The third variable region (V3) of HIV-1 gp120 plays a key role in viral entry into host cells; thus, it is a potential target for vaccine design. Human monoclonal antibody (mAb) 447–52D is one of the most broadly and potently neutralizing anti-V3 mAbs. We further characterized the 447–52D epitope by determining a high-resolution crystal structure of the Fab fragment in complex with a cyclic V3 and interrogated the antigen–antibody interaction by a combination of site-specific mutagenesis, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and neutralization assays. We found that 447–52D’s neutralization capability is correlated with its binding affinity and at 25 °C the Gibbs free binding energy is composed of a large enthalpic component and a small favorable entropic component. The large enthalpic contribution is due to (i) an extensive hydrogen bond network, (ii) a π–cation sandwiching the V3 crown apex residue Arg315, and (iii) a salt bridge between the 447–52D heavy chain residue AspH95 and Arg315. Arg315 is often harbored by clade B viruses; thus, our data explained why 447–52D preferentially neutralizes clade B viruses. Interrogation of the thermodynamic signatures of residues at the antigen binding interface gives key insights into their contributions in the antigen–antibody interaction.
One approach to the development of an HIV vaccine is to design a protein template which can present gp120 epitopes inducing cross-neutralizing antibodies. To select a V3 sequence for immunogen design, we compared the neutralizing activities of 18 anti-V3 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) derived from Cameroonian and Indian individuals infected with clade AG and C, respectively. It was found that V3 mAbs from the Cameroonian patients were significantly more cross-neutralizing than those from India. Interestingly, superior neutralizing activity of Cameroonian mAbs was also observed among the nine VH5-51/VL lambda genes encoding V3 mAbs which mediate a similar mode of recognition. This correlated with higher relative binding affinity to a variety of gp120s and increased mutation rates in V3 mAbs from Cameroon. These results suggest that clade C V3 is probably weakly immunogenic and that the V3 sequence of CRF02_AG viruses can serve as a plausible template for vaccine immunogen design.
HIV-1; V3 region; Non-B clade HIV-1; Immunoglobulin gene usage; Human monoclonal antibodies; HIV neutralizing antibodies
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.
A human anti-HIV monoclonal antibody (mAb), 2909, selected on the basis of its potent neutralizing activity against HIV-1SF162, recognizes a complex epitope V2/V3 present on intact virions but not on soluble gp120. To confirm the quaternary nature of the epitope, 2909 binding was tested against the pseudovirus SF162 wild type (WT) expressing trimers and/or an SF162 mutant expressing monomeric envelope proteins. The construction of the SF162 mutant was made by an alanine substitution of nine hydrophobic residues in the N-terminal heptad repeat region of gp41 molecules that failed to form trimers on the virus surface. Monoclonal Ab 2909 bound only to SF162 WT virions and transfected cells as determined by mmunoprecipitation and flow cytometry, respectively, but showed no reactivity to the SF162 mutant expressing monomeric gp120. The data provide further evidence for the existence of a unique quaternary epitope V2/V3 on the surface of unliganded virus.
HIV-1; neutralizing antibody; V2/V3 regions
The Thai Phase III clinical trial (RV144) showed modest efficacy in preventing HIV-1 acquisition. Plasma collected from HIV-1-uninfected trial participants completing all injections with ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) prime and AIDSVAX B/E boost were tested for antibody responses against HIV-1 gp120 envelope (Env). Peptide microarray analysis from six HIV-1 subtypes and group M consensus showed that vaccination induced antibody responses to the second variable (V2) loop of gp120 of multiple subtypes. We further evaluated V2 responses by ELISA and surface plasmon resonance using cyclic (Cyc) and linear V2 loop peptides. Thirty-one of 32 vaccine recipients tested (97%) had antibody responses against Cyc V2 at 2 weeks postimmunization with a reciprocal geometric mean titer (GMT) of 1100 (range: 200–3200). The frequency of detecting plasma V2 antibodies declined to 19% at 28 weeks post-last injection (GMT: 110, range: 100–200). Antibody responses targeted the mid-region of the V2 loop that contains conserved epitopes and has the amino acid sequence KQKVHALFYKLDIVPI (HXB2 Numbering sequence 169–184). Valine at position 172 was critical for antibody binding. The frequency of V3 responses at 2 weeks postimmunization was modest (18/32, 56%) with a GMT of 185 (range: 100–800). In contrast, naturally infected HIV-1 individuals had a lower frequency of antibody responses to V2 (10/20, 50%; p=0.003) and a higher frequency of responses to V3 (19/20, 95%), with GMTs of 400 (range: 100–3200) and 3570 (range: 200–12,800), respectively. RV144 vaccination induced antibodies that targeted a region of the V2 loop that contains conserved epitopes. Early HIV-1 transmission events involve V2 loop interactions, raising the possibility that anti-V2 antibodies in RV144 may have contributed to viral inhibition.
The production of human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) has been improved recently using the single B cell and PCR technology. A number of new anti-HIV-1 mAbs directed to various epitopes were produced by selecting single B cells from HIV positive individuals using the HIV-1 envelope (Env) proteins, and we tested whether the peptide can select B cells specific to a particular Env epitope. Using the fluorescently-labeled peptide tetramer representative of the V3 loop of HIV-1 Env gp120 for staining the B cells derived from one HIV-1 infected donor, four clonal human mAbs were produced with specificity to the V3 region. The clonality of the four V3 mAbs was based on the usage of the same immunoglobulin genes and almost identical sequence of CDRs. The amino acid changes were present only in the framework and, possibly, they could be related to the differences observed in the relative affinity binding of these four mAbs to V3 antigen. One representative V3 mAb displayed very potent neutralizing activity to one of two viruses tested. This study shows the feasibility of utilizing a peptide tetramer to select epitope-specific B cells and produce mAbs.
HIV-1; V3 region; immunoglobulin gene usage; human monoclonal antibodies; HIV neutralizing antibodies
Human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) 447-52D and 537-10D, both coded by the VH3 gene and specific for the third variable region (V3) of the HIV-1 gp120, were found to share antigen binding structural elements including an elongated CDR H3 forming main-chain interactions with the N-terminus of the V3 crown. However, water-mediated hydrogen bonds and a unique cation-π sandwich stacking allow 447-52D to be broadly reactive with V3 containing both the GPGR and GPGQ crown motifs, while the deeper binding pocket, and a buried Glu in the binding site of 537-10D limit its reactivity to only V3 containing the GPGR motif. Our results suggest that the design of immunogens for anti-V3 antibodies should avoid the Arg at the V3 crown, as GPGR-containing epitopes appear to select for B cells making antibodies of narrower specificity than V3 that carry Gln at this position.
HIV-1; gp120; V3; monoclonal antibody; antibody-antigen interactions
The recent analysis of the first successful RV144 vaccine trial revealed that a high titer of plasma anti-V2 antibodies (Abs) correlated with a decreased risk of HIV-1 infection in vaccine recipients. To understand the mechanism of immune correlates, we studied seven anti-V2 monoclonal Abs (mAbs) developed from HIV-1 infected individuals. The V2 mAbs target conserved epitopes, including the binding site for α4β7 integrin, and are broadly cross-reactive with various gp120 proteins. Preferential usage of the VH1-69 gene by V2 mAbs may depend on selection by the same antigenic structure. Six of seven V2 mAbs weakly neutralized four to eight of the 41 pseudoviruses tested and resistance to neutralization was correlated with longer V2 domains. The data suggest the presence of shared, conserved structural elements in the V2 loop, and these can be used in the design of vaccine immunogens inducing broadly reactive Abs with anti-viral activities.
HIV-1; V2 domain; Envelope proteins; Human monoclonal antibodies; HIV neutralizing antibodies; Glycosylation
The RV144 clinical trial of a prime/boost immunizing regimen using recombinant canary pox (ALVAC-HIV) and two gp120 proteins (AIDSVAX B and E) was previously shown to have a 31.2% efficacy rate. Plasma specimens from vaccine and placebo recipients were used in an extensive set of assays to identify correlates of HIV-1 infection risk. Of six primary variables that were studied, only one displayed a significant inverse correlation with risk of infection: the antibody (Ab) response to a fusion protein containing the V1 and V2 regions of gp120 (gp70-V1V2). This finding prompted a thorough examination of the results generated with the complete panel of 13 assays measuring various V2 Abs in the stored plasma used in the initial pilot studies and those used in the subsequent case-control study. The studies revealed that the ALVAC-HIV/AIDSVAX vaccine induced V2-specific Abs that cross-react with multiple HIV-1 subgroups and recognize both conformational and linear epitopes. The conformational epitope was present on gp70-V1V2, while the predominant linear V2 epitope mapped to residues 165–178, immediately N-terminal to the putative α4β7 binding motif in the mid-loop region of V2. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to compare the risk of infection with data from 12 V2 assays, and in 11 of these, the ORs were ≤1, reaching statistical significance for two of the variables: Ab responses to gp70-V1V2 and to overlapping V2 linear peptides. It remains to be determined whether anti-V2 Ab responses were directly responsible for the reduced infection rate in RV144 and whether anti-V2 Abs will prove to be important with other candidate HIV vaccines that show efficacy, however, the results support continued dissection of Ab responses to the V2 region which may illuminate mechanisms of protection from HIV-1 infection and may facilitate the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine.
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.
A biased usage of immunoglobulin (Ig) genes is observed in human anti-HIV-1 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) resulting probably from compensation to reduced usage of the VH3 family genes, while the other alternative suggests that this bias usage is due to antigen requirements. If the antigen structure is responsible for the preferential usage of particular Ig genes, it may have certain implications for HIV vaccine development by the targeting of particular Ig gene-encoded B cell receptors to induce neutralizing anti-HIV-1 antibodies. To address this issue, we have produced HIV-1 specific and non-HIV-1 mAbs from an infected individual and analyzed the Ig gene usage. Green-fluorescence labeled virus-like particles (VLP) expressing HIV-1 envelope (Env) proteins of JRFL and BaL and control VLPs (without Env) were used to select single B cells for the production of 68 recombinant mAbs. Ten of these mAbs were HIV-1 Env specific with neutralizing activity against V3 and the CD4 binding site, as well as non-neutralizing mAbs to gp41. The remaining 58 mAbs were non-HIV-1 Env mAbs with undefined specificities. Analysis revealed that biased usage of Ig genes was restricted only to anti-HIV-1 but not to non-HIV-1 mAbs. The VH1 family genes were dominantly used, followed by VH3, VH4, and VH5 among anti-HIV-1 mAbs, while non-HIV-1 specific mAbs preferentially used VH3 family genes, followed by VH4, VH1 and VH5 families in a pattern identical to Abs derived from healthy individuals. This observation suggests that the biased usage of Ig genes by anti-HIV-1 mAbs is driven by structural requirements of the virus antigens rather than by compensation to any depletion of VH3 B cells due to autoreactive mechanisms, according to the gp120 superantigen hypothesis.
The quaternary neutralizing epitope (QNE) of HIV-1 gp120 is preferentially expressed on the trimeric envelope spikes of intact HIV virions, and QNE-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) potently neutralize HIV-1. Here we present the crystal structures of the Fabs of human mAb 2909 and macaque mAb 2.5B. Both mAbs have long beta hairpin CDR H3 regions >20Å in length that are each situated at the center of their respective antigen-binding sites. Computational analysis showed that the paratopes include the whole CDR H3, while additional CDR residues form shallow binding pockets. Structural modeling suggests a way to understand the configuration of QNEs and the antigen antibody interaction for QNE mAbs. Our data will be useful in designing immunogens that may elicit potent neutralizing QNE Abs.
HIV/AIDS; gp120; quaternary neutralizing epitope (QNE); monoclonal antibody (mAb); crystal structure; immunogen design; vaccine
Preferential usage of immunoglobulin (Ig) genes that encode antibodies (Abs) against various pathogens is rarely observed and the nature of their dominance is unclear in the context of stochastic recombination of Ig genes. The hypothesis that restricted usage of Ig genes predetermines the antibody specificity was tested in this study of 18 human anti-V3 monoclonal Abs (mAbs) generated from unrelated individuals infected with various subtypes of HIV-1, all of which preferentially used pairing of the VH5-51 and VL lambda genes. Crystallographic analysis of five VH5-51/VL lambda-encoded Fabs complexed with various V3 peptides revealed a common three dimensional (3D) shape of the antigen-binding sites primarily determined by the four complementarity determining regions (CDR) for the heavy (H) and light (L) chains: specifically, the H1, H2, L1 and L2 domains. The CDR H3 domain did not contribute to the shape of the binding pocket, as it had different lengths, sequences and conformations for each mAb. The same shape of the binding site was further confirmed by the identical backbone conformation exhibited by V3 peptides in complex with Fabs which fully adapted to the binding pocket and the same key contact residues, mainly germline-encoded in the heavy and light chains of five Fabs. Finally, the VH5-51 anti-V3 mAbs recognized an epitope with an identical 3D structure which is mimicked by a single mimotope recognized by the majority of VH5-51-derived mAbs but not by other V3 mAbs. These data suggest that the identification of preferentially used Ig genes by neutralizing mAbs may define conserved epitopes in the diverse virus envelopes. This will be useful information for designing vaccine immunogen inducing cross-neutralizing Abs.
V3 loop is a major neutralizing determinant of the HIV-1 gp120. Using 3D structures of cholera toxin B subunit (CTB), complete V3 in the gp120 context and V3 bound to a monoclonal antibody (mAb) we designed two V3-scaffold immunogen constructs (V3-CTB). The full-length V3-CTB presenting the complete V3 in a structural context mimicking gp120, was recognized by the large majority of our panel of 24 mAbs. The short V3-CTB presenting a V3 fragment in the conformation observed in the complex with the 447-52D Fab, exhibited high affinity binding to this mAb. The immunogens were evaluated in rabbits using DNA-prime/protein-boost protocol. Boosting with the full-length V3-CTB induced high anti-V3 titers in sera that potently neutralize multiple HIV virus strains. The short V3-CTB was ineffective. The results suggest that very narrow antigenic profile of an immunogen is associated with poor Ab response. An immunogen with broader antigenic activity elicits robust Ab response.
Immunogen design; HIV-1; gp120; v3 loop; cholera toxin B subunit; neutralizing antibody; 447-52D; HIV vaccine
To study how virus evolution affects neutralization sensitivity and to determine changes that occur in and around epitopes, we tested the ability of 13 anti-HIV-1 gp120 (anti-V2, anti-V3, anti-CD4bd and anti-carbohydrate) human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to neutralize sequential viruses obtained from five HIV-1 chronically infected drug naïve individuals. Overall, primary viruses collected from patients at first visit were resistant to neutralization by all anti-HIV-1 mAbs with the exception of one virus sensitive to IgG1b12. Four of the five patients' viruses evolved increased sensitivity to neutralization by anti-V3 mAbs. Virus collected from a patient obtained 31 months later, evolved increased sensitivity to anti-V2, anti-V3, and anti-CD4bd mAbs. Furthermore, the anti-V2 and anti-CD4bd mAbs also exhibited increased neutralization capacities against virus collected from a patient 29 months later. Of the seven anti-V3 mAbs, five showed increased potency to neutralize the evolved virus from a patient collected after 11 months, and three exhibited increased potency against viruses from two patients collected 29 and 36 months later. Anti-V3 mAbs exhibited the most breadth and potency in neutralizing the evolving viruses. Sequence analysis of the envelope regions revealed amino acid conservation within the V3 loop, while most of the changes identified occurred outside the core epitopes and in particular within the C3 region; these may account for increased neutralization sensitivity. These studies demonstrate that in vivo, HIV-1 can evolve increased neutralization sensitivity to mAbs and that the spectrum of neutralization capacities by mAbs can be broader when studied in longitudinal analysis.
The V3 loop of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoprotein gp120 was identified as the “principal neutralizing domain” of HIV-1, but has been considered too variable to serve as a neutralizing antibody (Ab) target. Structural and immunochemical data suggest, however, that V3 contains conserved elements which explain its role in binding to virus co-receptors despite its sequence variability. Despite this evidence of V3 conservation, the ability of anti-V3 Abs to neutralize a significant proportion of HIV-1 isolates from different subtypes (clades) has remained controversial.
HIV-1 neutralization experiments were conducted in two independent laboratories to test human anti-V3 monoclonal Abs (mAbs) against pseudoviruses (psVs) expressing Envs of diverse HIV-1 subtypes from subjects with acute and chronic infections. Neutralization was defined by 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50), and was statistically assessed based on the area under the neutralization titration curves (AUC).
Using AUC analyses, statistically significant neutralization was observed by ≥1 anti-V3 mAbs against 56/98 (57%) psVs expressing Envs of diverse subtypes, including subtypes A, AG, B, C and D. Even when the 10 Tier 1 psVs tested were excluded from the analysis, significant neutralization was detected by ≥1 anti-V3 mAbs against 46/88 (52%) psVs from diverse HIV-1 subtypes. Furthermore, 9/24 (37.5%) Tier 2 viruses from the clade B and C standard reference panels were neutralized by ≥1 anti-V3 mAbs. Each anti-V3 mAb tested was able to neutralize 28–42% of the psVs tested. By IC50 criteria, 40/98 (41%) psVs were neutralized by ≥1 anti-V3 mAbs.
Using standard and new statistical methods of data analysis, 6/7 anti-V3 human mAbs displayed cross-clade neutralizing activity and revealed that a significant proportion of viruses can be neutralized by anti-V3 Abs. The new statistical method for analysis of neutralization data provides many advantages to previously used analyses.
Human anti-V3 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) generated from HIV-1 infected individuals display diversity in the range of their cross-neutralization that may be related to their immunogenetic background. The study of the immunoglobulin (Ig) variable region gene usage of heavy chains have shown a preferential usage of the VH5-51 gene segment which was detected in 35% of 51 human anti-V3 mAbs. In contrast, human mAbs against other envelope regions of HIV-1 (anti-Env), including the CD4-binding domain, the CD4-induced epitope, and gp41 preferentially used the VH1-69 gene segment, and none of them used the VH5-51 gene. Furthermore, the usage of the VH4 family by anti-V3 mAbs was restricted to only one gene segment, VH4-59, while the VH3 gene family was used at a significantly lower frequency by all of the analyzed anti-HIV-1 mAbs. Multivariate analysis showed that usage of VH gene segments was significantly different between anti-V3 and anti-Env mAbs, and compared to antibodies from healthy subjects. In addition, the anti-V3 mAbs preferentially used the JH3 and D2-15 gene segments. The preferential usage of selected Ig gene segments and the characteristic pattern of Ig gene usage by anti-V3 mAbs can be related to the conserved structure of the V3 region.
Immunoglobulin gene usage; human monoclonal antibodies; anti-HIV-1 antibodies
Breast cancer risk education enables women make informed decisions regarding their options for screening and risk reduction. We aimed to determine whether patient education regarding breast cancer risk using a bar graph, with or without a frequency format diagram, improved the accuracy of risk perception.
We conducted a prospective, randomized trial among women at increased risk for breast cancer. The main outcome measurement was patients' estimation of their breast cancer risk before and after education with a bar graph (BG group) or bar graph plus a frequency format diagram (BG+FF group), which was assessed by previsit and postvisit questionnaires.
Of 150 women in the study, 74 were assigned to the BG group and 76 to the BG+FF group. Overall, 72% of women overestimated their risk of breast cancer. The improvement in accuracy of risk perception from the previsit to the postvisit questionnaire (BG group, 19% to 61%; BG+FF group, 13% to 67%) was not significantly different between the 2 groups (P = .10). Among women who inaccurately perceived very high risk (≥ 50% risk), inaccurate risk perception decreased significantly in the BG+FF group (22% to 3%) compared with the BG group (28% to 19%) (P = .004).
Breast cancer risk communication using a bar graph plus a frequency format diagram can improve the short-term accuracy of risk perception among women perceiving inaccurately high risk.
Separation of two individual lattices within an epitaxially twinned data set allowed the crystal structure of the V3-specific neutralizing antibody 447-52D in complex with a V3 peptide (UG1033) to be determined. The structure confirms that the neutralization breadth of Fab 447-52D is likely to be attributable to the extensive focus on main-chain hydrogen-bond interactions with the peptide that permit the recognition of a range of V3 sequences.
Although antibodies against the third variable loop (V3) of the HIV-1 viral envelope glycoprotein are among the first neutralizing antibodies to be detected in infected individuals, they are normally restricted in their specificity. X-ray crystallographic studies of V3-specific antibodies have contributed to a more thorough understanding of recognition of this epitope and of conserved features in the V3 loop that could potentially aid in the design of a multi-component vaccine. The human antibody 447-52D exhibits relatively broad neutralization of primary viral isolates compared with other V3-loop antibodies. A crystal structure of Fab 447-52D in complex with a V3 peptide (UG1033) was determined at 2.1 Å resolution. The structure was determined using an epitaxially twinned data set and in-house programs to detect and remove overlapping reflections. Although the processed data have lower than desired completeness and slightly higher than normal R values for the resolution, good-quality electron-density maps were obtained that enabled structure determination. The structure revealed an extended CDR H3 loop that forms a β-sheet with the peptide, with the predominant contacts being main-chain hydrogen bonds. The V3 peptide and Fab show high structural homology with the previously reported structures of other Fab 447-52D complexes, reinforcing the idea that the V3 loop may adopt a small set of conserved structures, particularly around the crown of the β-hairpin.
antibodies; HIV-1; twinning; V3 loop
The majority of global human immunodeficiency virus infections are caused by viruses characterized by a GPGQ motif at the tip of the V3 loop. Characterization of anti-V3 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that neutralize isolates with the GPGQ V3 motif is an important step in designing vaccines that will induce such Abs. Consequently, seven human anti-V3 MAbs derived from the cells of individuals infected with non-B-subtype viruses (anti-V3non-B MAbs) were generated from the cells of individuals from Africa infected with circulating recombinant forms CRF02_AG, CRF09_cpx, and CRF13_cpx, each of which contains a subtype A env gene. Sequence analysis of plasma viruses revealed a GPGQ motif at the apex of the V3 loop from six of the seven subjects and a GPGR motif from one subject. The MAbs were selected with fusion proteins (FP) containing V392UG037.8 or V3JR-CSF from subtype A or B, respectively. In virus binding assays, five of the seven (71%) anti-V3non-B MAbs bound to V3-FPs from both subtype A and subtype B, while only four of the nine (44%) anti-V3B MAbs recognized both V3-FPs. Using two neutralization assays, both the anti-V3non-B and the anti-V3B MAbs neutralized subtype B viruses with similar activities, while the anti-V3non-B MAbs exhibited a tendency toward both increased potency and breadth of neutralization against non-B viruses compared to anti-V3B MAbs. Statistical significance was not achieved, due in large measure to the sizes of the MAb panels, but the overall pattern of data strongly suggests that viruses with the GPGQ motif at the tip of the V3 loop induce anti-V3 Abs with broader cross-neutralizing activity than do viruses with the GPGR motif.
The selection of human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 by binding assays may fail to identify Abs to quaternary epitopes on the intact virions. The HIV neutralization assay was used for the selection of human MAb 2909, which potently neutralizes SF162 and recognizes an epitope on the virus surface but not on soluble proteins. Three regions of gp120, the V2 and V3 loops and the CD4 binding domain, contribute to the epitope recognized by MAb 2909. The existence of such a unique MAb, which defines a complex epitope formed by a quaternary structure, suggests that there may be other new neutralizing HIV epitopes to target with vaccines.
Antibodies (Abs) against the V3 loop of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp120 envelope glycoprotein were initially considered to mediate only type-specific neutralization of T-cell-line-adapted viruses. However, recent data show that cross-neutralizing V3 Abs also exist, and primary isolates can be efficiently neutralized with anti-V3 monoclonal Abs (MAbs). The neutralizing activities of anti-V3 polyclonal Abs and MAbs may, however, be limited due to antigenic variations of the V3 region, a lack of V3 exposure on the surface of intact virions, or Ab specificity. For clarification of this issue, a panel of 32 human anti-V3 MAbs were screened for neutralization of an SF162-pseudotyped virus in a luciferase assay. MAbs selected with a V3 fusion protein whose V3 region mimics the conformation of the native virus were significantly more potent than MAbs selected with V3 peptides. Seven MAbs were further tested for neutralizing activity against 13 clade B viruses in a single-round peripheral blood mononuclear cell assay. While there was a spectrum of virus sensitivities to the anti-V3 MAbs observed, 12 of the 13 viruses were neutralized by one or more of the anti-V3 MAbs. MAb binding to intact virions correlated significantly with binding to solubilized gp120s and with the potency of neutralization. These results demonstrate that the V3 loop is accessible on the native virus envelope, that the strength of binding of anti-V3 Abs correlates with the potency of neutralization, that V3 epitopes may be shared rather than type specific, and that Abs against the V3 loop, particularly those targeting conformational epitopes, can mediate the neutralization of primary isolates.
The epitopes of the V3 domain of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp120 glycoprotein have complex structures consisting of linear and conformational antigenic determinants. Anti-V3 antibodies (Abs) recognize both types of elements, but Abs which preferentially react to the conformational aspect of the epitopes may have more potent neutralizing activity against HIV-1, as recently suggested. To test this hypothesis, human anti-V3 monoclonal Abs (MAbs) were selected using a V3 fusion protein (V3-FP) which retains the conformation of the third variable region. The V3-FP consists of the V3JR-CSF sequence inserted into a truncated form of murine leukemia virus gp70. Six human MAbs which recognize epitopes at the crown of the V3 loop were selected with the V3-FP. They were found to react more strongly with molecules displaying conformationally intact V3 than with linear V3 peptides. In a virus capture assay, these MAbs showed cross-clade binding to native, intact virions of clades A, B, C, D, and F. No binding was found to isolates from subtype E. The neutralizing activity of MAbs against primary isolates was determined in three assays: the GHOST cell assay, a phytohemagglutinin-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell assay, and a luciferase assay. While these new MAbs displayed various degrees of activity, the pattern of cross-clade neutralization of clades A, B, and F was most pronounced. The neutralization of clades C and D viruses was weak and sporadic, and neutralization of clade E by these MAbs was not detected. Analysis by linear regression showed a highly significant correlation (P < 0.0001) between the strength of binding of these anti-V3 MAbs to intact virions and the percent neutralization. These studies demonstrate that human MAbs to conformation-sensitive epitopes of V3 display cross-clade reactivity in both binding to native, intact virions and neutralization of primary isolates.
We have used a virus-binding assay to examine conformational changes that occur when soluble CD4 (sCD4) binds to the surface of intact, native, primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1 virions. The isolates examined belong to seven genetic clades (A to H) and are representative of syncytium-inducing and non-syncytium-inducing phenotypes. Conformational changes in epitopes in the C2, V2, V3, C5, and CD4 binding domain (CD4bd) of gp120 and the cluster I and II regions of gp41 of these viruses were examined using human monoclonal antibodies that are directed at these regions. The studies revealed that sCD4 binding causes a marked increase in exposure of epitopes in the V3 loop, irrespective of the clade or the phenotype of the virus. Sporadic increases in exposure were observed in some epitopes in the V2 region, while no changes were observed in the C2, C5, or CD4bd of gp120 or the cluster I and II regions of gp41.
In order to protect against organisms that exhibit significant genetic variation, polyvalent vaccines are needed. Given the extreme variability of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), it is probable that a polyvalent vaccine will also be needed for protection from this virus. However, to understand how to construct a polyvalent vaccine, serotypes or immunotypes of HIV must be identified. In the present study, we have examined the immunologic relatedness of intact, native HIV-1 primary isolates of group M, clades A to H, with human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed at epitopes in the V3, C5, and gp41 cluster I regions of the envelope glycoproteins, since these regions are well exposed on the virion surface. Multivariate analysis of the binding data revealed three immunotypes of HIV-1 and five MAb groups useful for immunotyping of the viruses. The analysis revealed that there are fewer immunotypes than genotypes of HIV and that clustering of the isolates did not correlate with either genotypes, coreceptor usage (CCR5 and CXCR4), or geographic origin of the isolates. Further analysis revealed distinct MAb groups that bound preferentially to HIV-1 isolates belonging to particular immunotypes or that bound to all three immunotypes; this demonstrates that viral immunotypes identified by mathematical analysis are indeed defined by their immunologic characteristics. In summary, these results indicate (i) that HIV-1 immunotypes can be defined, (ii) that constellations of epitopes that are conserved among isolates belonging to each individual HIV-1 immunotype exist and that these distinguish each of the immunotypes, and (iii) that there are also epitopes that are routinely shared by all immunotypes.