[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Development of a vaccine for HIV-1 requires a detailed understanding of the neutralizing antibody responses that can be experimentally elicited to difficult-to-neutralize primary isolates. Rabbits were immunized with the gp120 subunit of HIV-1 JR-CSF envelope (Env) using a DNA-prime protein-boost regimen. We analyzed five sera that showed potent autologous neutralizing activity (IC50s at ∼10(3) to 10(4) serum dilution) against pseudoviruses containing Env from the primary isolate JR-CSF but not from the related isolate JR-FL. Pseudoviruses were created by exchanging each variable and constant domain of JR-CSF gp120 with that of JR-FL or with mutations in putative N-glycosylation sites. The sera contained different neutralizing activities dependent on C3 and V5, C3 and V4, or V4 regions located on the glycan-rich outer domain of gp120. All sera showed enhanced neutralizing activity toward an Env variant that lacked a glycosylation site in V4. The JR-CSF gp120 epitopes recognized by the sera are generally distinct from those of several well characterized mAbs (targeting conserved sites on Env) or other type-specific responses (targeting V1, V2, or V3 variable regions). The activity of one serum requires specific glycans that are also important for 2G12 neutralization and this serum blocked the binding of 2G12 to gp120. Our findings show that different fine specificities can achieve potent neutralization of HIV-1, yet this strong activity does not result in improved breadth.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e52732. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary isolates of HIV-1 resist neutralization by most antibodies to the CD4 binding site (CD4bs) on gp120 due to occlusion of this site on the trimeric spike. We describe 1F7, a human CD4bs monoclonal antibody that was found to be exceptionally potent against the HIV-1 primary isolate JR-FL. However, 1F7 failed to neutralize a patient-matched primary isolate, JR-CSF even though the two isolates differ by <10% in gp120 at the protein level. In an HIV-1 cross clade panel (n = 157), 1F7 exhibited moderate breadth, but occasionally achieved considerable potency. In binding experiments using monomeric gp120s of select resistant isolates and domain-swap chimeras between JR-FL and JR-CSF, recognition by 1F7 was limited by sequence polymorphisms involving at least the C2 region of Env. Putative N-linked glycosylation site (PNGS) mutations, notably at position 197, allowed 1F7 to neutralize JR-CSF potently without improving binding to the cognate, monomeric gp120. In contrast, flow cytometry experiments using the same PNGS mutants revealed that 1F7 binding is enhanced on cognate trimeric Env. BN-PAGE mobility shift experiments revealed that 1F7 is sensitive to the diagnostic mutation D368R in the CD4 binding loop of gp120. Our data on 1F7 reinforce how exquisitely targeted CD4bs antibodies must be to achieve cross neutralization of two closely related primary isolates. High-resolution analyses of trimeric Env that show the orientation of glycans and polymorphic elements of the CD4bs that affect binding to antibodies like 1F7 are desirable to understand how to promote immunogenicity of more conserved elements of the CD4bs.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e72054. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) spike is challenging to study at the molecular level, due in part to its genetic variability, structural heterogeneity and lability. However, the extent of lability in Env function, particularly for primary isolates across clades, has not been explored. Here, we probe stability of function for variant Envs of a range of isolates from chronic and acute infection, and from clades A, B and C, all on a constant virus backbone. Stability is elucidated in terms of the sensitivity of isolate infectivity to destabilizing conditions. A heat-gradient assay was used to determine T(90) values, the temperature at which HIV-1 infectivity is decreased by 90% in 1 h, which ranged between ∼40 to 49°C (n = 34). For select Envs (n = 10), the half-lives of infectivity decay at 37°C were also determined and these correlated significantly with the T(90) (p = 0.029), though two 'outliers' were identified. Specificity in functional Env stability was also evident. For example, Env variant HIV-1(ADA) was found to be labile to heat, 37°C decay, and guanidinium hydrochloride but not to urea or extremes of pH, when compared to its thermostable counterpart, HIV-1(JR-CSF). Blue native PAGE analyses revealed that Env-dependent viral inactivation preceded complete dissociation of Env trimers. The viral membrane and membrane-proximal external region (MPER) of gp41 were also shown to be important for maintaining trimer stability at physiological temperature. Overall, our results indicate that primary HIV-1 Envs can have diverse sensitivities to functional inactivation in vitro, including at physiological temperature, and suggest that parameters of functional Env stability may be helpful in the study and optimization of native Env mimetics and vaccines.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(6):e21339. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A prophylactic vaccine is needed to slow the spread of HIV-1 infection. Optimization of the wild-type envelope glycoproteins to create immunogens that can elicit effective neutralizing antibodies is a high priority. Starting with ten genes encoding subtype B HIV-1 gp120 envelope glycoproteins and using in vitro homologous DNA recombination, we created chimeric gp120 variants that were screened for their ability to bind neutralizing monoclonal antibodies. Hundreds of variants were identified with novel antigenic phenotypes that exhibit considerable sequence diversity. Immunization of rabbits with these gp120 variants demonstrated that the majority can induce neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1. One novel variant, called ST-008, induced significantly improved neutralizing antibody responses when assayed against a large panel of primary HIV-1 isolates. Further study of various deletion constructs of ST-008 showed that the enhanced immunogenicity results from a combination of effective DNA priming, an enhanced V3-based response, and an improved response to the constant backbone sequences.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(6):e20927. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The external domains of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (gp120 and the gp41 ectodomain, collectively known as gp140) contain all known viral neutralization epitopes. Various strategies have been used to create soluble trimers of the envelope to mimic the structure of the native viral protein, including mutation of the gp120-gp41 cleavage site, introduction of disulfide bonds, and fusion to heterologous trimerization motifs. We compared the effects on quaternary structure, antigenicity, and immunogenicity of three such motifs: T4 fibritin, a GCN4 variant, and the Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase catalytic subunit. Fusion of each motif to the C-terminus of a noncleavable JRCSF gp140(-) envelope protein led to enhanced trimerization but had limited effects on the antigenic profile and CD4-binding ability of the trimers. Immunization of rabbits provided no evidence that the trimerized gp140(-) constructs induced significantly improved neutralizing antibodies to several HIV-1 pseudoviruses, compared to gp140 lacking a trimerization motif. However, modest differences in both binding specificity and neutralizing antibody responses were observed among the various immunogens.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Specific proteolytic cleavage of the gp120 subunit of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoprotein in the third variable domain (V3) has previously been reported to occur in several cell lines, including Chinese hamster ovary cells that have been used for production of Env-based HIV vaccine candidates. Here we report that this proteolytic activity on JRCSF gp120 is dependent on cell density, medium conditions, and supernatant concentration. The resulting cleaved polypeptides cannot be separated from intact gp120 by conventional or affinity chromatography under non-reducing conditions. Inhibitor studies reveal that Pefabloc and benzamidine, but not chymostatin, block gp120 cleavage in a dose-dependent fashion, suggesting the presence of a trypsin-like serine protease in CHO-K1 cells. The proteolytic activity is increased with certain types of cell culture growth media. A combination of serum-free OptiMEM media during expression and potent protease inhibitors post-expression can effectively prevent HIV gp120 degradation. The same strategy can be applied to the expression and purification of gp120 of other strains or other forms of envelope-based vaccine candidates containing V3 sequences.
Protein Expression and Purification 07/2008; 59(2):223-31. · 1.43 Impact Factor