC4620638  PMID: 26503289
Acceptance; Older adults; Health education; Influenza vaccination; Willingness to pay
13.  Human Non-neutralizing HIV-1 Envelope Monoclonal Antibodies Limit the Number of Founder Viruses during SHIV Mucosal Infection in Rhesus Macaques 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(8):e1005042.
HIV-1 mucosal transmission begins with virus or virus-infected cells moving through mucus across mucosal epithelium to infect CD4+ T cells. Although broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) are the type of HIV-1 antibodies that are most likely protective, they are not induced with current vaccine candidates. In contrast, antibodies that do not neutralize primary HIV-1 strains in the TZM-bl infection assay are readily induced by current vaccine candidates and have also been implicated as secondary correlates of decreased HIV-1 risk in the RV144 vaccine efficacy trial. Here, we have studied the capacity of anti-Env monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against either the immunodominant region of gp41 (7B2 IgG1), the first constant region of gp120 (A32 IgG1), or the third variable loop (V3) of gp120 (CH22 IgG1) to modulate in vivo rectal mucosal transmission of a high-dose simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV-BaL) in rhesus macaques. 7B2 IgG1 or A32 IgG1, each containing mutations to enhance Fc function, was administered passively to rhesus macaques but afforded no protection against productive clinical infection while the positive control antibody CH22 IgG1 prevented infection in 4 of 6 animals. Enumeration of transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses revealed that passive infusion of each of the three antibodies significantly reduced the number of T/F genomes. Thus, some antibodies that bind HIV-1 Env but fail to neutralize virus in traditional neutralization assays may limit the number of T/F viruses involved in transmission without leading to enhancement of viral infection. For one of these mAbs, gp41 mAb 7B2, we provide the first co-crystal structure in complex with a common cyclical loop motif demonstrated to be critical for infection by other retroviruses.
Author Summary
Antibodies specifically recognize antigenic sites on pathogens and can mediate multiple antiviral functions through engagement of effector cells via their Fc region. Current HIV-1 vaccine candidates induce polyclonal antibody responses with multiple antiviral functions, but do not induce broadly neutralizing antibodies. An improved understanding of whether certain types of non-neutralizing HIV-1 specific antibodies can individually protect against HIV-1 infection may facilitate vaccine development. Here, we test whether non-neutralizing antibodies with multiple antiviral functions mediated through FcR engagement and recognition of virus particles or virus-infected cells can limit infection, despite lacking classical virus neutralization activity. In a passive antibody infusion-rhesus macaque challenge model, we tested the ability of non-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies to limit virus acquisition. We demonstrate that two different types of non-neutralizing antibodies, one that recognizes both virus particles and infected cells (7B2) and another that recognizes only infected cells (A32) were capable of decreasing the number of transmitted founder viruses. Further, we provide the structure of 7B2 in complex with the gp41 cyclical loop motif, a motif critical for entry. These findings provide insights into the role that antibodies with antiviral properties, including virion capture and FcR mediated effector function, may play in protecting against HIV-1 acquisition.
PMCID: PMC4523205  PMID: 26237403
14.  Structural analysis of the unmutated ancestor of the HIV-1 envelope V2 region antibody CH58 isolated from an RV144 vaccine efficacy trial vaccinee☆ 
EBioMedicine  2015;2(7):713-722.
Human monoclonal antibody CH58 isolated from an RV144 vaccinee binds at Lys169 of the HIV-1 Env gp120 V2 region, a site of vaccine-induced immune pressure. CH58 neutralizes HIV-1 CRF_01 AE strain 92TH023 and mediates ADCC against CD4 + T cell targets infected with CRF_01 AE tier 2 virus. CH58 and other antibodies that bind to a gp120 V2 epitope have a second light chain complementarity determining region (LCDR2) bearing a glutamic acid, aspartic acid (ED) motif involved in forming salt bridges with polar, basic side amino acid side chains in V2. In an effort to learn how V2 responses develop, we determined the crystal structures of the CH58-UA antibody unliganded and bound to V2 peptide. The structures showed an LCDR2 structurally pre-conformed from germline to interact with V2 residue Lys169. LCDR3 was subject to conformational selection through the affinity maturation process. Kinetic analyses demonstrate that only a few contacts were responsible for a 2000-fold increase in KD through maturation, and this effect was predominantly due to an improvement in off-rate. This study shows that preconformation and preconfiguration can work in concert to produce antibodies with desired immunogenic properties.
Graphical abstract
•With only 2-3% mutation from germline, the HIV-1 antibody CH58 developed neutralizing and ADCC capabilities.•The LCDR2 Glu–Asp motif of the RV144 antibody CH58 is pre-conformed from germline to interact with the gp120 V2 loop.•Affinity and neutralization gains resulted from tuning local interactions rather than gross sequence or structure changes.•Structural analyses show the second light chain complementarity determining region Glu–Asp motif of the CH58 antibody isolated from an RV144 vaccinee is optimally pre-conformed from germline to interact with the gp120 V2 loop. The increased binding affinity and neutralization capacity of the mature antibody compared to its germline precursor were achieved with only 2–3% mutation from germline, and the fact that these gains appeared to be a result of the tuning of local interactions rather than gross sequential or conformational changes provides hope that a rational immunogen design for HIV-1 treatment may become a reality.
PMCID: PMC4534707  PMID: 26288844
HIV-1; Gp120; V2; RV-144; Antibody maturation; Germline; Unmutated ancestor
15.  Accuracy of Clinical Diagnosis of Dengue Episodes in the RV144 HIV Vaccine Efficacy Trial in Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0127998.
RV144 was a community-based HIV vaccine efficacy trial conducted in HIV-uninfected adults in Thailand, where dengue virus continues to cause a large number of infections every year. We attempted to document the accuracy of clinically diagnosed dengue episodes reported as serious adverse events (SAEs) and adverse events (AEs) and examine whether dengue serology would support the clinical diagnosis. Subjects without a clinical dengue diagnosis but with an infection or idiopathic fever were selected as a control population. Dengue serology was performed by hemagglutination inhibition on plasma samples. A total of 124 clinical dengue episodes were reported (103 SAEs and 21 AEs). Overall 82.6% of the clinically diagnosed dengue episodes were supported by a positive dengue serology: 71.4% of the AEs and 85.0% of the SAEs. Of the 100 subjects with both clinical dengue and positive serology, all presented with fever, 83% with leucopenia, 54% with thrombocytopenia, and 27% with hemorrhagic symptoms. All episodes resolved spontaneously without sequellae. Only two of 15 subjects with a negative serology presented with fever. The sensitivity and specificity of clinical dengue diagnosis were 90.9% and 74.4%, respectively, when compared to the control population, and with a positive predictive value of 82.6% and negative predictive value of 84.7% when compared to dengue serology. Clinical diagnosis of dengue is an accurate method of dengue diagnosis in adults in Thailand. Large-scale clinical trials offer the opportunity to systematically study infectious diseases such as dengue and other infections that may occur during the trial.
PMCID: PMC4444125  PMID: 26011728
16.  Machine Learning Methods Enable Predictive Modeling of Antibody Feature:Function Relationships in RV144 Vaccinees 
PLoS Computational Biology  2015;11(4):e1004185.
The adaptive immune response to vaccination or infection can lead to the production of specific antibodies to neutralize the pathogen or recruit innate immune effector cells for help. The non-neutralizing role of antibodies in stimulating effector cell responses may have been a key mechanism of the protection observed in the RV144 HIV vaccine trial. In an extensive investigation of a rich set of data collected from RV144 vaccine recipients, we here employ machine learning methods to identify and model associations between antibody features (IgG subclass and antigen specificity) and effector function activities (antibody dependent cellular phagocytosis, cellular cytotoxicity, and cytokine release). We demonstrate via cross-validation that classification and regression approaches can effectively use the antibody features to robustly predict qualitative and quantitative functional outcomes. This integration of antibody feature and function data within a machine learning framework provides a new, objective approach to discovering and assessing multivariate immune correlates.
Author Summary
Antibodies are one of the central mechanisms that the human immune system uses to eliminate infection: an antibody can recognize a pathogen or infected cell using its Fab region while recruiting additional immune cells through its Fc that help destroy the offender. This mechanism may have been key to the reduced risk of infection observed among some of the vaccine recipients in the RV144 HIV vaccine trial. In order to gain insights into the properties of antibodies that support recruitment of effective functional responses, we developed and applied a machine learning-based framework to find and model associations among properties of antibodies and corresponding functional responses in a large set of data collected from RV144 vaccine recipients. We characterized specific important relationships between antibody properties and functional responses, and demonstrated that models trained to encapsulate relationships in some subjects were able to robustly predict the quality of the functional responses of other subjects. The ability to understand and build predictive models of these relationships is of general interest to studies of the antibody response to vaccination and infection, and may ultimately lead to the development of vaccines that will better steer the immune system to produce antibodies with beneficial activities.
PMCID: PMC4395155  PMID: 25874406
17.  Comprehensive Sieve Analysis of Breakthrough HIV-1 Sequences in the RV144 Vaccine Efficacy Trial 
PLoS Computational Biology  2015;11(2):e1003973.
The RV144 clinical trial showed the partial efficacy of a vaccine regimen with an estimated vaccine efficacy (VE) of 31% for protecting low-risk Thai volunteers against acquisition of HIV-1. The impact of vaccine-induced immune responses can be investigated through sieve analysis of HIV-1 breakthrough infections (infected vaccine and placebo recipients). A V1/V2-targeted comparison of the genomes of HIV-1 breakthrough viruses identified two V2 amino acid sites that differed between the vaccine and placebo groups. Here we extended the V1/V2 analysis to the entire HIV-1 genome using an array of methods based on individual sites, k-mers and genes/proteins. We identified 56 amino acid sites or “signatures” and 119 k-mers that differed between the vaccine and placebo groups. Of those, 19 sites and 38 k-mers were located in the regions comprising the RV144 vaccine (Env-gp120, Gag, and Pro). The nine signature sites in Env-gp120 were significantly enriched for known antibody-associated sites (p = 0.0021). In particular, site 317 in the third variable loop (V3) overlapped with a hotspot of antibody recognition, and sites 369 and 424 were linked to CD4 binding site neutralization. The identified signature sites significantly covaried with other sites across the genome (mean = 32.1) more than did non-signature sites (mean = 0.9) (p < 0.0001), suggesting functional and/or structural relevance of the signature sites. Since signature sites were not preferentially restricted to the vaccine immunogens and because most of the associations were insignificant following correction for multiple testing, we predict that few of the genetic differences are strongly linked to the RV144 vaccine-induced immune pressure. In addition to presenting results of the first complete-genome analysis of the breakthrough infections in the RV144 trial, this work describes a set of statistical methods and tools applicable to analysis of breakthrough infection genomes in general vaccine efficacy trials for diverse pathogens.
Author Summary
We present an analysis of the genomes of the HIV viruses that infected some participants of the RV144 Thai trial, which was the first study to show efficacy of a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. We analyzed the HIV genomes of infected vaccine recipients and infected placebo recipients, and found differences between them. These differences coincide with previously-studied genetic features that are relevant to the biology of HIV infection, including features involved in immune recognition of the virus. The findings presented here generate testable hypotheses about the mechanism of the partial protection seen in the Thai trial, and may ultimately lead to improved vaccines. The article also presents a toolkit of methods for computational analyses that can be applied to other vaccine efficacy trials.
PMCID: PMC4315437  PMID: 25646817
18.  Vaccine-Induced HIV-1 Envelope gp120 Constant Region 1-Specific Antibodies Expose a CD4-Inducible Epitope and Block the Interaction of HIV-1 gp140 with Galactosylceramide 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(16):9406-9417.
Mucosal epithelial cell surface galactosylceramide (Galcer) has been postulated to be a receptor for HIV-1 envelope (Env) interactions with mucosal epithelial cells. Disruption of the HIV-1 Env interaction with such alternate receptors could be one strategy to prevent HIV-1 entry through the mucosal barrier. To study antibody modulation of HIV-1 Env-Galcer interactions, we used Galcer-containing liposomes to assess whether natural- and vaccine-induced monoclonal antibodies can block HIV-1 Env binding to Galcer. HIV-1 Env gp140 proteins bound to Galcer liposomes with Kds (dissociation constants) in the nanomolar range. Several HIV-1 ALVAC/AIDSVAX vaccinee-derived monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for the gp120 first constant (C1) region blocked Galcer binding of a transmitted/founder HIV-1 Env gp140. Among the C1-specific MAbs that showed Galcer blocking, the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity-mediating CH38 IgG and its natural IgA isotype were the most potent blocking antibodies. C1-specific IgG monoclonal antibodies that blocked Env binding to Galcer induced upregulation of the gp120 CD4-inducible (CD4i) epitope bound by MAb 17B, demonstrating that a conformational change in gp120 may be required for Galcer blocking. However, the MAb 17B itself did not block Env-Galcer binding, suggesting that the C1 antibody-induced gp120 conformational changes resulted in alteration in a Galcer binding site distant from the CD4i 17B MAb binding site.
IMPORTANCE Galactosyl ceramide, a glycosphingolipid, has been postulated to be a receptor for the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) interaction with mucosal epithelial cells. Here, we have mimicked this interaction by using an artificial membrane containing synthetic Galcer and recombinant HIV-1 Env proteins to identify antibodies that would block the HIV-1 Env-Galcer interaction. Our study revealed that a class of vaccine-induced human antibodies potently blocks HIV-1 Env-Galcer binding by perturbing the HIV-1 Env conformation.
PMCID: PMC4136246  PMID: 24920809
19.  Issues in Women's Participation in a Phase III Community HIV Vaccine Trial in Thailand 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2013;29(11):1524-1534.
To assess qualities and outcomes of women participating in a large, community-based HIV vaccine trial, the present study was conducted among female participants of the RV 144 prime-boost trial in Thailand from 2003 to 2009. Qualities of participation refer to complete vaccination, retention, and status change. Outcomes of participation refer to incident rate, adverse event, and participation impact event. A total of 6,334 (38.6%) women participated in the trial, of whom about 50% were classified as low risk and 11% as high risk. About 85% of participants completed four vaccinations and 76% were included in the per-protocol analysis of the on-time vaccination schedule. More women (88%) completed 42 months follow-up compared with men (85%). Women aged 21 and above had more adverse events compared to younger age groups. More women (5%) compared with men (3%) reported participation impact events (PIEs). High-risk women had more PIEs and a higher infection rate compared to the low-risk group. Complete vaccination and retention on last follow-up were more common in married women aged above 21, and being a housewife. Female volunteers showed the same qualities and outcomes of participation as males in the HIV vaccine trial. There was no statistically significant difference in vaccine efficacy between men and women, especially among the high-risk and married women. The study highlighted the important behavioral, social, and cultural issues that could be considered for future HIV vaccine trial designs.
PMCID: PMC3809940  PMID: 23343395
20.  Aggregate complexes of HIV-1 induced by multimeric antibodies 
Retrovirology  2014;11:78.
Antibody mediated viral aggregation may impede viral transfer across mucosal surfaces by hindering viral movement in mucus, preventing transcytosis, or reducing inter-cellular penetration of epithelia thereby limiting access to susceptible mucosal CD4 T cells and dendritic cells. These functions may work together to provide effective immune exclusion of virus from mucosal tissue; however little is known about the antibody characteristics required to induce HIV aggregation. Such knowledge may be critical to the design of successful immunization strategies to facilitate viral immune exclusion at the mucosal portals of entry.
The potential of neutralizing and non-neutralizing IgG and IgA monoclonals (mAbs) to induce HIV-1 aggregation was assessed by Dynamic light scattering (DLS). Although neutralizing and non-neutralizing IgG mAbs and polyclonal HIV-Ig efficiently aggregated soluble Env trimers, they were not capable of forming viral aggregates. In contrast, dimeric (but not monomeric) IgA mAbs induced stable viral aggregate populations that could be separated from uncomplexed virions. Epitope specificity influenced both the degree of aggregation and formation of higher order complexes by dIgA. IgA purified from serum of uninfected RV144 vaccine trial responders were able to efficiently opsonize viral particles in the absence of significant aggregation, reflective of monomeric IgA.
These results collectively demonstrate that dIgA is capable of forming stable viral aggregates providing a plausible basis for testing the effectiveness of aggregation as a potential protection mechanism at the mucosal portals of viral entry.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12977-014-0078-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4193994  PMID: 25274446
HIV-1; Mucosal immunity; Immunoglobulin A; Aggregation
21.  Vaccine-Induced Env V1–V2 IgG3 Correlates with Lower HIV-1 Infection Risk and Declines Soon After Vaccination 
Science translational medicine  2014;6(228):228ra39.
HIV-1–specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclass antibodies bind to distinct cellular Fc receptors. Antibodies of the same epitope specificity but of a different subclass therefore can have different antibody effector functions. The study of IgG subclass profiles between different vaccine regimens used in clinical trials with divergent efficacy outcomes can provide information on the quality of the vaccine-induced B cell response. We show that HIV-1–specific IgG3 distinguished two HIV-1 vaccine efficacy studies (RV144 and VAX003 clinical trials) and correlated with decreased risk of HIV-1 infection in a blinded follow-up case-control study with the RV144 vaccine. HIV-1–specific IgG3 responses were not long-lived, which was consistent with the waning efficacy of the RV144 vaccine. These data suggest that specific vaccine-induced HIV-1 IgG3 should be tested in future studies of immune correlates in HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trials.
PMCID: PMC4116665  PMID: 24648342
22.  FCGR2C polymorphisms associate with HIV-1 vaccine protection in RV144 trial 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(9):3879-3890.
The phase III RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial estimated vaccine efficacy (VE) to be 31.2%. This trial demonstrated that the presence of HIV-1–specific IgG-binding Abs to envelope (Env) V1V2 inversely correlated with infection risk, while the presence of Env-specific plasma IgA Abs directly correlated with risk of HIV-1 infection. Moreover, Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity responses inversely correlated with risk of infection in vaccine recipients with low IgA; therefore, we hypothesized that vaccine-induced Fc receptor–mediated (FcR-mediated) Ab function is indicative of vaccine protection. We sequenced exons and surrounding areas of FcR-encoding genes and found one FCGR2C tag SNP (rs114945036) that associated with VE against HIV-1 subtype CRF01_AE, with lysine at position 169 (169K) in the V2 loop (CRF01_AE 169K). Individuals carrying CC in this SNP had an estimated VE of 15%, while individuals carrying CT or TT exhibited a VE of 91%. Furthermore, the rs114945036 SNP was highly associated with 3 other FCGR2C SNPs (rs138747765, rs78603008, and rs373013207). Env-specific IgG and IgG3 Abs, IgG avidity, and neutralizing Abs inversely correlated with CRF01_AE 169K HIV-1 infection risk in the CT- or TT-carrying vaccine recipients only. These data suggest a potent role of Fc-γ receptors and Fc-mediated Ab function in conferring protection from transmission risk in the RV144 VE trial.
PMCID: PMC4151214  PMID: 25105367
23.  HIV-1 Vaccine-Induced C1 and V2 Env-Specific Antibodies Synergize for Increased Antiviral Activities 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(14):7715-7726.
The RV144 ALVAC/AIDSVax HIV-1 vaccine clinical trial showed an estimated vaccine efficacy of 31.2%. Viral genetic analysis identified a vaccine-induced site of immune pressure in the HIV-1 envelope (Env) variable region 2 (V2) focused on residue 169, which is included in the epitope recognized by vaccinee-derived V2 monoclonal antibodies. The ALVAC/AIDSVax vaccine induced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against the Env V2 and constant 1 (C1) regions. In the presence of low IgA Env antibody levels, plasma levels of ADCC activity correlated with lower risk of infection. In this study, we demonstrate that C1 and V2 monoclonal antibodies isolated from RV144 vaccinees synergized for neutralization, infectious virus capture, and ADCC. Importantly, synergy increased the HIV-1 ADCC activity of V2 monoclonal antibody CH58 at concentrations similar to that observed in plasma of RV144 vaccinees. These findings raise the hypothesis that synergy among vaccine-induced antibodies with different epitope specificities contributes to HIV-1 antiviral antibody responses and is important to induce for reduction in the risk of HIV-1 transmission.
IMPORTANCE The Thai RV144 ALVAC/AIDSVax prime-boost vaccine efficacy trial represents the only example of HIV-1 vaccine efficacy in humans to date. Studies aimed at identifying immune correlates involved in the modest vaccine-mediated protection identified HIV-1 envelope (Env) variable region 2-binding antibodies as inversely correlated with infection risk, and genetic analysis identified a site of immune pressure within the region recognized by these antibodies. Despite this evidence, the antiviral mechanisms by which variable region 2-specific antibodies may have contributed to lower rates of infection remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that vaccine-induced HIV-1 envelope variable region 2 and constant region 1 antibodies synergize for recognition of virus-infected cells, infectious virion capture, virus neutralization, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. This is a major step in understanding how these types of antibodies may have cooperatively contributed to reducing infection risk and should be considered in the context of prospective vaccine design.
PMCID: PMC4097802  PMID: 24807721
24.  Vaccine-Induced IgG Antibodies to V1V2 Regions of Multiple HIV-1 Subtypes Correlate with Decreased Risk of HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87572.
In the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial, IgG antibody (Ab) binding levels to variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2) of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 were an inverse correlate of risk of HIV-1 infection. To determine if V1V2-specific Abs cross-react with V1V2 from different HIV-1 subtypes, if the nature of the V1V2 antigen used to asses cross-reactivity influenced infection risk, and to identify immune assays for upcoming HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trials, new V1V2-scaffold antigens were designed and tested. Protein scaffold antigens carrying the V1V2 regions from HIV-1 subtypes A, B, C, D or CRF01_AE were assayed in pilot studies, and six were selected to assess cross-reactive Abs in the plasma from the original RV144 case-control cohort (41 infected vaccinees, 205 frequency-matched uninfected vaccinees, and 40 placebo recipients) using ELISA and a binding Ab multiplex assay. IgG levels to these antigens were assessed as correlates of risk in vaccine recipients using weighted logistic regression models. Levels of Abs reactive with subtype A, B, C and CRF01_AE V1V2-scaffold antigens were all significant inverse correlates of risk (p-values of 0.0008–0.05; estimated odds ratios of 0.53–0.68 per 1 standard deviation increase). Thus, levels of vaccine-induced IgG Abs recognizing V1V2 regions from multiple HIV-1 subtypes, and presented on different scaffolds, constitute inverse correlates of risk for HIV-1 infection in the RV144 vaccine trial. The V1V2 antigens provide a link between RV144 and upcoming HIV-1 vaccine trials, and identify reagents and methods for evaluating V1V2 Abs as possible correlates of protection against HIV-1 infection.
Trial Registration NCT00223080
PMCID: PMC3913641  PMID: 24504509
25.  Vaccine Induction of Antibodies Against a Structurally Heterogeneous Site of Immune Pressure within HIV-1 Envelope Protein Variable Regions 1 and 2 
Immunity  2013;38(1):176-186.
The RV144 HIV-1 trial of the canary pox vector (ALVAC-HIV) plus the gp120 AIDSVAX B/E vaccine demonstrated an estimated efficacy of 31%, that correlated directly with antibodies to HIV-1 envelope variable regions 1 and 2 (V1–V2). Genetic analysis of trial viruses revealed increased vaccine efficacy against viruses matching the vaccine strain at V2 residue 169. Here, we isolated four V2 monoclonal antibodies from RV144 vaccinees that recognize residue 169, neutralize laboratory-adapted HIV-1, and mediate killing of field isolate HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells. Crystal structures of two of the V2 antibodies demonstrated residue 169 can exist within divergent helical and loop conformations, which contrasted dramatically with the beta strand conformation previously observed with a broadly neutralizing antibody PG9. Thus, RV144 vaccine-induced immune pressure appears to target a region that may be both sequence variable and structurally polymorphic. Variation may signal sites of HIV-1 envelope vulnerability, providing vaccine designers with new options.
PMCID: PMC3569735  PMID: 23313589

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