High-resolution definition of vaccine-elicited B cell responses against the HIV primary receptor binding site.
ABSTRACT The high overall genetic homology between humans and rhesus macaques, coupled with the phenotypic conservation of lymphocyte populations, highlights the potential use of nonhuman primates (NHPs) for the preclinical evaluation of vaccine candidates. For HIV-1, experimental models are needed to identify vaccine regimens capable of eliciting desired immune responses, such as broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). One important neutralization target on the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Envs) is the conserved primary CD4 receptor binding site (CD4bs). The isolation and characterization of CD4bs-specific neutralizing monoclonal Abs (mAbs) from HIV-1-infected individuals have provided insights into how broadly reactive Abs target this conserved epitope. In contrast, and for reasons that are not understood, current Env immunogens elicit CD4bs-directed Abs with limited neutralization breadth. To facilitate the use of the NHP model to address this and other questions relevant to human humoral immunity, we defined features of the rhesus macaque immunoglobulin (Ig) loci and compared these to the human Ig loci. We then studied Env-immunized rhesus macaques, identified single B cells expressing CD4bs-specific Abs, and sequenced and expressed a panel of functional mAbs. Comparison of vaccine-elicited mAbs with HIV-1 infection-induced mAbs revealed differences in the degree of somatic hypermutation of the Abs as well as in the fine specificities targeted within the CD4bs. These data support the use of the preclinical NHP model to characterize vaccine-induced B cell responses at high resolution.
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ABSTRACT: Identifying characteristics of the HIV-1 Envelope that are effective in generating broad, protective antibodies remains a hurdle to HIV vaccine design. Emerging evidence of the development of broad and potent neutralizing antibodies in HIV-infected subjects suggests that founder and subsequent progeny viruses may express unique antigenic motifs that contribute to this developmental pathway. We hypothesize that over the course of natural infection, B cells are programmed to develop broad antibodies by exposure to select populations of emerging Envelope quasispecies variants. To test this hypothesis, we identified two unrelated subjects whose antibodies demonstrated increasing breadth against a panel of HIV-1 isolates over time. Full-length functional env genes were cloned longitudinally from these subjects from months after infection through 2.6 to 5.8 years of infection. Motifs associated with the development of breadth in published, cross-sectional studies were found in both subjects. We compared the immunogenicity of Envelope vaccines derived from timepoints obtained during and after broadening of neutralization activity within these subjects. Rabbits were co-immunized four times with selected multiple gp160 DNAs and gp140-trimeric Envelope proteins. Affinity of the polyclonal response increased as a function of boosting. The most rapid and persistent neutralization of multi-clade Tier 1 viruses was elicited by Envelopes that were circulating in plasma at timepoints prior to the development of 50% neutralization breadth in both human subjects. The breadth elicited in rabbits was not improved by exposure to later Envelope variants. These data have implications for vaccine development in describing a target timepoint to identify optimal Envelope immunogens.Journal of Virology 09/2014; 88(22). DOI:10.1128/JVI.01812-14 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The structure of BG505 gp140 SOSIP, a soluble mimic of the native HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env), marks the beginning of new era in Env structure-based immunogen design. Displaying a well-ordered quaternary structure, these subtype A-derived trimers display an excellent antigenic profile, discriminating recognition by broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) from non-broadly neutralizing antibodies (non-bNAbs), and provide a solid Env-based immunogenic platform starting point. Even with this important advance, obtaining homogeneous well-ordered soluble SOSIP trimers derived from other subtypes remains challenging. Here, we report the "rescue" of homogeneous well-ordered subtype B and C SOSIP trimers from a heterogeneous Env mixture using CD4 binding site-directed (CD4bs) non-bNAbs in a negative-selection purification process. These non-bNAbs recognize the primary receptor CD4bs only on disordered trimers but not on the native Env spike or well-ordered soluble trimers due to steric hindrance. Following negative selection to remove disordered oligomers, we demonstrated recovery of well-ordered, homogeneous trimers by electron microscopy (EM). We obtained 3D EM reconstructions of unliganded trimers, as well as in complex with sCD4, a panel of CD4bs-directed bNAbs, and the cleavage-dependent, trimer-specific bNAb, PGT151. Using bio-layer light interferometry (BLI) we demonstrated that the well-ordered trimers were efficiently recognized by bNAbs and poorly recognized by non-bNAbs, representing soluble mimics of the native viral spike. Biophysical characterization was consistent with the thermostability of a homogeneous species that could be further stabilized by specific bNAbs. This study revealed that Env trimers generate different frequencies of well-ordered versus disordered aberrant trimers even when they are genetically identical. By negatively selecting the native-like well-ordered trimers, we establish a new means to obtain soluble Env mimetics derived from subtypes B and C for expanded use as candidate vaccine immunogens.PLoS Pathogens 01/2015; 11(1):e1004570. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004570 · 8.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Protein-based vaccines require adjuvants to achieve optimal responses. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 agonists were previously shown to improve responses to protein-based vaccines, such as the Hepatitis B virus vaccine formulated in alum. Here, we used CpG-C together with the clinically relevant saponin-based adjuvant AbISCO-100/Matrix-M (AbISCO), to assess if TLR9 co-stimulation would quantitatively or qualitatively modulate HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env)-specific B and T cell responses in rhesus macaques. The macaques were inoculated with soluble Env trimers in AbISCO, with or without the addition of CpG-C, using an interval similar to the Hepatitis B virus vaccine. Following a comprehensive evaluation of antigen-specific responses in multiple immune compartments, we show that the Env-specific circulating IgG, memory B cells and plasma cells displayed similar kinetics and magnitude in the presence or absence of CpG-C and that there was no apparent difference between the two groups in the elicited HIV-1 neutralizing antibody titers or antigen-specific CD4+ T cell responses. Importantly, the control of SHIV viremia was significantly improved in animals from both Env-immunized groups relative to adjuvant alone controls, demonstrating the potential of AbISCO to act as a stand-alone adjuvant for Env-based vaccines.