To better delineate the impact of parasitic coinfection in coastal Kenya, we developed a novel specimen-sparing bead assay using multiplex flow immunoassay (MFI) technology to simultaneously measure serum or plasma immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) against Brugia malayi antigen (BMA) and Schistosoma haematobium soluble worm antigen (SWAP). Properties of the bead assay were estimated by latent class analysis using data from S. haematobium egg counts/filarial rapid diagnostic cards (RDTs), parasite-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), and the multichannel IgG4 assay. For schistosomiasis, the bead assay had an estimated sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 45%, and it was more sensitive than ELISA or urine egg counts for diagnosing infection. For filariasis, it had a sensitivity of 86% and a specificity of 39%, and it was more sensitive than ELISA or RDT. Measuring antibody by MFI is feasible and may provide more accurate epidemiological information than current parasitological tests, especially in the setting of low-intensity infections.
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.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine development requires selection of appropriate envelope (Env) immunogens. Twenty HIV-1 Env glycoproteins were examined for their ability to bind human anti-HIV-1 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and then used as immunogens in guinea pigs to identify promising immunogens. These included five Envs derived from chronically infected individuals, each representing one of five common clades and eight consensus Envs based on these five clades, as well as the consensus of the entire HIV-1 M group, and seven transmitted/founder (T/F) Envs from clades B and C. Sera from immunized guinea pigs were tested for neutralizing activity using 36 HIV-1 Env-pseudotyped viruses. All Envs bound to CD4 binding site, membrane-proximal, and V1/V2 MAbs with similar apparent affinities, although the T/F Envs bound with higher affinity to the MAb 17b, a CCR5 coreceptor binding site antibody. However, the various Envs differed in their ability to induce neutralizing antibodies. Consensus Envs elicited the most potent responses, but neutralized only a subset of viruses, including mostly easy-to-neutralize tier 1 and some more-difficult-to-neutralize tier 2 viruses. T/F Envs elicited fewer potent neutralizing antibodies but exhibited greater breadth than chronic or consensus Envs. Finally, chronic Envs elicited the lowest level and most limited breadth of neutralizing antibodies overall. Thus, each group of Env immunogens elicited a different antibody response profile. The complementary benefits of consensus and T/F Env immunogens raise the possibility that vaccines utilizing a combination of consensus and T/F Envs may be able to induce neutralizing responses with greater breadth and potency than single Env immunogens.
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.
Outbreaks of arthropod-borne viral infections occur periodically across Kenya. However, limited surveillance takes place during interepidemic periods. Using serum samples obtained from asymptomatic persons across Kenya in 2000-2004, we assessed (by indirect immunofluorescent assay) prevalence of IgG against yellow fever virus (YFV), West Nile virus (WNV), tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), dengue virus serotypes 1-4 (DENV1-4), and chikungunya virus (CHIKV). Older persons on the Indian Ocean coast were more likely to be seropositive than children inland: YFV = 42% versus 6%, WNV = 29% versus 6%, TBEV = 16% versus 6%, DENV-1 = 63% versus 9%, DENV-2 = 67% versus 7%, DENV-3 = 55% versus 6%, DENV-4 = 44% versus 8%, and CHIKV = 37% versus 20%. Among inland samples, children in lowlands were more likely to be seropositive for CHIKV (42% versus 0%) than children in highlands. In Kenya, transmission of arboviral infection continues between known epidemics and remains common across the country.
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.
In endemic areas, Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a significant threat to both human and animal health. Goals of this study were to measure human anti-RVFV seroprevalence in a high-risk area following the 2006-2007 Kenyan Rift Valley Fever (RVF) epidemic, to identify risk factors for interval seroconversion, and to monitor individuals previously exposed to RVFV in order to document the persistence of their anti-RVFV antibodies.
Few studies have investigated the many mosquito species that harbor arboviruses in Kenya. During the 2006-2007 Rift Valley fever outbreak in North Eastern Province, Kenya, exophilic mosquitoes were collected from homesteads within 2 affected areas: Gumarey (rural) and Sogan-Godud (urban). Mosquitoes (n = 920) were pooled by trap location and tested for Rift Valley fever virus and West Nile virus. The most common mosquitoes trapped belonged to the genus Culex (75%). Of 105 mosquito pools tested, 22% were positive for Rift Valley fever virus, 18% were positive for West Nile virus, and 3% were positive for both. Estimated mosquito minimum infection rates did not differ between locations. Our data demonstrate the local abundance of mosquitoes that could propagate arboviral infections in Kenya and the high prevalence of vector arbovirus positivity during a Rift Valley fever outbreak.
HIV-1 gp41 envelope antibodies, which are frequently induced in HIV-1-infected individuals, are predominantly nonneutralizing. The rare and difficult-to-induce neutralizing antibodies (2F5 and 4E10) that target gp41 membrane-proximal epitopes (MPER) are polyspecific and require lipid binding for HIV-1 neutralization. These results raise the questions of how prevalent polyreactivity is among gp41 antibodies and how the binding properties of gp41-nonneutralizing antibodies differ from those of antibodies that are broadly neutralizing. In this study, we have characterized a panel of human gp41 antibodies with binding specificities within the immunodominant cluster I (gp41 amino acids [aa] 579 to 613) or cluster II (gp41 aa 644 to 667) for reactivity to autoantigens, to the gp140 protein, and with MPER peptide-lipid conjugates. We report that while none of the gp41 cluster I antibodies studied were polyspecific, all three gp41 cluster II antibodies bound either to lipids or autoantigens, thus showing the propensity of cluster II antibodies to manifest polyreactivity. All cluster II gp41 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), including those that were lipid reactive, failed to bind to gp41 MPER peptide-lipid complexes. Cluster II antibodies bound strongly with nanomolar binding affinity (dissociation constant [K(d)]) to oligomeric gp140 proteins, and thus, they recognize conformational epitopes on gp41 that are distinct from those of neutralizing gp41 antibodies. These results demonstrate that lipid-reactive gp41 cluster II antibodies are nonneutralizing due to their inability to bind to the relevant neutralizing epitopes on gp41.
Traditional antibody-mediated neutralization of HIV-1 infection is thought to result from the binding of antibodies to virions, thus preventing virus entry. However, antibodies that broadly neutralize HIV-1 are rare and are not induced by current vaccines. We report that four human anti-phospholipid monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) (PGN632, P1, IS4, and CL1) inhibit HIV-1 CCR5-tropic (R5) primary isolate infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with 80% inhibitory concentrations of <0.02 to approximately 10 microg/ml. Anti-phospholipid mAbs inhibited PBMC HIV-1 infection in vitro by mechanisms involving binding to monocytes and triggering the release of MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta. The release of these beta-chemokines explains both the specificity for R5 HIV-1 and the activity of these mAbs in PBMC cultures containing both primary lymphocytes and monocytes.
The extensive glycosylation of HIV-1 envelope proteins (Envs), gp120/gp41, is known to play an important role in evasion of host immune response by masking key neutralization epitopes and presenting the Env glycosylation as "self" to the host immune system. The Env glycosylation is mostly conserved but continues to evolve to modulate viral infectivity. Thus, profiling Env glycosylation and distinguishing interclade and intraclade glycosylation variations are necessary components in unraveling the effects of glycosylation on Envs immunogenicity. Here, we describe a mass spectrometry-based approach to characterize the glycosylation profiles of two rVV-expressed clade C Envs by identifying the glycan motifs on each glycosylation site and determining the degree of glycosylation site occupancy. One Env is a wild-type Env, while the other is a synthetic "consensus" Env (C.CON). The observed differences in the glycosylation profiles between the two clade C Envs show that C.CON has more unutilized sites and high levels of high mannose glycans; these features mimic the glycosylation profile of a Group M consensus immunogen, CON-S. Our results also reveal a clade-specific glycosylation pattern. Discerning interclade and intraclade glycosylation variations could provide valuable information in understanding the molecular differences among the different HIV-1 clades and in designing new Env-based immunogens.
An immune correlates analysis of the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial revealed that antibody responses to the gp120 V1/V2 region correlated inversely with infection risk. The RV144 protein immunogens (A244-rp120 and MN-rgp120) were modified by an N-terminal 11-amino-acid deletion (?11) and addition of a herpes simplex virus (HSV) gD protein-derived tag (gD). We investigated the effects of these modifications on gp120 expression, antigenicity, and immunogenicity by comparing unmodified A244 gp120 with both ?11 deletion and gD tag and with ?11 only. Analysis of A244 gp120, with or without ?11 or gD, demonstrated that the ?11 deletion, without the addition of gD, was sufficient for enhanced antigenicity to gp120 C1 region, conformational V2, and V1/V2 gp120 conformational epitopes. RV144 vaccinee serum IgGs bound more avidly to A244 gp120 ?11 than to the unmodified gp120, and their binding was blocked by C1, V2, and V1/V2 antibodies. Rhesus macaques immunized with the three different forms of A244 gp120 proteins gave similar levels of gp120 antibody titers, although higher antibody titers developed earlier in A244 ?11 gp120-immunized animals. Conformational V1/V2 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) gave significantly higher levels of blocking of plasma IgG from A244 ?11 gp120-immunized animals than IgG from animals immunized with unmodified A244 gp120, thus indicating a qualitative difference in the V1/V2 antibodies induced by A244 ?11 gp120. These results demonstrate that deletion of N-terminal residues in the RV144 A244 gp120 immunogen improves both envelope antigenicity and immunogenicity.
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