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
Background. To investigate the potential immunostimulatory effect of interleukin (IL) 2 as a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine adjuvant, we conducted a study of a plasmid coding for a fusion protein of IL-2 and immunoglobulin (IL-2/Ig).
Methods. This phase I trial evaluated an HIV-1 DNA vaccine with the plasmid cytokine adjuvant (IL-2/Ig) in 70 HIV-negative adults. Subjects received placebo (group C), adjuvant alone (group A), vaccine alone (group D), increasing doses of adjuvant concurrent with vaccine (groups T1–T4), or adjuvant given 2 days after vaccine (group T5).
Results. No significant differences in adverse events were observed between treatment groups. Cellular immune responses to envelope protein EnvA peptides were detected by interferon (IFN) γ and IL-2 enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assays in 50% and 40% of subjects, respectively, in T4, and in 100% and 80% in T5. The median responses for groups T4 and T5, respectively, were 90 and 193 spot-forming cells (SFCs)/106 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (P = .004; T4 vs T5) for the IL-2 ELISPOT assay and 103 and 380 SFCs/106 PBMCs (P = .003; T4 vs T5) for the IFN-γ ELISPOT assay. A trend to more durable cellular immune responses in T5 was observed at 1 year (T5 vs T4/D; P = .07). Higher anti-Env antibody responses were detected with T5 than with T4.
Conclusions. Plasmid IL-2/Ig significantly increased immune responses when administered 2 days after the DNA vaccine, compared with simultaneous administration. These observations have important implications for the development of cytokine augmentation strategies.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00069030.
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.
Many candidate HIV vaccines are designed to primarily elicit T-cell responses. Although repeated immunization with the same vaccine boosts antibody responses, the benefit for T-cell responses is ill-defined. We compared two immunization regimens that include the same recombinant adenoviral serotype 5 (rAd5) boost. Repeated homologous rAd5 immunization fails to increase T-cell responses, but increases gp140 antibody responses ten-fold. DNA prime, as compared with rAd5 prime, directs long-term memory CD8+ T cells toward a terminally differentiated effector memory phenotype with cytotoxic potential. Based on the kinetics of activated cells measured directly ex vivo, the DNA vaccination primes for both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, despite the lack of detection of the latter until after the boost. These results suggest that heterologous prime-boost combinations have distinct immunological advantages over homologous prime-boosts, and suggest that the effect of DNA on subsequent boosting may not be easily detectable directly after the DNA vaccination.
CD4 T follicular helper (TFH) cells interact with and stimulate the generation of antigen-specific B cells. TFH cell interaction with B cells correlates with production of SIV-specific immunoglobulins. However, the fate of TFH cells and their participation in SIV-induced antibody production is not well understood. We investigated the phenotype, function, location, and molecular signature of TFH cells in rhesus macaques. Similar to their human counterparts, TFH cells in rhesus macaques represented a heterogeneous population with respect to cytokine function. In a highly differentiated subpopulation of TFH cells, characterized by CD150lo expression, production of Th1 cytokines was compromised while IL-4 production was augmented, and cells exhibited decreased survival, cycling, and trafficking capacity. TFH cells exhibited a distinct gene profile that was markedly altered by SIV infection. TFH cells were infected by SIV; yet, in some animals, these cells actually accumulated during chronic SIV infection. Generalized immune activation and increased IL-6 production helped drive TFH differentiation during SIV infection. Accumulation of TFH cells was associated with increased frequency of activated germinal center B cells and SIV-specific antibodies. Therefore, chronic SIV does not disturb the ability of TFH cells to help B cell maturation and production of SIV-specific immunoglobulins.
A small proportion of HIV-infected individuals generate a neutralizing antibody (NAb) response of exceptional magnitude and breadth. A detailed analysis of the critical epitopes targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies should help to define optimal targets for vaccine design. HIV-1-infected subjects with potent cross-reactive serum neutralizing antibodies were identified by assaying sera from 308 subjects against a multiclade panel of 12 “tier 2” viruses (4 each of subtypes A, B, and C). Various neutralizing epitope specificities were determined for the top 9 neutralizers, including clade A-, clade B-, clade C-, and clade A/C-infected donors, by using a comprehensive set of assays. In some subjects, neutralization breadth was mediated by two or more antibody specificities. Although antibodies to the gp41 membrane-proximal external region (MPER) were identified in some subjects, the subjects with the greatest neutralization breadth targeted gp120 epitopes, including the CD4 binding site, a glycan-containing quaternary epitope formed by the V2 and V3 loops, or an outer domain epitope containing a glycan at residue N332. The broadly reactive HIV-1 neutralization observed in some subjects is mediated by antibodies targeting several conserved regions on the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein.
Genetic factors, as well as antigenic stimuli, can influence antibody repertoire formation. Moreover, the affinity of antigen for unmutated naïve B cell receptors determines the threshold for activation of germinal center antibody responses. The gp41 2F5 broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) uses the VH2-5 gene, which has 10 distinct alleles that use either a heavy-chain complementarity-determining region 2 (HCDR2) aspartic acid (DH54) or an HCDR2 asparagine (NH54) residue. The 2F5 HCDR2 DH54 residue has been shown to form a salt bridge with gp41 665K; the VH2-5 germ line allele variant containing NH54 cannot do so and thus should bind less avidly to gp41. Thus, the induction of 2F5 bNAb is dependent on both genetic and structural factors that could affect antigen affinity of unmutated naïve B cell receptors. Here, we studied allelic variants of the VH2-5 inferred germ line forms of the HIV-1 gp41 bNAb 2F5 for their antigen binding affinities to gp41 linear peptide and conformational protein antigens. Both VH2-5 2F5 inferred germ line variants bound to gp41 peptides and protein, including the fusion intermediate protein mimic, although more weakly than the mature 2F5 antibody. As predicted, the affinity of the NH54 variant for fusion-intermediate conformation was an order of magnitude lower than that of the DH54 VH2-5 germ line antibody, demonstrating that allelic variants of 2F5 germ line antibodies differentially bind to gp41. Thus, these data demonstrate a genetically determined trait that may affect host responses to HIV-1 envelope epitopes recognized by broadly neutralizing antibodies and has implications for unmutated ancestor-based immunogen design.
Background. A key missing element in the development of a successful human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine is an immunogen that can generate broadly cross-neutralizing antibodies against primary isolates of the virus.
Methods. This phase 1 clinical trial employed a DNA prime and subunit envelope protein boost in an attempt to generate cellular and humoral immune responses that might be desirable in a protective HIV vaccine. Priming was performed via intramuscular injection with gag and env DNA adsorbed to polylactide coglycolide microspheres, followed by boosting with a recombinant trimeric envelope (Env) glycoprotein delivered in MF59 adjuvant.
Results. The DNA prime and protein boost were generally safe and well-tolerated. Env-specific CD4+ cellular responses were generated that were predominantly detected after Env protein boosting. Neutralizing antibody responses against the homologous SF162 viral isolate were remarkably strong and were present in the majority of vaccine recipients, including a strong response against CD4-induced epitopes on gp120. Despite the promising potency of this vaccine approach, neutralization breadth against heterologous tier 2 strains of HIV-1 was minimal.
Conclusions. Potent neutralization against neutralization-sensitive strains of HIV is achievable in humans through a DNA prime, recombinant oligomeric Env protein boost regimen. Eliciting substantial breadth of neutralization remains an elusive goal.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00073216.
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.
The B cell arm of the immune response becomes activated soon after HIV-1 transmission, yet the initial antibody response does not control HIV-1 replication, and it takes months for neutralizing antibodies to develop against the autologous virus. Antibodies that can be broadly protective are made only in a minority of subjects and take years to develop—too late to affect the course of disease. New studies of the earliest stages of HIV-1 infection, new techniques to probe the human B cell repertoire, the modest degree of efficacy in a vaccine trial, and new studies of human monoclonal antibodies that represent the types of immune responses an HIV-1 vaccine should induce are collectively illuminating paths that a successful HIV-1 vaccine might take.
Purpose of review
This review discusses select recent data that suggest that indeed it is possible to make a clinically useful preventive vaccine for HIV-1 and outlines some of the remaining obstacles that stand in the way of success.
Passive protection studies, with broad neutralizing antibodies for mucosal simian-HIV challenges, in nonhuman primates have suggested that lower doses of neutralizing antibodies than previously thought may be effective in preventing HIV-1 infection. The use of recombinant antibody technology coupled with the ability to culture single memory B cells has yielded new broad neutralizing antibodies and new targets for vaccine design. The success of the RV144 Thai HIV-1 efficacy trials with a replication-defective recombinant canarypox vector (ALVAC)/gp120 prime, clade B/E recombinant gp120 protein boost showing 31% efficacy has given hope that indeed a protective HIV-1 vaccine can be made.
Recent data in the last year have provided new hope that a clinically useful preventive HIV-1 vaccine can potentially be made. The path forward will require development of improved immunogens, understanding the correlates of protection to HIV-1, and development of immunogens to induce antibodies that can prevent the initial stages of HIV-1 infection at mucosal sites, in order to improve on the RV144 trial results.
antibodies; trials; vaccine
The HIV-1 gp41 envelope (Env) membrane proximal external region (MPER) is an important vaccine target that in rare subjects can elicit neutralizing antibodies. One mechanism proposed for rarity of MPER neutralizing antibody generation is lack of reverted unmutated ancestor (putative naive B cell receptor) antibody reactivity with HIV-1 envelope. We have studied the effect of partial deglycosylation under non-denaturing (native) conditions on gp140 Env antigenicity for MPER neutralizing antibodies and their reverted unmutated ancestor antibodies. We found that native deglycosylation of clade B JRFL gp140 as well as group M consensus gp140 Env CON-S selectively increased the reactivity of Env with the broad neutralizing human mAbs, 2F5 and 4E10. Whereas fully glycosylated gp140 Env either did not bind (JRFL), or weakly bound (CON-S), 2F5 and 4E10 reverted unmutated ancestors, natively deglycosylated JRFL and CON-S gp140 Envs did bind well to these putative mimics of naive B cell receptors. These data predict that partially deglycoslated Env would bind better than fully glycosylated Env to gp41-specific naïve B cells with improved immunogenicity. In this regard, immunization of rhesus macaques demonstrated enhanced immunogenicity of the 2F5 MPER epitope on deglyosylated JRFL gp140 compared to glycosylated JRFL gp140. Thus, the lack of 2F5 and 4E10 reverted unmutated ancestor binding to gp140 Env may not always be due to lack of unmutated ancestor antibody reactivity with gp41 peptide epitopes, but rather, may be due to glycan interference of binding of unmutated ancestor antibodies of broad neutralizing mAb to Env gp41.
Critical to the design of an effective HIV-1 vaccine that will induce long-lasting broadly neutralizing antibodies is to understand why broad neutralizing antibodies are not induced. One hypothesis is that there are “holes” in the naïve B cell repertoires for unmutated B cell receptors that can bind to HIV-1 envelope (Env) neutralizing epitopes. In this paper, we test this hypothesis for the rare HIV-1 envelope gp41 broad neutralizing monoclonal antibodes (mAbs), called 2F5 and 4E10, and show that indeed, fully glycosylated Env does not bind to inferred unmutated ancestor antibodies (mimics of naïve B cell receptors) of mAbs 2F5 and 4E10, but that partially deglycosylated Envs that have had glycans removed under non-denaturing conditions, did bind to 2F5 and 4E10 unmutated ancestor antibodies. Thus, rather than there being a lack of existence of germline B cell receptors for gp41 broad neutralizing antibodies, one impediment to induction of gp41 broad neutralizing antibodies may be glycan interference with unmutated antibody binding to gp41 envelope.
Among nonneutralizing HIV-1 envelope antibodies (Abs), those capable of mediating antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity have been postulated to be important for control of HIV-1 infection. ADCC-mediating Ab must recognize HIV-1 antigens expressed on the membrane of infected cells and bind the Fcγ receptor (FcR) of the effector cell population. However, the precise targets of serum ADCC antibody are poorly characterized. The human monoclonal antibody (MAb) A32 is a nonneutralizing antibody isolated from an HIV-1 chronically infected person. We investigated the ability of MAb A32 to recognize HIV-1 envelope expressed on the surface of CD4+ T cells infected with primary and laboratory-adapted strains of HIV-1, as well as its ability to mediate ADCC activity. The MAb A32 epitope was expressed on the surface of HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells earlier than the CD4-inducible (CD4i) epitope bound by MAb 17b and the gp120 carbohydrate epitope bound by MAb 2G12. Importantly, MAb A32 was a potent mediator of ADCC activity. Finally, an A32 Fab fragment blocked the majority of ADCC-mediating Ab activity in plasma of subjects chronically infected with HIV-1. These data demonstrate that the epitope defined by MAb A32 is a major target on gp120 for plasma ADCC activity.
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
The early immune response to HIV-1 infection is likely to be an important factor in determining the clinical course of disease. Recent data indicate that the HIV-1 quasispecies that arise following a mucosal infection are usually derived from a single transmitted virus. Moreover, the finding that the first effective immune responses drive the selection of virus escape mutations provides insight into the earliest immune responses against the transmitted virus and their contributions to the control of acute viraemia. Strong innate and adaptive immune responses occur subsequently but they are too late to eliminate the infection. In this Review, we discuss recent studies on the kinetics and quality of early immune responses to HIV-1 and their implications for developing a successful preventive HIV-1 vaccine.
Successful vaccines (i.e., tetanus and diphtheria) can induce long-lived Ab levels that are maintained by bone marrow plasma cells and plasma Ab levels do not correlate with numbers of blood memory B cells. Destruction of CD4+ T cells early in HIV-1 acute infection may result in insufficient induction of neutralizing Ab responses; thus, an HIV-1 vaccine should elicit high levels of durable Abs by long-lived plasma cells to be protective. We asked if HIV-1 envelope-specific memory responses were sustained by memory B cells in the settings of HIV-1 gp120 envelope vaccination and chronic HIV-1 infection. Levels of anti-HIV-1 envelope plasma Abs and memory B cells were found to correlate in both settings. Moreover, whereas the expected half-life of plasma Ab levels to protein vaccines was >10 years when maintained by long-lived plasma cells, anti-envelope Ab level half-lives were ~33– 81 wk in plasma from antiretroviral drug-treated HIV-1+ subjects. In contrast, anti-p55 Gag Ab level half-life was 648 wk, and Ab titers against influenza did not decay in-between yearly or biennial influenza vaccine boosts in the same patients. These data demonstrated that HIV-1 envelope induces predominantly short-lived memory B cell-dependent plasma Abs in the settings of envelope vaccination and HIV-1 infection. The inability to generate high titers of long-lived anti-envelope Abs is a major hurdle to overcome for the development of a successful HIV-1 vaccine.
Neutralizing antibody (nAb) response is sporadic and has limited potency and breadth during infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). In rare cases, broad and potent nAbs are actually induced in vivo. Identifying specific epitopes targeted by such broad and potent nAb response is valuable in guiding the design of a prophylactic vaccine aimed to induce nAb. In this study, we have defined neutralizing epitope usage in 7 out of 17 subjects with broad and potent nAbs by using targeted mutagenesis in known neutralizing epitopes of HIV-1 glycoproteins and by using in vitro depletion of serum neutralizing activity by various recombinant HIV-1 glycoproteins. Consistent with recent reports, the CD4 binding site (CD4BS) is targeted by nAbs in vivo (4 of the 7 subjects with defined neutralizing epitopes). The new finding from this study is that epitopes in the gp120 outer domain are also targeted by nAbs in vivo (5 of the 7 subjects). The outer domain epitopes include glycan-dependent epitopes (2 subjects), conserved non-linear epitope in the V3 region (2 subjects), and a CD4BS epitope composed mainly of the elements in the outer domain (1 subject). Importantly, we found indication for epitope poly-specificity, a dual usage of the V3 and CD4BS epitopes, in only one subject. This study provides a more complete profile of epitope usage for broad and potent nAb responses during HIV-1 infection.
The extraordinarily high level of genetic variation of HIV-1 env genes poses a challenge to obtain antibodies that cross-react with multiple subtype Env glycoproteins. To determine if cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to highly conserved epitopes in HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins can be induced, we immunized mice with wild-type or consensus HIV-1 Env proteins and characterized a panel of ten mAbs that reacted with varying breadth to subtypes A, B, C, D, F, G, CRF01_AE and a highly divergent SIVcpzUS Env proteins by ELISA and Western blot analysis. Two mAbs (3B3 and 16H3) cross–reacted with all tested Env proteins, including SIVcpzUS Env. Surface plasmon resonance analyses showed both 3B3 and 16H3 bound Env proteins with high affinity. However, neither neutralized primary HIV-1 pseudoviruses. These data indicate that broadly-reactive non-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies can be elicited, but that the conserved epitopes that they recognize are not present on functional virion trimers. Nonetheless, such mAbs represent valuable reagents to study the biochemistry and structural biology of Env protein oligomers.
cross-reactivity; monoclonal antibody; subtype; envelope glycoprotein; HIV-1
Individuals without prior immunity to a vaccine vector may be more sensitive to reactions following injection, but may also show optimal immune responses to vaccine antigens. To assess safety and maximal tolerated dose of an adenoviral vaccine vector in volunteers without prior immunity, we evaluated a recombinant replication-defective adenovirus type 5 (rAd5) vaccine expressing HIV-1 Gag, Pol, and multiclade Env proteins, VRC-HIVADV014-00-VP, in a randomized, double-blind, dose-escalation, multicenter trial (HVTN study 054) in HIV-1-seronegative participants without detectable neutralizing antibodies (nAb) to the vector. As secondary outcomes, we also assessed T-cell and antibody responses.
Volunteers received one dose of vaccine at either 1010 or 1011 adenovector particle units, or placebo. T-cell responses were measured against pools of global potential T-cell epitope peptides. HIV-1 binding and neutralizing antibodies were assessed. Systemic reactogenicity was greater at the higher dose, but the vaccine was well tolerated at both doses. Although no HIV infections occurred, commercial diagnostic assays were positive in 87% of vaccinees one year after vaccination. More than 85% of vaccinees developed HIV-1-specific T-cell responses detected by IFN-γ ELISpot and ICS assays at day 28. T-cell responses were: CD8-biased; evenly distributed across the three HIV-1 antigens; not substantially increased at the higher dose; and detected at similar frequencies one year following injection. The vaccine induced binding antibodies against at least one HIV-1 Env antigen in all recipients.
This vaccine appeared safe and was highly immunogenic following a single dose in human volunteers without prior nAb against the vector.
Traditional antibody-mediated neutralization of HIV-1 infection is thought to result from the binding of antibodies to virions, thus preventing virus entry. However, antibodies that broadly neutralize HIV-1 are rare and are not induced by current vaccines. We report that four human anti-phospholipid monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) (PGN632, P1, IS4, and CL1) inhibit HIV-1 CCR5-tropic (R5) primary isolate infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with 80% inhibitory concentrations of <0.02 to ∼10 µg/ml. Anti-phospholipid mAbs inhibited PBMC HIV-1 infection in vitro by mechanisms involving binding to monocytes and triggering the release of MIP-1α and MIP-1β. The release of these β-chemokines explains both the specificity for R5 HIV-1 and the activity of these mAbs in PBMC cultures containing both primary lymphocytes and monocytes.
Defining the earliest virologic events following human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission may be critical for the design of vaccine strategies aimed at blocking acquisition of HIV-1 infection. In particular, the length of the eclipse phase and the number of transmitted virus variants may define the window in which a prophylactic vaccine must act. Here we show that the dose of the virus inoculum affects these key virologic parameters following intrarectal simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of rhesus monkeys. Low-dose SIV infection resulted in a lengthened eclipse phase, fewer transmitted virus variants, and decreased innate immune activation compared with these parameters in high-dose SIV infection. These data suggest a mechanism by which it may be considerably easier for a vaccine to protect against low-risk HIV-1 transmission than against high-risk HIV-1 transmission. These findings have implications for the design and interpretation of HIV-1 vaccine efficacy studies.
Defining the specificities of the anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope antibodies able to mediate broad heterologous neutralization will assist in identifying targets for an HIV-1 vaccine. We screened 70 plasmas from chronically HIV-1-infected individuals for neutralization breadth. Of these, 16 (23%) were found to neutralize 80% or more of the viruses tested. Anti-CD4 binding site (CD4bs) antibodies were found in almost all plasmas independent of their neutralization breadth, but they mainly mediated neutralization of the laboratory strain HxB2 with little effect on the primary virus, Du151. Adsorption with Du151 monomeric gp120 reduced neutralizing activity to some extent in most plasma samples when tested against the matched virus, although these antibodies did not always confer cross-neutralization. For one plasma, this activity was mapped to a site overlapping the CD4-induced (CD4i) epitope and CD4bs. Anti-membrane-proximal external region (MPER) (r = 0.69; P < 0.001) and anti-CD4i (r = 0.49; P < 0.001) antibody titers were found to be correlated with the neutralization breadth. These anti-MPER antibodies were not 4E10- or 2F5-like but spanned the 4E10 epitope. Furthermore, we found that anti-cardiolipin antibodies were correlated with the neutralization breadth (r = 0.67; P < 0.001) and anti-MPER antibodies (r = 0.6; P < 0.001). Our study suggests that more than one epitope on the envelope glycoprotein is involved in the cross-reactive neutralization elicited during natural HIV-1 infection, many of which are yet to be determined, and that polyreactive antibodies are possibly involved in this phenomenon.
Identifying the viral epitopes targeted by broad neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) that sometimes develop in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected subjects should assist in the design of vaccines to elicit similar responses. Here, we investigated the activities of a panel of 24 broadly neutralizing plasmas from subtype B- and C-infected donors using a series of complementary mapping methods, focusing mostly on JR-FL as a prototype subtype B primary isolate. Adsorption with gp120 immobilized on beads revealed that an often large but variable fraction of plasma neutralization was directed to gp120 and that in some cases, neutralization was largely mediated by CD4 binding site (CD4bs) Abs. The results of a native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis assay using JR-FL trimers further suggested that half of the subtype B and a smaller fraction of subtype C plasmas contained a significant proportion of NAbs directed to the CD4bs. Anti-gp41 neutralizing activity was detected in several plasmas of both subtypes, but in all but one case, constituted only a minor fraction of the overall neutralization activity. Assessment of the activities of the subtype B plasmas against chimeric HIV-2 viruses bearing various fragments of the membrane proximal external region (MPER) of HIV-1 gp41 revealed mixed patterns, implying that MPER neutralization was not dominated by any single specificity akin to known MPER-specific monoclonal Abs. V3 and 2G12-like NAbs appeared to make little or no contribution to JR-FL neutralization titers. Overall, we observed significant titers of anti-CD4bs NAbs in several plasmas, but approximately two-thirds of the neutralizing activity remained undefined, suggesting the existence of NAbs with specificities unlike any characterized to date.
A window of opportunity for immune responses to extinguish human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) exists from the moment of transmission through establishment of the latent pool of HIV-1-infected cells. A critical time to study the initial immune responses to the transmitted/founder virus is the eclipse phase of HIV-1 infection (time from transmission to the first appearance of plasma virus), but, to date, this period has been logistically difficult to analyze. To probe B-cell responses immediately following HIV-1 transmission, we have determined envelope-specific antibody responses to autologous and consensus Envs in plasma donors from the United States for whom frequent plasma samples were available at time points immediately before, during, and after HIV-1 plasma viral load (VL) ramp-up in acute infection, and we have modeled the antibody effect on the kinetics of plasma viremia. The first detectable B-cell response was in the form of immune complexes 8 days after plasma virus detection, whereas the first free plasma anti-HIV-1 antibody was to gp41 and appeared 13 days after the appearance of plasma virus. In contrast, envelope gp120-specific antibodies were delayed an additional 14 days. Mathematical modeling of the earliest viral dynamics was performed to determine the impact of antibody on HIV replication in vivo as assessed by plasma VL. Including the initial anti-gp41 immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgM, or both responses in the model did not significantly impact the early dynamics of plasma VL. These results demonstrate that the first IgM and IgG antibodies induced by transmitted HIV-1 are capable of binding virions but have little impact on acute-phase viremia at the timing and magnitude that they occur in natural infection.