BACKGROUND. Vector prime-boost immunization strategies induce strong cellular and humoral immune responses. We examined the priming dose and administration order of heterologous vectors in HIV Vaccine Trials Network 078 (HVTN 078), a randomized, double-blind phase Ib clinical trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of heterologous prime-boost regimens, with a New York vaccinia HIV clade B (NYVAC-B) vaccine and a recombinant adenovirus 5–vectored (rAd5-vectored) vaccine.
METHODS. NYVAC-B included HIV-1 clade B Gag-Pol-Nef and gp120, while rAd5 included HIV-1 clade B Gag-Pol and clades A, B, and C gp140. Eighty Ad5-seronegative subjects were randomized to receive 2 × NYVAC-B followed by 1 × 1010 PFU rAd5 (NYVAC/Ad5hi); 1 × 108 PFU rAd5 followed by 2 × NYVAC-B (Ad5lo/NYVAC); 1 × 109 PFU rAd5 followed by 2 × NYVAC-B (Ad5med/NYVAC); 1 × 1010 PFU rAd5 followed by 2 × NYVAC-B (Ad5hi/NYVAC); or placebo. Immune responses were assessed 2 weeks after the final vaccination. Intracellular cytokine staining measured T cells producing IFN-γ and/or IL-2; cross-clade and epitope-specific binding antibodies were determined; and neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) were assessed with 6 tier 1 viruses.
RESULTS. CD4+ T cell response rates ranged from 42.9% to 93.3%. NYVAC/Ad5hi response rates (P ≤ 0.01) and magnitudes (P ≤ 0.03) were significantly lower than those of other groups. CD8+ T cell response rates ranged from 65.5% to 85.7%. NYVAC/Ad5hi magnitudes were significantly lower than those of other groups (P ≤ 0.04). IgG response rates to the group M consensus gp140 were 89.7% for NYVAC/Ad5hi and 21.4%, 84.6%, and 100% for Ad5lo/NYVAC, Ad5med/NYVAC, and Ad5hi/NYVAC, respectively, and were similar for other vaccine proteins. Overall nAb responses were low, but aggregate responses appeared stronger for Ad5med/NYVAC and Ad5hi/NYVAC than for NYVAC/Ad5hi.
CONCLUSIONS. rAd5 prime followed by NYVAC boost is superior to the reverse regimen for both vaccine-induced cellular and humoral immune responses. Higher Ad5 priming doses significantly increased binding and nAbs. These data provide a basis for optimizing the design of future clinical trials testing vector-based heterologous prime-boost strategies.
TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00961883.
FUNDING. NIAID, NIH UM1AI068618, AI068635, AI068614, and AI069443.
The ability of CD8+ T cells to effectively limit HIV-1 replication and block HIV-1 acquisition is determined by the capacity to rapidly respond to HIV-1 antigens. Understanding both the functional properties and regulation of an effective CD8+ response would enable better evaluation of T cell-directed vaccine strategies and may inform the design of new therapies. We assessed the antigen specificity, cytokine signature, and mechanisms that regulate antiviral gene expression in CD8+ T cells from a cohort of HIV-1-infected virus controllers (VCs) (<5,000 HIV-1 RNA copies/ml and CD4+ lymphocyte counts of >400 cells/μl) capable of soluble inhibition of HIV-1. Gag p24 and Nef CD8+ T cell-specific soluble virus inhibition was common among the VCs and correlated with substantial increases in the abundance of mRNAs encoding the antiviral cytokines macrophage inflammatory proteins MIP-1α, MIP-1αP (CCL3L1), and MIP-1β; granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); lymphotactin (XCL1); tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 9 (TNFRSF9); and gamma interferon (IFN-γ). The induction of several of these mRNAs was driven through a coordinated response of both increased transcription and stabilization of mRNA, which together accounted for the observed increase in mRNA abundance. This coordinated response allows rapid and robust induction of mRNA messages that can enhance the CD8+ T cells' ability to inhibit virus upon antigen encounter.
IMPORTANCE We show that mRNA stability, in addition to transcription, is key in regulating the direct anti-HIV-1 function of antigen-specific memory CD8+ T cells. Regulation at the level of RNA helps enable rapid recall of memory CD8+ T cell effector functions for HIV-1 inhibition. By uncovering and understanding the mechanisms employed by CD8+ T cell subsets with antigen-specific anti-HIV-1 activity, we can identify new strategies for comprehensive identification of other important antiviral genes. This will, in turn, enhance our ability to inhibit virus replication by informing both cure strategies and HIV-1 vaccine designs that aim to reduce transmission and can aid in blocking HIV-1 acquisition.
Antibody capacity to recognize infectious virus is a prerequisite of many antiviral functions. We determined the infectious virion capture index (IVCI) of different antibody specificities. Whereas broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs), except for an MPER bNAb, selectively captured infectious virions, non-bNAbs and mucosal human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-positive IgG captured subsets of both infectious and noninfectious virions. Infectious virion capture was additive with a mixture of antibodies, providing proof of concept for vaccine-induced antibodies that together have improved capacity to recognize infectious virions.
Background. Clade B DNA and recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccines producing virus-like particles displaying trimeric membrane-bound envelope glycoprotein (Env) were tested in a phase 2a trial in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–uninfected adults for safety, immunogenicity, and 6-month durability of immune responses.
Methods. A total of 299 individuals received 2 doses of JS7 DNA vaccine and 2 doses of MVA/HIV62B at 0, 2, 4, and 6 months, respectively (the DDMM regimen); 3 doses of MVA/HIV62B at 0, 2, and 6 months (the MMM regimen); or placebo injections.
Results. At peak response, 93.2% of the DDMM group and 98.4% of the MMM group had binding antibodies for Env. These binding antibodies were more frequent and of higher magnitude for the transmembrane subunit (gp41) than the receptor-binding subunit (gp120) of Env. For both regimens, response rates were higher for CD4+ T cells (66.4% in the DDMM group and 43.1% in the MMM group) than for CD8+ T cells (21.8% in the DDMM group and 14.9% in the MMM group). Responding CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were biased toward Gag, and >70% produced 2 or 3 of the 4 cytokines evaluated (ie, interferon γ, interleukin 2, tumor necrosis factor α, and granzyme B). Six months after vaccination, the magnitudes of antibodies and T-cell responses had decreased by <3-fold.
Conclusions. DDMM and MMM vaccinations with virus-like particle–expressing immunogens elicited durable antibody and T-cell responses.
HIV/AIDS; vaccines; clinical trial; T cells; antibodies; DNA; recombinant MVA
The past two years have seen a number of basic and translational science advances in the quest for development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine. These advances include discovery of new envelope (Env) targets of potentially protective antibodies, demonstration that CD8+ T cells can control HIV-1 infection, development of immunogens to overcome HIV-1 T cell epitope diversity, identification of correlates of transmission risk in an HIV-1 efficacy trial, and mapping the co-evolution of HIV-1 founder Env mutants in infected individuals who develop bnAbs, thereby defining broad neutralizing antibody (bnAb) developmental pathways. Despite these advances, a promising HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial published in 2013 failed to prevent infection, and the HIV-1 vaccine field is still years away from deployment of an effective vaccine. This review summarizes what some of the scientific advances have been, what roadblocks still remain, and what the most promising approaches are for progress in design of successful HIV-1 vaccine candidates.
HIV-1; vaccine; T cells; B cells; broadly neutralizing antibodies
The detailed examination of the antibody repertoire from RV144 provides a unique template for understanding potentially protective antibody functions. Some potential immune correlates of protection were untested in the correlates analyses due to inherent assay limitations, as well as the need to keep the correlates analysis focused on a limited number of endpoints to achieve statistical power. In an RV144 pilot study, we determined that RV144 vaccination elicited antibodies that could bind infectious virions (including the vaccine strains HIV-1 CM244 and HIV-1 MN and an HIV-1 strain expressing transmitted/founder Env, B.WITO.c). Among vaccinees with the highest IgG binding antibody profile, the majority (78%) captured the infectious vaccine strain virus (CM244), while a smaller proportion of vaccinees (26%) captured HIV-1 transmitted/founder Env virus. We demonstrated that vaccine-elicited HIV-1 gp120 antibodies of multiple specificities (V3, V2, conformational C1, and gp120 conformational) mediated capture of infectious virions. Although capture of infectious HIV-1 correlated with other humoral immune responses, the extent of variation between these humoral responses and virion capture indicates that virion capture antibodies occupy unique immunological space.
Different HIV-1 antigen specificities appear in sequence after HIV-1 transmission and the immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclass responses to HIV antigens are distinct from each other. The initial predominant IgG subclass response to HIV-1 infection consists of IgG1 and IgG3 antibodies with a noted decline in some IgG3 antibodies during acute HIV-1 infection. Thus, we postulate that multiple antigen-specific IgG3 responses may serve as surrogates for the relative time since HIV-1 acquisition.
We determined the magnitude, peak, and half-life of HIV-1 antigen-specific IgG1 and IgG3 antibodies in 41 HIV-1-infected individuals followed longitudinally from acute infection during the first appearance of HIV-1-specific antibodies through approximately 6 months after infection.
We used quantitative HIV-1-binding antibody multiplex assays and exponential decay models to estimate concentrations of IgG1 and IgG3 antibodies to eight different HIV-1 proteins including gp140 Env, gp120 Env, gp41 Env, p66 reverse transcriptase, p31 Integrase, Tat, Nef, and p55 Gag proteins during acute/recent HIV-1 infection.
Among HIV-1-specific IgG3 responses, anti-gp41 IgG3 antibodies were the first to appear. We found that anti-gp41 Env IgG3 and anti-p66 reverse transcriptase IgG3 antibodies, in addition to anti-Gag IgG3 antibodies, each consistently and measurably declined after acute infection, in contrast to the persistent antigen-specific IgG1 responses.
The detailed measurements of the decline in multiple HIV-specific IgG3 responses simultaneous with persistent IgG1 responses during acute and recent HIV-1 infection could serve as markers for detection of incident HIV infection.
HIV-1 acute infection; HIV-1 incidence; immunoglobulin G subclass
Background. We report the first-in-human safety and immunogenicity evaluation of a highly attenuated, replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 vaccine.
Methods. Sixty healthy, HIV-1-uninfected adults were enrolled in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled dose-escalation study. Groups of 12 participants received rVSV HIV-1 gag vaccine at 5 dose levels (4.6 × 103 to 3.4 × 107 particle forming units) (N = 10/group) or placebo (N = 2/group), delivered intramuscularly as bilateral injections at 0 and 2 months. Safety monitoring included VSV cultures from blood, urine, saliva, and swabs of oral lesions. Vesicular stomatitis virus-neutralizing antibodies, T-cell immunogenicity, and HIV-1 specific binding antibodies were assessed.
Results. Local and systemic reactogenicity symptoms were mild to moderate and increased with dose. No severe reactogenicity or product-related serious adverse events were reported, and all rVSV cultures were negative. All vaccine recipients became seropositive for VSV after 2 vaccinations. gag-specific T-cell responses were detected in 63% of participants by interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot at the highest dose post boost.
Conclusions. An attenuated replication-competent rVSV gag vaccine has an acceptable safety profile in healthy adults. This rVSV vector is a promising new vaccine platform for the development of vaccines to combat HIV-1 and other serious human diseases.
dose-escalation; HIV vaccine; immunogenicity; safety; vesicular stomatitis virus
Finding an effective human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine remains a major global health priority. In a phase I/II, placebo-controlled trial, healthy, HIV-1-negative adults were randomized to receive one of 5 vaccine regimens: LIPO-5 (combination of 5 lipopeptides) alone (250 μg), ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452) alone, or 3 groups of ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452) followed by ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452) plus LIPO-5 (250, 750, and 2,500 μg). Only 73/174 participants (42%) received all four vaccinations due to a study halt related to myelitis. There were no significant differences in systemic reactions between groups or in local reactogenicity between groups receiving ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452). Significant differences in local reactogenicity occurred between groups receiving LIPO-5 (P ≤ 0.05). Gag and Env antibodies were undetectable by ELISA 2 weeks after the fourth vaccination for all but one recipient. Antibodies to Gag and Env were present in 32% and 24% of recipients of ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452) alone and in 47% and 35% of ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452)+LIPO recipients, respectively. Coadministration of LIPO-5 did not significantly increase the response rate compared to ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452) alone, nor was there a significant relationship between dose and antibody responses among ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452)+LIPO groups. Over 90% of study participants had no positive gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISpot) responses to any peptide pool at any time point. The study was halted due to a case of myelitis possibly related to the LIPO-5 vaccine; this case of myelitis remains an isolated event. In general, there was no appreciable cell-mediated immunity detected in response to the vaccines used in this study, and antibody responses were limited. The clinical trial is registered on ClinicalTrials.gov with registry number NCT00076063.
Purpose of review
Major roadblocks persist in the development of vaccines that elicit potent neutralizing antibodies targeting diverse HIV-1 strains, similar to known broadly neutralizing HIV-1 human monoclonal antibodies. Alternatively, other types of anti-HIV-1 envelope antibodies that may not neutralize HIV-1 in traditional neutralization assays but have other anti-HIV-1 activities (hereafter termed HIV-1 inhibitory antibodies) can be elicited by current vaccine strategies, and numerous studies are exploring their roles in preventing HIV-1 acquisition. We review examples of strategies for eliciting potentially protective HIV-1 inhibitory antibodies.
Heterologous prime-boost strategies can yield anti-HIV immune responses; although only one (canarypox prime, Env protein boost) has been tested and shown positive results in an efficacy trial (RV144). Although the immune correlates of protection are as yet undefined, the reduced rate of acquisition without a significant effect on initial viral loads or CD4+ T cell counts, have raised the hypothesis of an RV144 vaccine-elicited transient protective B cell response.
In light of the RV144 trial, there is a critical need to define the entire functional spectrum of anti-HIV-1 antibodies, how easily each can be elicited, and how effective different types of antibody effector mechanisms can be in prevention of HIV-1 transmission.
Vaccines; B-cells; Neutralizing Antibodies; Inhibitory Antibodies; Mucosal
CD8-mediated virus inhibition can be detected in HIV-1-positive subjects who naturally control virus replication. Characterizing the inhibitory function of CD8+ T cells during acute HIV-1 infection (AHI) can elucidate the nature of the CD8+ responses that can be rapidly elicited and that contribute to virus control. We examined the timing and HIV-1 antigen specificity of antiviral CD8+ T cells during AHI. Autologous and heterologous CD8+ T cell antiviral functions were assessed longitudinally during AHI in five donors from the CHAVI 001 cohort using a CD8+ T cell-mediated virus inhibition assay (CD8 VIA) and transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses. Potent CD8+ antiviral responses against heterologous T/F viruses appeared during AHI at the first time point sampled in each of the 5 donors (Fiebig stages 1/2 to 5). Inhibition of an autologous T/F virus was durable to 48 weeks; however, inhibition of heterologous responses declined concurrent with the resolution of viremia. HIV-1 viruses from 6 months postinfection were more resistant to CD8+-mediated virus inhibition than cognate T/F viruses, demonstrating that the virus escapes early from CD8+ T cell-mediated inhibition of virus replication. CD8+ T cell antigen-specific subsets mediated inhibition of T/F virus replication via soluble components, and these soluble responses were stimulated by peptide pools that include epitopes that were shown to drive HIV-1 escape during AHI. These data provide insights into the mechanisms of CD8-mediated virus inhibition and suggest that functional analyses will be important for determining whether similar antigen-specific virus inhibition can be induced by T cell-directed vaccine strategies.
Live attenuated nonpathogenic Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) mediates long-lasting immune responses, has been safely administered as a tuberculosis vaccine to billions of humans, and is affordable to produce as a vaccine vector. These characteristics make it very attractive as a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine vector candidate. Here, we assessed the immunogenicity of recombinant BCG (rBCG) constructs with different simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)gag expression cassettes as priming agents followed by a recombinant replication-incompetent New York vaccinia virus (NYVAC) boost in rhesus macaques. Unmutated rBCG constructs were used in comparison to mutants with gene deletions identified in an in vitro screen for augmented immunogenicity. We demonstrated that BCG-SIVgag is able to elicit robust transgene-specific priming responses, resulting in strong SIV epitope-specific cellular immune responses. While enhanced immunogenicity was sustained at moderate levels for >1 year following the heterologous boost vaccination, we were unable to demonstrate a protective effect after repeated rectal mucosal challenges with pathogenic SIVmac251. Our findings highlight the potential for rBCG vaccines to stimulate effective cross-priming and enhanced major histocompatibility complex class I presentation, suggesting that combining this approach with other immunogens may contribute to the development of effective vaccine regimens against HIV.
The design of an effective vaccine to reduce the incidence of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) via breastfeeding will require identification of protective immune responses that block postnatal virus acquisition. Natural hosts of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) sustain nonpathogenic infection and rarely transmit the virus to their infants despite high milk virus RNA loads. This is in contrast to HIV-infected women and SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RhMs), nonnatural hosts which exhibit higher rates of postnatal virus transmission. In this study, we compared the systemic and mucosal B cell responses of lactating, SIV-infected African green monkeys (AGMs), a natural host species, to that of SIV-infected RhMs and HIV-infected women. AGMs did not demonstrate hypergammaglobulinemia or accumulate circulating memory B cells during chronic SIV infection. Moreover, the milk of SIV-infected AGMs contained higher proportions of naive B cells than RhMs. Interestingly, AGMs exhibited robust milk and plasma Env binding antibody responses that were one to two logs higher than those in RhMs and humans and demonstrated autologous neutralizing responses in milk at 1 year postinfection. Furthermore, the plasma and milk Env gp120-binding antibody responses were equivalent to or predominant over Env gp140-binding antibody responses in AGMs, in contrast to that in RhMs and humans. The strong gp120-specific, functional antibody responses in the milk of SIV-infected AGMs may contribute to the rarity of postnatal transmission observed in natural SIV hosts.
Defining the components of an HIV immunogen that could induce effective CD8+ T cell responses is critical to vaccine development. We addressed this question by investigating the viral targets of CD8+ T cells that potently inhibit HIV replication in vitro, as this is highly predictive of virus control in vivo. We observed broad and potent ex vivo CD8+ T cell-mediated viral inhibitory activity against a panel of HIV isolates among viremic controllers (VC, viral loads <5000 copies/ml), in contrast to unselected HIV-infected HIV Vaccine trials Network (HVTN) participants. Viral inhibition of clade-matched HIV isolates was strongly correlated with the frequency of CD8+ T cells targeting vulnerable regions within Gag, Pol, Nef and Vif that had been identified in an independent study of nearly 1000 chronically infected individuals. These vulnerable and so-called “beneficial” regions were of low entropy overall, yet several were not predicted by stringent conservation algorithms. Consistent with this, stronger inhibition of clade-matched than mismatched viruses was observed in the majority of subjects, indicating better targeting of clade-specific than conserved epitopes. The magnitude of CD8+ T cell responses to beneficial regions, together with viral entropy and HLA class I genotype, explained up to 59% of the variation in viral inhibitory activity, with magnitude of the T cell response making the strongest unique contribution. However, beneficial regions were infrequently targeted by CD8+ T cells elicited by vaccines encoding full-length HIV proteins, when the latter were administered to healthy volunteers and HIV-positive ART-treated subjects, suggesting that immunodominance hierarchies undermine effective anti-HIV CD8+ T cell responses. Taken together, our data support HIV immunogen design that is based on systematic selection of empirically defined vulnerable regions within the viral proteome, with exclusion of immunodominant decoy epitopes that are irrelevant for HIV control.
Attempts to develop an HIV vaccine that elicits potent cell-mediated immunity have so far been unsuccessful. This is due in part to the use of immunogens that appear to recapitulate responses induced naturally by HIV that are, at best, partially effective. We previously showed that the capacity of CD8+ T cells from patients to block HIV replication in culture is strongly correlated with HIV control in vivo, therefore, we investigated the virological determinants of potent CD8+ T cell inhibitory activity. We observed that CD8+ T cells from patients with naturally low plasma viral loads (viremic controllers) were better able to inhibit the replication of diverse HIV strains in vitro than CD8+ T cells from HIV-noncontroller patients. Importantly, we also found that the potency of the antiviral activity in the latter group was strongly correlated with recognition of selected regions across the viral proteome that are critical to viral fitness. Vaccines that encode full-length viral proteins rarely elicited responses to these vulnerable regions. Taken together, our results provide insight into the characteristics of effective cell-mediated immune responses against HIV and how these may inform the design of better immunogens.
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.
Purpose of review
The humoral immune response to HIV-1 throughout infection is comprised of complex mixtures of antibody isotypes with numerous HIV-1 specificities. However, unlike antibody responses to most infections, protective antibody responses are delayed and do not arise until long after HIV-1 latency is established. We review recent data on HIV-1-specific antibody isotypes induced following HIV-1 transmission: to understand the effects of HIV-1 on B cell and T cell effector responses, to understand the timing of the rise and fall of different anti-HIV-1 antibodies and to understand how antibodies could contribute to protective immunity if they were either pre-existing or elicited immediately after HIV-1 transmission.
Studies of the earliest events following infection by the transmitted/founder virus have recently revealed that early destruction of B cell generative microenvironments may be responsible for delay of potentially protective anti-HIV-1 antibody responses. Unlike the initial CD8+ T cell response to HIV-1, the initial induced antibody response is usually ineffective in controlling virus replication during acute HIV-1 infection.
The antibody isotypes and specificities elicited during HIV-1 infection can provide a window into deciphering the detrimental effects of HIV-1 on B cell and T cell responses. Additionally, further characterization of the virus inhibitory capabilities of anti-HIV-1 antibody isotypes can define the spectrum of potential protective HIV-1 antibodies that could be readily elicited by experimental vaccines and adjuvants.
antibody; humoral responses; isotype; mucosal
To determine the spectrum of antiviral antibodies in HIV-1-infected individuals in whom viral replication is spontaneously undetectable, termed HIV controllers (HICs).
Multicenter French trial ANRS EP36 studying the viral control in HICs.
Neutralizing Antibody (nAb) activities (neutralization assay, competition with broadly reactive monoclonal antibodies, and reactivity against the viral MPER gp41 region), FcγR-mediated antiviral activities, antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC), as well as autoantibody levels, were quantified in plasma from 22 controllers and from viremic individuals. The levels of these different antibody responses and HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) IFNγ assay were compared in each controller.
The levels of antibody against the gp120 CD4 binding site, gp41, as well as Env epitopes near to the sites bound by broadly nAbs 2F5 and 1b12 were not different between HICs and viremic individuals. We did not find significant autoantibody levels in HICs. The magnitude and breadth of nAbs were heterogeneous in HICs but lower than in viremic individuals. The levels of nAbs using FcγR-mediated assay inhibition were similar in both groups. Regardless of the type of antibody tested, there was no correlation with HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses. ADCC was detectable in all controllers tested and was significantly higher than in viremic individuals (P <0.0002).
There was no single anti-HIV-1 antibody specificity that was a clear correlate of immunity in controllers. Rather, for most antibody types, controllers had the same or lower levels of nAbs than viremic individuals, with the possible exception of ADCC antibodies.
antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity; FcγR; HIV controller; humoral immunity; neutralizing antibodies
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.
HIV-1; Mucosal immunity; Immunoglobulin A; Aggregation
We present an integrated analytical method for analyzing peptide
microarray antibody binding data, from normalization through subject-specific
positivity calls and data integration and visualization. Current techniques for
the normalization of such data sets do not account for non-specific binding
activity. A novel normalization technique based on peptide sequence information
quickly and effectively reduced systematic biases. We also employed a sliding
mean window technique that borrows strength from peptides sharing similar
sequences, resulting in reduced signal variability. A smoothed signal aided in
the detection of weak antibody binding hotspots. A new principled FDR method of
setting positivity thresholds struck a balance between sensitivity and
specificity. In addition, we demonstrate the utility and importance of using
baseline control measurements when making subject-specific positivity calls.
Data sets from two human clinical trials of candidate HIV-1 vaccines were used
to validate the effectiveness of our overall computational framework.
Peptide microarrays; Antibodies; Normalization; Positivity calls; Software; Visualization
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.
The development of a vaccine that can induce high titers of functional antibodies against HIV-1 remains a high priority. We have developed an adjuvant based on an oil-in-water emulsion that incorporates Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands to test whether triggering multiple pathogen-associated molecular pattern receptors could enhance immunogenicity. Compared to single TLR agonists or other pairwise combinations, TLR7/8 and TLR9 agonists combined were able to elicit the highest titers of binding, neutralizing, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity-mediating antibodies against the protein immunogen, transmitted/founder HIV-1 envelope gp140 (B.63521). We further found that the combination of TLR7/8 and TLR9 agonists was associated with the release of CXCL10 (IP-10), suggesting that this adjuvant formulation may have optimally stimulated innate and adaptive immunity to elicit high titers of antibodies.
IMPORTANCE Combining TLR agonists in an adjuvant formulation resulted in higher antibody levels compared to an adjuvant without TLR agonists. Adjuvants that combine TLR agonists may be useful for enhancing antibody responses to HIV-1 vaccines.
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.
The RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial demonstrated partial efficacy of 31% against HIV-1 infection. Studies into possible correlates of protection found that antibodies specific to the V1 and V2 (V1/V2) region of envelope correlated inversely with infection risk and that viruses isolated from trial participants contained genetic signatures of vaccine-induced pressure in the V1/V2 region. We explored the hypothesis that the genetic signatures in V1 and V2 could be partly attributed to selection by vaccine-primed T cells. We performed a T-cell-based sieve analysis of breakthrough viruses in the RV144 trial and found evidence of predicted HLA binding escape that was greater in vaccine versus placebo recipients. The predicted escape depended on class I HLA A*02- and A*11-restricted epitopes in the MN strain rgp120 vaccine immunogen. Though we hypothesized that this was indicative of postacquisition selection pressure, we also found that vaccine efficacy (VE) was greater in A*02-positive (A*02+) participants than in A*02− participants (VE = 54% versus 3%, P = 0.05). Vaccine efficacy against viruses with a lysine residue at site 169, important to antibody binding and implicated in vaccine-induced immune pressure, was also greater in A*02+ participants (VE = 74% versus 15%, P = 0.02). Additionally, a reanalysis of vaccine-induced immune responses that focused on those that were shown to correlate with infection risk suggested that the humoral responses may have differed in A*02+ participants. These exploratory and hypothesis-generating analyses indicate there may be an association between a class I HLA allele and vaccine efficacy, highlighting the importance of considering HLA alleles and host immune genetics in HIV vaccine trials.
IMPORTANCE The RV144 trial was the first to show efficacy against HIV-1 infection. Subsequently, much effort has been directed toward understanding the mechanisms of protection. Here, we conducted a T-cell-based sieve analysis, which compared the genetic sequences of viruses isolated from infected vaccine and placebo recipients. Though we hypothesized that the observed sieve effect indicated postacquisition T-cell selection, we also found that vaccine efficacy was greater for participants who expressed HLA A*02, an allele implicated in the sieve analysis. Though HLA alleles have been associated with disease progression and viral load in HIV-1 infection, these data are the first to suggest the association of a class I HLA allele and vaccine efficacy. While these statistical analyses do not provide mechanistic evidence of protection in RV144, they generate testable hypotheses for the HIV vaccine community and they highlight the importance of assessing the impact of host immune genetics in vaccine-induced immunity and protection. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT00223080.)
A major challenge for the development of a highly effective AIDS vaccine is the identification of mechanisms of protective immunity. To address this question, we used a non-human primate challenge model with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). We show that antibodies to the SIV Envelope are necessary and sufficient to prevent infection. Moreover, sequencing of viruses from breakthrough infections revealed selective pressure against neutralization-sensitive viruses; we identified a two amino acid signature that alters antigenicity and confers neutralization resistance. A similar signature confers resistance of HIV-1 to neutralization by monoclonal antibodies against variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2), suggesting that SIV and HIV share a fundamental mechanism of immune escape from vaccine- or naturally-elicited antibodies. These analyses provide insight into the limited efficacy seen in HIV vaccine trials.