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 ?g), ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452) alone, or 3 groups of ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452) followed by ALVAC-HIV (vCP1452) plus LIPO-5 (250, 750, and 2,500 ?g). 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-?) 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.
Self-amplifying messenger RNA (mRNA) of positive-strand RNA viruses are effective vectors for in situ expression of vaccine antigens and have potential as a new vaccine technology platform well suited for global health applications. The SAM vaccine platform is based on a synthetic, self-amplifying mRNA delivered by a nonviral delivery system. The safety and immunogenicity of an HIV SAM vaccine encoding a clade C envelope glycoprotein formulated with a cationic nanoemulsion (CNE) delivery system was evaluated in rhesus macaques. The HIV SAM vaccine induced potent cellular immune responses that were greater in magnitude than those induced by self-amplifying mRNA packaged in a viral replicon particle (VRP) or by a recombinant HIV envelope protein formulated with MF59 adjuvant, anti-envelope binding (including anti-V1V2), and neutralizing antibody responses that exceeded those induced by the VRP vaccine. These studies provide the first evidence in nonhuman primates that HIV vaccination with a relatively low dose (50 µg) of formulated self-amplifying mRNA is safe and immunogenic.
?Infant responses to vaccines can be impeded by maternal antibodies and immune system immaturity. It is therefore unclear whether human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccination would elicit similar responses in adults and infants.
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-? receptors and Fc-mediated Ab function in conferring protection from transmission risk in the RV144 VE trial.
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 past 2 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 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 of the coevolution of HIV-1 founder envelope mutants in infected subjects with broad neutralizing antibodies, thereby defining broad neutralizing antibody developmental pathways. Despite these advances, a promising HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial published in 2013 did not 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.
Interrogating immune correlates of infection risk for efficacious and non-efficacious HIV-1 vaccine clinical trials have provided hypotheses regarding the mechanisms of induction of protective immunity to HIV-1. To date, there have been six HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trials (VAX003, Vaxgen, Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA), VAX004 (Vaxgen, Inc.), HIV-1 Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) 502 (Step), HVTN 503 (Phambili), RV144 (sponsored by the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, MHRP) and HVTN 505). Cellular, humoral, host genetic and virus sieve analyses of these human clinical trials each can provide information that may point to potentially protective mechanisms for vaccine-induced immunity. Critical to staying on the path toward development of an efficacious vaccine is utilizing information from previous human and non-human primate studies in concert with new discoveries of basic HIV-1 host-virus interactions. One way that past discoveries from correlate analyses can lead to novel inventions or new pathways toward vaccine efficacy is to examine the intersections where different components of the correlate analyses overlap (e.g., virus sieve analysis combined with humoral correlates) that can point to mechanistic hypotheses. Additionally, differences in durability among vaccine-induced T- and B-cell responses indicate that time post-vaccination is an important variable. Thus, understanding the nature of protective responses, the degree to which such responses have, or have not, as yet, been induced by previous vaccine trials and the design of strategies to induce durable T- and B-cell responses are critical to the development of a protective HIV-1 vaccine.
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.
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/?l) 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-1?, MIP-1?P (CCL3L1), and MIP-1?; granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); lymphotactin (XCL1); tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 9 (TNFRSF9); and gamma interferon (IFN-?). 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.
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.
The RV144 ALVAC/AIDSVax HIV-1 vaccine clinical trial showed an estimated vaccine efficacy of 31.2%. Viral genetic analysis identified a vaccine-induced site of immune pressure in the HIV-1 envelope (Env) variable region 2 (V2) focused on residue 169, which is included in the epitope recognized by vaccinee-derived V2 monoclonal antibodies. The ALVAC/AIDSVax vaccine induced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against the Env V2 and constant 1 (C1) regions. In the presence of low IgA Env antibody levels, plasma levels of ADCC activity correlated with lower risk of infection. In this study, we demonstrate that C1 and V2 monoclonal antibodies isolated from RV144 vaccinees synergized for neutralization, infectious virus capture, and ADCC. Importantly, synergy increased the HIV-1 ADCC activity of V2 monoclonal antibody CH58 at concentrations similar to that observed in plasma of RV144 vaccinees. These findings raise the hypothesis that synergy among vaccine-induced antibodies with different epitope specificities contributes to HIV-1 antiviral antibody responses and is important to induce for reduction in the risk of HIV-1 transmission. Importance: The Thai RV144 ALVAC/AIDSVax prime-boost vaccine efficacy trial represents the only example of HIV-1 vaccine efficacy in humans to date. Studies aimed at identifying immune correlates involved in the modest vaccine-mediated protection identified HIV-1 envelope (Env) variable region 2-binding antibodies as inversely correlated with infection risk, and genetic analysis identified a site of immune pressure within the region recognized by these antibodies. Despite this evidence, the antiviral mechanisms by which variable region 2-specific antibodies may have contributed to lower rates of infection remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that vaccine-induced HIV-1 envelope variable region 2 and constant region 1 antibodies synergize for recognition of virus-infected cells, infectious virion capture, virus neutralization, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. This is a major step in understanding how these types of antibodies may have cooperatively contributed to reducing infection risk and should be considered in the context of prospective vaccine design.
Monoclonal antibodies derived from blood plasma cells of acute HIV-1-infected individuals are predominantly targeted to the HIV Env gp41 and cross-reactive with commensal bacteria. To understand this phenomenon, we examined anti-HIV responses in ileum B cells using recombinant antibody technology and probed their relationship to commensal bacteria. The dominant ileum B cell response was to Env gp41. Remarkably, a majority (82%) of the ileum anti-gp41 antibodies cross-reacted with commensal bacteria, and of those, 43% showed non-HIV-1 antigen polyreactivity. Pyrosequencing revealed shared HIV-1 antibody clonal lineages between ileum and blood. Mutated immunoglobulin G antibodies cross-reactive with both Env gp41 and microbiota could also be isolated from the ileum of HIV-1 uninfected individuals. Thus, the gp41 commensal bacterial antigen cross-reactive antibodies originate in the intestine, and the gp41 Env response in HIV-1 infection can be derived from a preinfection memory B cell pool triggered by commensal bacteria that cross-react with Env.
Emergence of drug-resistant strains of the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and the ineffectiveness of BCG in curtailing Mtb infection makes vaccine development for tuberculosis an important objective. Identifying immunogenic CD8+ T cell peptide epitopes is necessary for peptide-based vaccine strategies. We present a three-tiered strategy for identifying and validating immunogenic peptides: first, identify peptides that form stable complexes with class I MHC molecules; second, determine whether cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) raised against the whole protein antigen recognize and lyse target cells pulsed with peptides that passed step 1; third, determine whether peptides that passed step 2, when administered in vivo as a vaccine in HLA-A2 transgenic mice, elicit CTLs that lyse target cells expressing the whole protein antigen. Our innovative approach uses dendritic cells transfected with Mtb antigen-encoding mRNA to drive antigen expression. Using this strategy, we have identified five novel peptide epitopes from the Mtb proteins Apa, Mtb8.4 and Mtb19.
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.
BackgroundAntibody 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.ResultsThe 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.ConclusionsThese 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.
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-? 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.
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.
Broadly HIV-1-neutralizing antibodies (BnAbs) display one or more unusual traits, including a long heavy chain complementarity-determining region 3 (HCDR3), polyreactivity, and high levels of somatic mutations. These shared characteristics suggest that BnAb development might be limited by immune tolerance controls. It has been postulated that HIV-1-infected individuals with autoimmune disease and defective immune tolerance mechanisms may produce BnAbs more readily than those without autoimmune diseases. In this study, we identified an HIV-1-infected individual with SLE who exhibited controlled viral load (<5,000 copies/ml) in the absence of controlling HLA phenotypes and developed plasma HIV-1 neutralization breadth. We collected memory B cells from this individual and isolated a BnAb, CH98, that targets the CD4 binding site (CD4bs) of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein 120 (gp120). CH98 bound to human antigens including dsDNA, which is specifically associated with SLE. Anti-dsDNA reactivity was also present in the patient's plasma. CH98 had a mutation frequency of 25% and 15% nt somatic mutations in the heavy and light chain variable domains, respectively, a long HCDR3, and a deletion in the light chain CDR1. The occurrence of anti-dsDNA reactivity by a HIV-1 CD4bs BnAb in an individual with SLE raises the possibility that some BnAbs and SLE-associated autoantibodies arise from similar pools of B cells.
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.
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.
Many participants in microbicide trials remain uninfected despite ongoing exposure to HIV-1. Determining the emergence and nature of mucosal HIV-specific immune responses in such women is important, since these responses may contribute to protection and could provide insight for the rational design of HIV-1 vaccines.
Affinity maturation of the antibody response is a fundamental process in adaptive immunity during which B-cells activated by infection or vaccination undergo rapid proliferation accompanied by the acquisition of point mutations in their rearranged immunoglobulin (Ig) genes and selection for increased affinity for the eliciting antigen. The rate of somatic hypermutation at any position within an Ig gene is known to depend strongly on the local DNA sequence, and Ig genes have region-specific codon biases that influence the local mutation rate within the gene resulting in increased differential mutability in the regions that encode the antigen-binding domains. We have isolated a set of clonally related natural Ig heavy chain-light chain pairs from an experimentally infected influenza patient, inferred the unmutated ancestral rearrangements and the maturation intermediates, and synthesized all the antibodies using recombinant methods. The lineage exhibits a remarkably uniform rate of improvement of the effective affinity to influenza hemagglutinin (HA) over evolutionary time, increasing 1000-fold overall from the unmutated ancestor to the best of the observed antibodies. Furthermore, analysis of selection reveals that selection and mutation bias were concordant even at the level of maturation to a single antigen. Substantial improvement in affinity to HA occurred along mutationally preferred paths in sequence space and was thus strongly facilitated by the underlying local codon biases.
We tested the concept of combining DNA with protein to improve anti-HIV Env systemic and mucosal humoral immune responses. Rhesus macaques were vaccinated with DNA, DNA&protein co-immunization or DNA prime followed by protein boost, and the magnitude and mucosal dissemination of the antibody responses were monitored in both plasma and mucosal secretions. We achieved induction of robust humoral responses by optimized DNA vaccination delivered by in vivo electroporation. These responses were greatly increased upon administration of a protein boost. Importantly, a co-immunization regimen of DNA&protein injected in the same muscle at the same time induced the highest systemic binding and neutralizing antibodies to homologous or heterologous Env as well as the highest Env-specific IgG in saliva. Inclusion of protein in the vaccine resulted in more immunized animals with Env-specific IgG in rectal fluids. Inclusion of DNA in the vaccine significantly increased the longevity of systemic humoral immune responses, whereas protein immunization, either as the only vaccine component or as boost after DNA prime, was followed by a great decline of humoral immune responses overtime. We conclude that DNA&protein co-delivery in a simple vaccine regimen combines the strength of each vaccine component, resulting in improved magnitude, extended longevity and increased mucosal dissemination of the induced antibodies in immunized rhesus macaques.
B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) patients expressing unmutated immunoglobulin heavy variable regions (IGHVs) use the IGHV1-69 B cell receptor (BCR) in 25% of cases. Since HIV-1 envelope gp41 antibodies also frequently use IGHV1-69 gene segments, we hypothesized that IGHV1-69 B-CLL precursors may contribute to the gp41 B cell response during HIV-1 infection. To test this hypothesis, we rescued 5 IGHV1-69 unmutated antibodies as heterohybridoma IgM paraproteins and as recombinant IgG1 antibodies from B-CLL patients, determined their antigenic specificities and analyzed BCR sequences. IGHV1-69 B-CLL antibodies were enriched for reactivity with HIV-1 envelope gp41, influenza, hepatitis C virus E2 protein and intestinal commensal bacteria. These IGHV1-69 B-CLL antibodies preferentially used IGHD3 and IGHJ6 gene segments and had long heavy chain complementary determining region 3s (HCDR3s) (?21 aa). IGHV1-69 B-CLL BCRs exhibited a phenylalanine at position 54 (F54) of the HCDR2 as do rare HIV-1 gp41 and influenza hemagglutinin stem neutralizing antibodies, while IGHV1-69 gp41 antibodies induced by HIV-1 infection predominantly used leucine (L54) allelic variants. These results demonstrate that the B-CLL cell population is an expansion of members of the innate polyreactive B cell repertoire with reactivity to a number of infectious agent antigens including intestinal commensal bacteria. The B-CLL IGHV1-69 B cell usage of F54 allelic variants strongly suggests that IGHV1-69 B-CLL gp41 antibodies derive from a restricted B cell pool that also produces rare HIV-1 gp41 and influenza hemagglutinin stem 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 safe and effective vaccine for the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is a global priority. We tested the efficacy of a DNA prime-recombinant adenovirus type 5 boost (DNA/rAd5) vaccine regimen in persons at increased risk for HIV-1 infection in the United States.
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 nonhuman 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 human immunodeficiency virus (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-elicited or naturally elicited antibodies. These analyses provide insight into the limited efficacy seen in HIV vaccine trials.
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.
We evaluated the immunogenicity and efficacy of Vaxfectin(®) adjuvanted SIV DNA vaccines in mice and macaques. Vaccination of mice with Vaxfectin(®) adjuvanted SIV gag DNA induced higher humoral immune responses than administration of unadjuvanted DNA, whereas similar levels of cellular immunity were elicited. Vaxfectin(®) adjuvanted SIVmac251 gag and env DNA immunization of rhesus macaques was used to examine magnitude, durability, and efficacy of humoral immunity. Vaccinated macaques elicited potent neutralizing antibodies able to cross-neutralize the heterologous SIVsmE660 Env. We found remarkable durability of Gag and Env humoral responses, sustained during ~2 y of follow-up. The Env-specific antibody responses induced by Vaxfectin(®) adjuvanted env DNA vaccination disseminated into mucosal tissues, as demonstrated by their presence in saliva, including responses to the V1-V2 region, and rectal fluids. The efficacy of the immune responses was evaluated upon intrarectal challenge with low repeated dose SIVmac251. Although 2 of the 3 vaccinees became infected, these animals showed significantly lower peak virus loads and lower chronic viremia than non-immunized infected controls. Thus, Vaxfectin(®) adjuvanted DNA is a promising vaccine approach for inducing potent immune responses able to control the highly pathogenic SIVmac251.
Considerable HIV-1 vaccine development efforts have been deployed over the past decade. Put into perspective, the results from efficacy trials and the identification of correlates of risk have opened large and unforeseen avenues for vaccine development.
Analysis of correlates of risk of infection in the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial demonstrated that plasma IgG against the HIV-1 envelope (Env) variable region 1 and 2 inversely correlated with risk, whereas HIV-1 Env-specific plasma IgA responses directly correlated with risk. In the secondary analysis, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) was another inverse correlate of risk, but only in the presence of low plasma IgA Env-specific antibodies. Thus, we investigated the hypothesis that IgA could attenuate the protective effect of IgG responses through competition for the same Env binding sites. We report that Env-specific plasma IgA/IgG ratios are higher in infected than in uninfected vaccine recipients in RV144. Moreover, Env-specific IgA antibodies from RV144 vaccinees blocked the binding of ADCC-mediating mAb to HIV-1 Env glycoprotein 120 (gp120). An Env-specific monomeric IgA mAb isolated from an RV144 vaccinee also inhibited the ability of natural killer cells to kill HIV-1-infected CD4(+) T cells coated with RV144-induced IgG antibodies. We show that monomeric Env-specific IgA, as part of postvaccination polyclonal antibody response, may modulate vaccine-induced immunity by diminishing ADCC effector function.
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.
We previously demonstrated that vaccination of lactating rhesus monkeys with a DNA prime/vector boost strategy induces strong T-cell responses but limited envelope (Env)-specific humoral responses in breast milk. To improve vaccine-elicited antibody responses in milk, hormone-induced lactating rhesus monkeys were vaccinated with a transmitted/founder (T/F) HIV Env immunogen in a prime-boost strategy modeled after the moderately protective RV144 HIV vaccine. Lactating rhesus monkeys were intramuscularly primed with either recombinant DNA (n = 4) or modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) poxvirus vector (n = 4) expressing the T/F HIV Env C.1086 and then boosted twice intramuscularly with C.1086 gp120 and the adjuvant MF59. The vaccines induced Env-binding IgG and IgA as well as neutralizing and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) responses in plasma and milk of most vaccinated animals. Importantly, plasma neutralization titers against clade C HIV variants MW965 (P = 0.03) and CAP45 (P = 0.04) were significantly higher in MVA-primed than in DNA-primed animals. The superior systemic prime-boost regimen was then compared to a mucosal-boost regimen, in which animals were boosted twice intranasally with C.1086 gp120 and the TLR 7/8 agonist R848 following the same systemic prime. While the systemic and mucosal vaccine regimens elicited comparable levels of Env-binding IgG antibodies, mucosal immunization induced significantly stronger Env-binding IgA responses in milk (P = 0.03). However, the mucosal regimen was not as potent at inducing functional IgG responses. This study shows that systemic MVA prime followed by either intranasal or systemic protein boosts can elicit strong humoral responses in breast milk and may be a useful strategy to interrupt postnatal HIV-1 transmission.
Immunoassays that employ multiplexed bead arrays produce high information content per sample. Such assays are now frequently used to evaluate humoral responses in clinical trials. Integrated software is needed for the analysis, quality control, and secure sharing of the high volume of data produced by such multiplexed assays. Software that facilitates data exchange and provides flexibility to perform customized analyses (including multiple curve fits and visualizations of assay performance over time) could increase scientists capacity to use these immunoassays to evaluate human clinical trials.
We have previously shown that macaques vaccinated with DNA vectors expressing SIVmac239 antigens developed potent immune responses able to reduce viremia upon high-dose SIVmac251 challenge. To further improve vaccine-induced immunity and protection, we combined the SIVmac239 DNA vaccine with protein immunization using inactivated SIVmac239 viral particles as protein source. Twenty-six weeks after the last vaccination, the animals were challenged intrarectally at weekly intervals with a titrated dose of the heterologous SIVsmE660. Two of DNA-protein coimmunized macaques did not become infected after 14 challenges, but all controls were infected by 11 challenges. Vaccinated macaques showed modest protection from SIVsmE660 acquisition compared with naïve controls (P = 0.050; stratified for TRIM5? genotype). Vaccinees had significantly lower peak (1.6 log, P = 0.0048) and chronic phase viremia (P = 0.044), with 73% of the vaccinees suppressing viral replication to levels below assay detection during the 40-wk follow-up. Vaccine-induced immune responses associated significantly with virus control: binding antibody titers and the presence of rectal IgG to SIVsmE660 Env correlated with delayed SIVsmE660 acquisition; SIV-specific cytotoxic T cells, prechallenge CD4(+) effector memory, and postchallenge CD8(+) transitional memory cells correlated with control of viremia. Thus, SIVmac239 DNA and protein-based vaccine protocols were able to achieve high, persistent, broad, and effective cellular and humoral immune responses able to delay heterologous SIVsmE660 infection and to provide long-term control of viremia. These studies support a role of DNA and protein-based vaccines for development of an efficacious HIV/AIDS vaccine.
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 ?4?7 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.
The RV144 HIV-1 trial of the canary pox vector (ALVAC-HIV) plus the gp120 AIDSVAX B/E vaccine demonstrated an estimated efficacy of 31%, which correlated directly with antibodies to HIV-1 envelope variable regions 1 and 2 (V1-V2). Genetic analysis of trial viruses revealed increased vaccine efficacy against viruses matching the vaccine strain at V2 residue 169. Here, we isolated four V2 monoclonal antibodies from RV144 vaccinees that recognize residue 169, neutralize laboratory-adapted HIV-1, and mediate killing of field-isolate HIV-1-infected CD4(+) T cells. Crystal structures of two of the V2 antibodies demonstrated that residue 169 can exist within divergent helical and loop conformations, which contrasted dramatically with the ? strand conformation previously observed with a broadly neutralizing antibody PG9. Thus, RV144 vaccine-induced immune pressure appears to target a region that may be both sequence variable and structurally polymorphic. Variation may signal sites of HIV-1 envelope vulnerability, providing vaccine designers with new options.
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.
Neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies to linear epitopes on HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins have potential to mediate antiviral effector functions that could be beneficial to vaccine-induced protection. Here, plasma IgG responses were assessed in three HIV-1 gp120 vaccine efficacy trials (RV144, Vax003, Vax004) and in HIV-1-infected individuals by using arrays of overlapping peptides spanning the entire consensus gp160 of all major genetic subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) of the virus. In RV144, where 31.2% efficacy against HIV-1 infection was seen, dominant responses targeted the C1, V2, V3 and C5 regions of gp120. An analysis of RV144 case-control samples showed that IgG to V2 CRF01_AE significantly inversely correlated with infection risk (OR= 0.54, p=0.0042), as did the response to other V2 subtypes (OR=0.60-0.63, p=0.016-0.025). The response to V3 CRF01_AE also inversely correlated with infection risk but only in vaccine recipients who had lower levels of other antibodies, especially Env-specific plasma IgA (OR=0.49, p=0.007) and neutralizing antibodies (OR=0.5, p=0.008). Responses to C1 and C5 showed no significant correlation with infection risk. In Vax003 and Vax004, where no significant protection was seen, serum IgG responses targeted the same epitopes as in RV144 with the exception of an additional C1 reactivity in Vax003 and infrequent V2 reactivity in Vax004. In HIV-1 infected subjects, dominant responses targeted the V3 and C5 regions of gp120, as well as the immunodominant domain, heptad repeat 1 (HR-1) and membrane proximal external region (MPER) of gp41. These results highlight the presence of several dominant linear B cell epitopes on the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins. They also generate the hypothesis that IgG to linear epitopes in the V2 and V3 regions of gp120 are part of a complex interplay of immune responses that contributed to protection in RV144.
The initial antibody response to HIV-1 is targeted to envelope (Env) gp41, and is nonneutralizing and ineffective in controlling viremia. To understand the origins and characteristics of gp41-binding antibodies produced shortly after HIV-1 transmission, we isolated and studied gp41-reactive plasma cells from subjects acutely infected with HIV-1. The frequencies of somatic mutations were relatively high in these gp41-reactive antibodies. Reverted unmutated ancestors of gp41-reactive antibodies derived from subjects acutely infected with HIV-1 frequently did not react with autologous HIV-1 Env; however, these antibodies were polyreactive and frequently bound to host or bacterial antigens. In one large clonal lineage of gp41-reactive antibodies, reactivity to HIV-1 Env was acquired only after somatic mutations. Polyreactive gp41-binding antibodies were also isolated from uninfected individuals. These data suggest that the majority of gp41-binding antibodies produced after acute HIV-1 infection are cross-reactive responses generated by stimulating memory B cells that have previously been activated by non-HIV-1 antigens.
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).
A detailed understanding of the cellular response to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection is needed to inform prevention and therapeutic strategies that aim to contain the AIDS pandemic. The cellular immune response plays a critical role in reducing viral load in HIV-1 infection and in the nonhuman primate model of SIV infection. Much of this virus suppressive activity has been ascribed to CD8(+)T-cell-directed cytolysis of infected CD4(+)T cells. However, emerging evidence suggests that CD8(+)T cells can maintain a lowered viral burden through multiple mechanisms. A thorough understanding of the CD8(+)T-cell functions in HIV-1 infection that correlate with viral control, the populations responsible for these functions, and the elicitation and maintenance of these responses can provide guidance for vaccine design and potentially the development of new classes of antiretroviral therapies. In this review, we discuss the CD8(+)T-cell correlates of protection in HIV-1 and SIV infection and recent advances in this field.
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 V(H)2-5 gene, which has 10 distinct alleles that use either a heavy-chain complementarity-determining region 2 (HCDR2) aspartic acid (D(H54)) or an HCDR2 asparagine (N(H54)) residue. The 2F5 HCDR2 D(H54) residue has been shown to form a salt bridge with gp41 (665)K; the V(H)2-5 germ line allele variant containing N(H54) 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 V(H)2-5 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 V(H)2-5 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 N(H54) variant for fusion-intermediate conformation was an order of magnitude lower than that of the D(H54) V(H)2-5 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.
The genes encoding broadly HIV-1-neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are highly divergent from their germ line counterparts. We have hypothesized that such high levels of somatic hypermutation could pose a challenge for elicitation of the broadly neutralizing (bn) Abs and that identification of less somatically mutated bn Abs may help in the design of effective vaccine immunogens. In a quest for such bn Abs, phage- and yeast-displayed antibody libraries, constructed using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from a patient with bn serum containing Abs targeting the epitope of the bn MAb 2F5, were panned against peptides containing the 2F5 epitope and against the HIV-1 gp140(JR-FL). Two MAbs (m66 and m66.6) were identified; the more mutated variant (m66.6) exhibited higher HIV-1-neutralizing activity than m66, although it was weaker than 2F5 in a TZM-bl cell assay. Binding of both MAbs to gp41 alanine substitution mutant peptides required the DKW(664-666) core of the 2F5 epitope and two additional upstream residues (L(660,663)). The MAbs have long (21-residue) heavy-chain third complementarity-determining regions (CDR-H3s), and m66.6 (but not m66) exhibited polyspecific reactivity to self- and non-self-antigens. Both m66 and m66.6 are significantly less divergent from their germ line Ab counterparts than 2F5--they have a total of 11 and 18 amino acid changes, respectively, from the closest VH and V? germ line gene products compared to 25 for 2F5. These new MAbs could help explore the complex maturation pathways involved in broad neutralization and its relationship with auto- and polyreactivity and may aid design of vaccine immunogens and development of therapeutics against HIV-1 infection.
A component to the problem of inducing broad neutralizing HIV-1 gp41 membrane proximal external region (MPER) antibodies is the need to focus the antibody response to the transiently exposed MPER pre-hairpin intermediate neutralization epitope. Here we describe a HIV-1 envelope (Env) gp140 oligomer prime followed by MPER peptide-liposomes boost strategy for eliciting serum antibody responses in rhesus macaques that bind to a gp41 fusion intermediate protein. This Env-liposome immunization strategy induced antibodies to the 2F5 neutralizing epitope ???DKW residues, and these antibodies preferentially bound to a gp41 fusion intermediate construct as well as to MPER scaffolds stabilized in the 2F5-bound conformation. However, no serum lipid binding activity was observed nor was serum neutralizing activity for HIV-1 pseudoviruses present. Nonetheless, the Env-liposome prime-boost immunization strategy induced antibodies that recognized a gp41 fusion intermediate protein and was successful in focusing the antibody response to the desired epitope.
Understanding the interactions between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virions and antibodies (Ab) produced during acute HIV-1 infection (AHI) is critical for defining antibody antiviral capabilities. Antibodies that bind virions may prevent transmission by neutralization of virus or mechanically prevent HIV-1 migration through mucosal layers. In this study, we quantified circulating HIV-1 virion-immune complexes (ICs), present in approximately 90% of AHI subjects, and compared the levels and antibody specificity to those in chronic infection. Circulating HIV-1 virions coated with IgG (immune complexes) were in significantly lower levels relative to the viral load in acute infection than in chronic HIV-1 infection. The specificities of the antibodies in the immune complexes differed between acute and chronic infection (anti-gp41 Ab in acute infection and anti-gp120 in chronic infection), potentially suggesting different roles in immunopathogenesis for complexes arising at different stages of infection. We also determined the ability of circulating IgG from AHI to bind infectious versus noninfectious virions. Similar to a nonneutralizing anti-gp41 monoclonal antibody (MAb), purified plasma IgG from acute HIV-1 subjects bound both infectious and noninfectious virions. This was in contrast to the neutralizing antibody 2G12 MAb that bound predominantly infectious virions. Moreover, the initial antibody response captured acute HIV-1 virions without selection for different HIV-1 envelope sequences. In total, this study demonstrates that the composition of immune complexes are dynamic over the course of HIV-1 infection and are comprised initially of antibodies that nonselectively opsonize both infectious and noninfectious virions, likely contributing to the lack of efficacy of the antibody response during acute infection.
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.
Many candidate HIV vaccines are designed to primarily elicit T cell responses. Although repeated immunization with the same vaccine boosts Ab 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 Ab responses 10-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.
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.
The great majority of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strains enter CD4+ target cells by interacting with one of two coreceptors, CCR5 or CXCR4. Here we describe a transmitted/founder (T/F) virus (ZP6248) that was profoundly impaired in its ability to utilize CCR5 and CXCR4 coreceptors on multiple CD4+ cell lines as well as primary human CD4+ T cells and macrophages in vitro yet replicated to very high titers (>80 million RNA copies/ml) in an acutely infected individual. Interestingly, the envelope (Env) glycoprotein of this clade B virus had a rare GPEK sequence in the crown of its third variable loop (V3) rather than the consensus GPGR sequence. Extensive sequencing of sequential plasma samples showed that the GPEK sequence was present in virtually all Envs, including those from the earliest time points after infection. The molecularly cloned (single) T/F virus was able to replicate, albeit poorly, in cells obtained from ccr5?32 homozygous donors. The ZP6248 T/F virus could also infect cell lines overexpressing the alternative coreceptors GPR15, APJ, and FPRL-1. A single mutation in the V3 crown sequence (GPEK->GPGK) of ZP6248 restored its infectivity in CCR5+ cells but reduced its ability to replicate in GPR15+ cells, indicating that the V3 crown motif played an important role in usage of this alternative coreceptor. These results suggest that the ZP6248 T/F virus established an acute in vivo infection by using coreceptor(s) other than CCR5 or CXCR4 or that the CCR5 coreceptor existed in an unusual conformation in this individual.
V2/V3 conformational epitope antibodies that broadly neutralize HIV-1 (PG9 and PG16) have been recently described. Since an elicitation of previously known broadly neutralizing antibodies has proven elusive, the induction of antibodies with such specificity is an important goal for HIV-1 vaccine development. A critical question is which immunogens and vaccine formulations might be used to trigger and drive the development of memory B cell precursors with V2/V3 conformational epitope specificity. In this paper we identified a clonal lineage of four V2/V3 conformational epitope broadly neutralizing antibodies (CH01 to CH04) from an African HIV-1-infected broad neutralizer and inferred their common reverted unmutated ancestor (RUA) antibodies. While conformational epitope antibodies rarely bind recombinant Env monomers, a screen of 32 recombinant envelopes for binding to the CH01 to CH04 antibodies showed monoclonal antibody (MAb) binding to the E.A244 gp120 Env and to chronic Env AE.CM243; MAbs CH01 and CH02 also bound to transmitted/founder Env B.9021. CH01 to CH04 neutralized 38% to 49% of a panel of 91 HIV-1 tier 2 pseudoviruses, while the RUAs neutralized only 16% of HIV-1 isolates. Although the reverted unmutated ancestors showed restricted neutralizing activity, they retained the ability to bind to the E.A244 gp120 HIV-1 envelope with an affinity predicted to trigger B cell development. Thus, E.A244, B.9021, and AE.CM243 Envs are three potential immunogen candidates for studies aimed at defining strategies to induce V2/V3 conformational epitope-specific antibodies.
Despite months of mucosal virus exposure, the majority of breastfed infants born to HIV-infected mothers do not become infected, raising the possibility that immune factors in milk inhibit mucosal transmission of HIV. HIV Envelope (Env)-specific antibodies are present in the milk of HIV-infected mothers, but little is known about their virus-specific functions. In this study, HIV Env-specific antibody binding, autologous and heterologous virus neutralization, and antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) responses were measured in the milk and plasma of 41 HIV-infected lactating women. Although IgA is the predominant antibody isotype in milk, HIV Env-specific IgG responses were higher in magnitude than HIV Env-specific IgA responses in milk. The concentrations of anti-HIV gp120 IgG in milk and plasma were directly correlated (r = 0.75; P < 0.0001), yet the response in milk was 2 logarithm units lower than in plasma. Similarly, heterologous virus neutralization (r = 0.39; P = 0.010) and ADCC activity (r = 0.64; P < 0.0001) in milk were directly correlated with that in the systemic compartment but were 2 log units lower in magnitude. Autologous neutralization was rarely detected in milk. Milk heterologous virus neutralization titers correlated with HIV gp120 Env-binding IgG responses but not with IgA responses (r = 0.71 and P < 0.0001, and r = 0.17 and P = 0.30). Moreover, IgGs purified from milk and plasma had equal neutralizing potencies against a tier 1 virus (r = 0.65; P < 0.0001), whereas only 1 out of 35 tested non-IgG milk fractions had detectable neutralization. These results suggest that plasma-derived IgG antibodies mediate the majority of the low-level HIV neutralization and ADCC activity in breast milk.
Here we have identified HIV-1 B clade Envelope (Env) amino acid signatures from early in infection that may be favored at transmission, as well as patterns of recurrent mutation in chronic infection that may reflect common pathways of immune evasion. To accomplish this, we compared thousands of sequences derived by single genome amplification from several hundred individuals that were sampled either early in infection or were chronically infected. Samples were divided at the outset into hypothesis-forming and validation sets, and we used phylogenetically corrected statistical strategies to identify signatures, systematically scanning all of Env. Signatures included single amino acids, glycosylation motifs, and multi-site patterns based on functional or structural groupings of amino acids. We identified signatures near the CCR5 co-receptor-binding region, near the CD4 binding site, and in the signal peptide and cytoplasmic domain, which may influence Env expression and processing. Two signatures patterns associated with transmission were particularly interesting. The first was the most statistically robust signature, located in position 12 in the signal peptide. The second was the loss of an N-linked glycosylation site at positions 413-415; the presence of this site has been recently found to be associated with escape from potent and broad neutralizing antibodies, consistent with enabling a common pathway for immune escape during chronic infection. Its recurrent loss in early infection suggests it may impact fitness at the time of transmission or during early viral expansion. The signature patterns we identified implicate Env expression levels in selection at viral transmission or in early expansion, and suggest that immune evasion patterns that recur in many individuals during chronic infection when antibodies are present can be selected against when the infection is being established prior to the adaptive immune response.
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.
While the hallmark of HIV-1 infection is the progressive depletion of CD4(+) T cells, extensive B-cell dysfunction ensues that impairs the quality of the humoral response. HIV-1 infection causes hypergammaglobulinemia, polyclonal activation, loss of memory B-cell subsets, B-cell exhaustion, aberrant B-cell surface markers, and impaired humoral responses against infections and vaccinations. The totality of the mechanisms that contribute to B-cell dysfunction in vivo is unknown, although roles for HIV proteins (Env, Tat, and Nef) and virions binding to CD21 on B cells have been identified. Recent studies suggest that early antiretroviral therapy, that minimizes virus replication, can profoundly preserve the early B-cell response to HIV-1. Thus, it is clear that there is an intricate interplay between HIV replication and stimulation of the host B-cell response to infection. A better understanding of how HIV-1 subverts a productive B-cell response is needed to inform vaccine strategies that aim to elicit long-lived plasma cells and memory B-cell responses that can act quickly upon antigen stimulation.
The C3-V4 region is a major target of autologous neutralizing antibodies in HIV-1 subtype C infection. We previously identified a Center for AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) participant, CAP88, who developed a potent neutralizing-antibody response within 3 months of infection that targeted an epitope in the C3 region of the HIV-1 envelope (P. L. Moore et al., PLoS Pathog. 5:e1000598, 2009). Here we showed that these type-specific antibodies could be adsorbed using recombinant gp120 from the transmitted/founder virus from CAP88 but not by gp120 made from other isolates. Furthermore, this activity could be depleted using a chimeric gp120 protein that contained only the C3 region from the CAP88 viral envelope engrafted onto the unrelated CAP63 viral envelope (called 63-88C3). On the basis of this, a differential sorting of memory B cells was performed using gp120s made from 63-88C3 and CAP63 labeled with different fluorochromes as positive and negative probes, respectively. This strategy resulted in the isolation of a highly specific monoclonal antibody (MAb), called CAP88-CH06, that neutralized the CAP88 transmitted/founder virus and viruses from acute infection but was unable to neutralize CAP88 viruses isolated at 6 and 12 months postinfection. The latter viruses contained 2 amino acid changes in the alpha-2 helix of C3 that mediated escape from this MAb. One of these changes involved the introduction of an N-linked glycan at position 339 that occluded the epitope, while the other mutation (either E343K or E350K) was a charge change. Our data validate the use of differential sorting to isolate a MAb targeting a specific epitope in the envelope glycoprotein and provided insights into the mechanisms of autologous neutralization escape.
During the recent H1N1 influenza pandemic, excess morbidity and mortality was seen in young but not older adults suggesting that prior infection with influenza strains may have protected older subjects. In contrast, a history of recent seasonal trivalent vaccine in younger adults was not associated with protection.
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 Fc? 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.
Protein vaccines, if rendered immunogenic, would facilitate vaccine development against HIV and other pathogens. We compared in nonhuman primates (NHPs) immune responses to HIV Gag p24 within 3G9 antibody to DEC205 ("DEC-HIV Gag p24"), an uptake receptor on dendritic cells, to nontargeted protein, with or without poly ICLC, a synthetic double stranded RNA, as adjuvant. Priming s.c. with 60 ?g of both HIV Gag p24 vaccines elicited potent CD4(+) T cells secreting IL-2, IFN-?, and TNF-?, which also proliferated. The responses increased with each of three immunizations and recognized multiple Gag peptides. DEC-HIV Gag p24 showed better cross-priming for CD8(+) T cells, whereas the avidity of anti-Gag antibodies was ?10-fold higher with nontargeted Gag 24 protein. For both protein vaccines, poly ICLC was essential for T- and B-cell immunity. To determine whether adaptive responses could be further enhanced, animals were boosted with New York vaccinia virus (NYVAC)-HIV Gag/Pol/Nef. Gag-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses increased markedly after priming with both protein vaccines and poly ICLC. These data reveal qualitative differences in antibody and T-cell responses to DEC-HIV Gag p24 and Gag p24 protein and show that prime boost with protein and adjuvant followed by NYVAC elicits potent cellular immunity.
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.
Broadly neutralizing antibodies are not commonly produced in HIV-1 infected individuals nor by experimental HIV-1 vaccines. When these antibodies do occur, it is important to be able to isolate and characterize them to provide clues for vaccine design. CAP206 is a South African subtype C HIV-1-infected individual previously shown to have broadly neutralizing plasma antibodies targeting the envelope gp41 distal membrane proximal external region (MPER). We have now used a fluoresceinated peptide tetramer antigen with specific cell sorting to isolate a human neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the HIV-1 envelope gp41 MPER. The isolated recombinant mAb, CAP206-CH12, utilized a portion of the distal MPER (HXB2 amino acid residues, 673-680) and neutralized a subset of HIV-1 pseudoviruses sensitive to CAP206 plasma antibodies. Interestingly, this mAb was polyreactive and used the same germ-line variable heavy (V(H)1-69) and variable kappa light chain (V(K)3-20) gene families as the prototype broadly neutralizing anti-MPER mAb, 4E10 (residues 672-680). These data indicate that there are multiple immunogenic targets in the C-terminus of the MPER of HIV-1 gp41 envelope and suggests that gp41 neutralizing epitopes may interact with a restricted set of naive B cells during HIV-1 infection.
The safety and immunogenicity of a vaccine regimen consisting of a 6-plasmid HIV-1 DNA prime (envA, envB, envC, gagB, polB, nefB) boosted by a recombinant adenovirus serotype-5 (rAd5) HIV-1 with matching inserts was evaluated in HIV-seronegative participants from South Africa, United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.
We have developed a high-throughput platform to detect the presence of HIV-1 and SIV-specific ADCC-mediating antibody responses. The assay is based on the hydrolysis of a cell-permeable fluorogenic peptide substrate containing a sequence recognized by the serine protease, Granzyme B (GzB). GzB is delivered into target cells by cytotoxic effector cells as a result of antigen (Ag)-specific Ab-Fc? receptor interactions. Within the target cells, effector cell-derived GzB hydrolyzes the substrate, generating a fluorescent signal that allows individual target cells that have received a lethal hit to be identified by flow cytometry. Results are reported as the percentage of target cells with GzB activity (%GzB). Freshly isolated or cryopreserved PBMC and/or NK cells can be used as effector cells. CEM.NKR cells expressing the CCR5 co-receptor are used as a target cells following: (i) coating with recombinant envelope glycoprotein, (ii) infection with infectious molecular clones expressing the Env antigens of primary and lab adapted viruses, or (iii) chronic infection with a variant of HIV-1/IIIB, termed A1953. In addition, primary CD4(+) T cells infected with HIV-1 in vitro can also be used as targets. The assay is highly reproducible with a coefficient of variation of less than 25%. Target and effector cell populations, in the absence of serum/plasma, were used to calculate background (8.6 ± 2.3%). We determined that an initial dilution of 1:50 and 1:100 is required for testing of human and non-human primate samples, respectively. This assay allows for rapid quantification of HIV-1 or SIV-specific ADCC-mediating antibodies that develop in response to vaccination, or in the natural course of infection, thus providing researchers with a new methodology for investigating the role of ADCC-mediating antibodies as correlates of control or prevention of HIV-1 and SIV infection.
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
We evaluated replication-defective poxvirus vectors (modified vaccinia Ankara [MVA] and fowlpox [FPV]) in a homologous and heterologous vector prime-boost vaccination regimen containing matching HIV inserts (MVA-HIV and FPV-HIV) given at months 0, 1, 3, 5 and 7 in 150 healthy HIV-negative vaccinia-naïve participants. FPV-HIV alone was poorly immunogenic, while the high dose (10(9)pfu/2 ml) of MVA-HIV alone elicited maximal responses after two injections: CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in 26/55 (47.3%) and 5/60 (8.3%) of participants, respectively, and IFN-? ELISpot responses in 28/62 (45.2%). The infrequent CD8+ T-cell responses following MVA-HIV priming were boosted only by the heterologous (FPV-HIV) construct in 14/27 (51.9%) of participants post 4th vaccination. Alternatively, HIV envelope-specific binding antibodies were demonstrated in approximately two-thirds of recipients of the homologous boosting regimen, but in less than 20% of subjects after the heterologous vector boost. Thus, a heterologous poxvirus vector prime-boost regimen can induce HIV-specific CD8+ T-cell and CD4+ T-cell responses, which may be an important feature of an optimal regimen for preventive HIV vaccination.
In the present study, we analyzed the functional profile of CD8+ T-cell responses directed against autologous transmitted/founder HIV-1 isolates during acute and early infection, and examined whether multifunctionality is required for selection of virus escape mutations. Seven anti-retroviral therapy-naïve subjects were studied in detail between 1 and 87 weeks following onset of symptoms of acute HIV-1 infection. Synthetic peptides representing the autologous transmitted/founder HIV-1 sequences were used in multiparameter flow cytometry assays to determine the functionality of HIV-1-specific CD8+ T memory cells. In all seven patients, the earliest T cell responses were predominantly oligofunctional, although the relative contribution of multifunctional cell responses increased significantly with time from infection. Interestingly, only the magnitude of the total and not of the poly-functional T-cell responses was significantly associated with the selection of escape mutants. However, the high contribution of MIP-1?-producing CD8+ T-cells to the total response suggests that mechanisms not limited to cytotoxicity could be exerting immune pressure during acute infection. Lastly, we show that epitope entropy, reflecting the capacity of the epitope to tolerate mutational change and defined as the diversity of epitope sequences at the population level, was also correlated with rate of emergence of escape mutants.
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.
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.
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