[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Env) and Env-based immunogens usually do not interact efficiently with the inferred germline precursors of known broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). This deficiency may be one reason why Env and Env-based immunogens are not efficient at inducing bNAbs. We evaluated the binding of 15 inferred germline precursors of bNAbs directed to different epitope clusters to three soluble native-like SOSIP.664 Env trimers. We found that native-like SOSIP.664 trimers bind to some inferred germline precursors of bNAbs, particularly ones involving the V1/V2 loops at the apex of the trimer. The data imply that native-like SOSIP.664 trimers will be an appropriate platform for structure-guided design improvements intended to create immunogens able to target the germline precursors of bNAbs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The CD4 binding site (CD4bs) on the envelope glycoprotein is a major site of vulnerability that is conserved among different HIV-1 isolates. Many broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to the CD4bs belong to the VRC01 class, sharing highly restricted origins, recognition mechanisms and viral escape pathways. We sought to isolate new anti-CD4bs bNAbs with different origins and mechanisms of action. Using a gp120 2CC core as bait, we isolated antibodies encoded by IGVH3-21 and IGVL3-1 genes with long CDRH3s that depend on the presence of the N-linked glycan at position-276 for activity. This binding mode is similar to the previously identified antibody HJ16, however the new antibodies identified herein are more potent and broad. The most potent variant, 179NC75, had a geometric mean IC80 value of 0.42 μg/ml against 120 Tier-2 HIV-1 pseudoviruses in the TZM.bl assay. Although this group of CD4bs glycan-dependent antibodies can be broadly and potently neutralizing in vitro, their in vivo activity has not been tested to date. Here, we report that 179NC75 is highly active when administered to HIV-1-infected humanized mice, where it selects for escape variants that lack a glycan site at position-276. The same glycan was absent from the virus isolated from the 179NC75 donor, implying that the antibody also exerts selection pressure in humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Generation of a stable, soluble mimic of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimer on the virion surface has been considered an important first step for developing a successful HIV-1 vaccine. Recently, a soluble native-like Env trimer (BG505 SOSIP.664) has been described. This protein has facilitated major advances in the HIV-1 vaccine field, since it was the first Env immunogen that induced consistent neutralizing antibodies against a neutralization-resistant (tier 2) virus. Moreover, BG505 SOSIP.664 enabled elucidation of the atomic resolution structure of the Env trimer and facilitated the isolation and characterization of new broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV-1. Here, we designed and characterized the BG505 SOSIP.664 trimer fused to fluorescent superfolder GFP (sfGFP), a GFP variant that allows efficient folding (BG505 SOSIP.664-sfGFP). Despite the presence of the sfGFP, the Env protein largely retained its morphology, antigenicity, glycan composition, and thermostability. In addition, we show that BG505 SOSIP.664-sfGFP can be used for fluorescence-based assays, such as flow cytometry.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance:
The development of a vaccine to induce protective antibodies against HIV-1 is of primary public health importance. Recent advances in immunogen design have provided soluble recombinant envelope glycoprotein trimers with near-native morphology and antigenicity. However these trimers are conformationally flexible, potentially reducing B cell recognition of neutralizing antibody epitopes. Here we show that chemical cross-linking increases trimer stability, reducing binding of non-neutralizing antibodies whilst largely maintaining neutralizing antibody binding. Cross-linking followed by positive or negative antibody-affinity selection of individual stable conformational variants further improved the antigenic and morphological characteristics of the trimers. This approach may be generally applicable to HIV-1 Env and also to other conformationally flexible pathogen antigens.
Journal of Virology 10/2015; DOI:10.1128/JVI.01942-15 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The HIV-1 envelope gp160 glycoprotein (Env) is a trimer of gp120 and gp41 heterodimers that mediates cell entry and is the primary target of the humoral immune response. Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to HIV-1 have revealed multiple epitopes or sites of vulnerability, but mapping of most of these sites is incomplete owing to a paucity of structural information on the full epitope in the context of the Env trimer. Here, a crystal structure of the soluble BG505 SOSIP gp140 trimer at 4.6 Å resolution with the bNAbs 8ANC195 and PGT128 reveals additional interactions in comparison to previous antibody–gp120 structures. For 8ANC195, in addition to previously documented interactions with gp120, a substantial interface with gp41 is now elucidated that includes extensive interactions with the N637 glycan. Surprisingly, removal of the N637 glycan did not impact 8ANC195 affinity, suggesting that the antibody has evolved to accommodate this glycan without loss of binding energy. PGT128 indirectly affects the N262 glycan by a domino effect, in which PGT128 binds to the N301 glycan, which in turn interacts with and repositions the N262 glycan, thereby illustrating the important role of neighboring glycans on epitope conformation and stability. Comparisons with other Env trimer and gp120 structures support an induced conformation for glycan N262, suggesting that the glycan shield is allosterically modified upon PGT128 binding. These complete epitopes of two broadly neutralizing antibodies on the Env trimer can now be exploited for HIV-1 vaccine design.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Presenting vaccine antigens in particulate form can improve their immunogenicity by enhancing B cell activation.
We describe ferritin-based protein nanoparticles that display multiple copies of native-like HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein trimers (BG505 SOSIP.664). Trimer-bearing nanoparticles were significantly more immunogenic than trimers in both mice and rabbits. Furthermore, rabbits immunized with the trimer-bearing nanoparticles induced significantly higher neutralizing antibody responses against most tier 1A viruses, and higher responses (but not significantly), to several tier 1B viruses and the autologous tier 2 virus than when the same trimers were delivered as soluble proteins.
This or other nanoparticle designs may be practical ways to improve the immunogenicity of envelope glycoprotein trimers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recent identification of three broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against gp120-gp41 interface epitopes has expanded the targetable surface on the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimer. By using biochemical, biophysical and computational methods, we map the previously unknown trimer epitopes of two related antibodies, 3BC315 and 3BC176. A cryo-EM reconstruction of a soluble Env trimer bound to 3BC315 Fab at 9.3 resolution reveals that the antibody binds between two gp41 protomers, and neutralizes the virus by accelerating trimer decay. In contrast, bnAb 35O22 binding to a partially overlapping quaternary epitope at the gp120-gp41 interface does not induce decay. A conserved gp41-proximal glycan at N88 was also shown to play a role in the binding kinetics of 3BC176 and 3BC315. Finally, our data suggest that the dynamic structure of the Env trimer influences exposure of bnAb epitopes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A key challenge in the quest toward an HIV-1 vaccine is design of immunogens that can generate a broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) response against the enormous sequence diversity of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env). We previously demonstrated that a recombinant, soluble, fully cleaved SOSIP.664 trimer based on the clade A BG505 sequence is a faithful antigenic and structural mimic of the native trimer in its prefusion conformation. Here, we sought clade C native-like trimers with comparable properties. We identified DU422 and ZM197M SOSIP.664 trimers as being appropriately thermostable (Tm of 63.4 °C and 62.7 °C, respectively) and predominantly native-like, as determined by negative-stain electron microscopy (EM). Size exclusion chromatography, ELISA, and surface plasmon resonance further showed that these trimers properly display epitopes for all of the major bnAb classes, including quaternary-dependent, trimer-apex (e.g., PGT145) and gp120/gp41 interface (e.g., PGT151) epitopes. A cryo-EM reconstruction of the ZM197M SOSIP.664 trimer complexed with VRC01 Fab against the CD4 binding site at subnanometer resolution revealed a striking overall similarity to its BG505 counterpart with expected local conformational differences in the gp120 V1, V2, and V4 loops. These stable clade C trimers contribute additional diversity to the pool of native-like Env immunogens as key components of strategies to induce bnAbs to HIV-1.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2015; 112(38). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1507793112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ab-neutralized HIV-1 can be captured by dendritic cells (DCs), which subsequently transfer infectious HIV-1 to susceptible CD4(+) T cells. In this study, we examined the capacity of early Abs, as well as recently identified broadly neutralizing Abs (bNAbs) targeting different envelope glycoprotein (Env) epitopes, to block HIV-1 transmission by immature and mature DCs to HIV-1-sensitive cells. Three bNAbs directed against the gp41 membrane proximal region of Env (2F5, 4E10, and 10E8) and three gp120 bNAbs targeting the CD4 binding site (b12, VRC01, and NIH45-46) were examined. In addition, eight glycan-dependent bNAbs targeting the V1V2 apex (PG9, PG16, and PGT145), the V3 loop (2G12, PGT121, and PGT128), and the gp120-gp41 interface of Env (PGT151 and 35O22) were tested. bNAbs that bound specific glycans showed, depending on the immature or mature state of the DC, diverse efficiencies in HIV-1 trans-infection. All bNAbs that bound the CD4 binding site blocked trans-infection, whereas all bNAbs directed against the membrane proximal region lost neutralizing activity after DC-mediated HIV-1 transmission. To understand how preneutralized HIV-1 can be transferred as infectious virus by DCs, we followed the processing of 2F5-treated HIV-1 by DCs with confocal microscopy. Inhibition of DC-internalization pathways could not reverse the dissociation of 2F5 from HIV-1, suggesting that Ab dissociation occurs directly at the plasma membrane. Collectively, these findings imply that the location of the epitope and the neutralization capacity of these Abs determine the efficiency of DC-mediated HIV-1 transfer.
The Journal of Immunology 09/2015; 195(8). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1402344 · 4.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance:
Soluble, recombinant multimeric proteins based on the HIV-1 env gene are current candidate immunogens for vaccine trials in humans. These proteins are generally designed to mimic the native trimeric envelope glycoprotein (Env) that is the target of virus-neutralizing antibodies on the surface of virions. The underlying hypothesis is that an Env-mimetic protein may be able to induce antibodies that can neutralize the virus broadly and potently enough for a vaccine to be protective. Multiple different designs for Env-mimetic trimers have been put forth. Here, we used the CZA97.012 and UG92037.8 env genes to compare some of these designs and determine which ones best mimic virus-associated Env trimers. We conclude that the most widely used versions of CZA97.012 and UG92037.8 oligomeric Env proteins do not resemble the trimeric Env glycoprotein on HIV-1 viruses, which has implications for the design and interpretation of ongoing or proposed clinical trials of these proteins.
Journal of Virology 08/2015; DOI:10.1128/JVI.01768-15 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance:
Human HIV vaccine efficacy trials have not generated meaningful neutralizing antibodies to circulating HIV strains. One possible hindrance has been the lack of immunogens that properly mimic the native conformation of the HIV envelope trimer protein. Here, we tested the first generation of soluble, native-like envelope trimer immunogens in a conventional mouse model. We attempted to generate neutralizing antibodies to neutralization-resistant circulating HIV strains. Various vaccine strategies could not induce neutralizing antibodies to a neutralization-resistant HIV strain. Further analysis revealed that mouse antibodies targeted areas near the bottom of the soluble envelope trimers. These areas are not easily accessible on the HIV virion due to occlusion by the viral membrane and may have resulted from an absence of a glycan shielding. Our results suggest that obscuring the bottom of soluble envelope trimers may be useful strategy to reduce antibody responses to epitopes that are not useful for virus neutralization.
Journal of Virology 08/2015; 89(20). DOI:10.1128/JVI.01653-15 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The broadly neutralizing HIV monoclonal antibodies (bnMAbs) PG9, PG16, PGT151, and PGT152 have been shown earlier to occasionally display an unusual virus neutralization profile with a non-sigmoidal slope and a plateau at <100% neutralization. In the current study, we were interested in determining the extent of non-sigmoidal slopes and plateaus at <100% for HIV bnMAbs more generally. Using both a 278 panel of pseudoviruses in a CD4 T-cell (U87.CCR5.CXCR4) assay and a panel of 117 viruses in the TZM-bl assay, we found that bnMAbs targeting many neutralizing epitopes of the spike had neutralization profiles for at least one virus that plateaued at <90%. Across both panels the bnMAbs targeting the V2 apex of Env and gp41 were most likely to show neutralization curves that plateaued <100%. Conversely, bnMAbs targeting the high-mannose patch epitopes were less likely to show such behavior. Two CD4 binding site (CD4bs) Abs also showed this behavior relatively infrequently. The phenomenon of incomplete neutralization was also observed in a large peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC)-grown molecular virus clone panel derived from patient viral swarms. In addition, five bnMAbs were compared against an 18-virus panel of molecular clones produced in 293T cells and PBMCs and assayed in TZM-bl cells. Examples of plateaus <90% were seen with both types of virus production with no consistent patterns observed. In conclusion, incomplete neutralization and non-sigmoidal neutralization curves are possible for all HIV bnMAbs against a wide range of viruses produced and assayed in both cell lines and primary cells with implications for the use of antibodies in therapy and as tools for vaccine design.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We used dynamic light scattering to detect aggregation of HIV-1 virions by antibodies (IgG) to the viral envelope glycoprotein (Env). Virions of different strains were inactivated by 2,2'-dithiodipyridine (AT-2), a procedure that abrogates infectivity but preserves the native antigenic structure of Env. Neutralizing antibodies directed to a V3-base- and glycan-dependent epitope on gp120 and to the apex of the Env trimer, as well as non-neutralizing antibodies to the epitope cluster I on the gp41-ectodomain, aggregated virions, but in markedly narrow concentration ranges. In contrast, the neutralizing antibody 2G12, which is specific for a composite glycan-dependent epitope on gp120 and functionally monovalent because of its unusual domain-swap structure, was non-aggregating. These results have potentially complex implications for vaccine development.
AIDS research and human retroviruses 06/2015; 31(11). DOI:10.1089/AID.2015.0050 · 2.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
When HIV-1 vaccine candidates that include soluble envelope glycoproteins (Env) are tested in humans and other species, the resulting antibody responses to Env are sifted for correlates of protection or risk. One frequently used assay measures the reduction in antibody binding to Env antigens by an added chaotrope (such as thiocyanate). Based on that assay, an avidity index was devised for assessing the affinity maturation of antibodies of unknown concentration in polyclonal sera. Since a high avidity index was linked to protection in animal models of HIV-1 infection, it has become a criterion for evaluating antibody responses to vaccine candidates. But what does the assay measure and what does an avidity index mean? Here, we have used a panel of monoclonal antibodies to well-defined epitopes on Env (gp120, gp41, and SOSIP.664 trimers) to explore how the chaotrope acts. We conclude that the chaotrope sensitivity of antibody binding to Env depends on several properties of the epitopes (continuity versus tertiary- and quaternary-structural dependence) and that the avidity index has no simple relationship to antibody affinity for functional Env spikes on virions. We show that the binding of broadly neutralizing antibodies against quaternary-structural epitopes is particularly sensitive to chaotrope treatment, whereas antibody binding to epitopes in variable loops and to nonneutralization epitopes in gp41 is generally resistant. As a result of such biases, the avidity index may at best be a mere surrogate for undefined antibody or other immune responses that correlate weakly with protection.
An effective HIV-1 vaccine is an important goal. Such a vaccine will probably need to induce antibodies that neutralize typically transmitted variants of HIV-1, preventing them from infecting target cells. Vaccine candidates have so far failed to induce such antibody responses, although some do protect weakly against infection in animals and, possibly, humans. In the search for responses associated with protection, an avidity assay based on chemical disruption is often used to measure the strength of antibody binding. We have analyzed this assay mechanistically and found that the epitope specificity of an antibody has a greater influence on the outcome than does its affinity. As a result, the avidity assay is biased toward the detection of some antibody specificities while disfavoring others. We conclude that the assay may yield merely indirect correlations with weak protection, specifically when Env vaccination has failed to induce broad neutralizing responses.
Journal of Virology 03/2015; 89(11). DOI:10.1128/JVI.00320-15 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antibodies with the ability to block the interaction of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env)
gp120 with CD4, including those overlapping the CD4 binding site (CD4bs antibodies), can
protect from infection by HIV-1, and their elicitation may be an interesting goal for any vaccination
strategy. To identify gp120/CD4 blocking antibodies in plasma samples from HIV-1
infected individuals we have developed a competitive flow cytometry-based functional
assay. In a cohort of treatment-naïve chronically infected patients, we showed that gp120/
CD4 blocking antibodies were frequently elicited (detected in 97% plasma samples) and
correlated with binding to trimeric HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins. However, no correlation
was observed between functional CD4 binding blockade data and titer of CD4bs antibodies
determined by ELISA using resurfaced gp120 proteins. Consistently, plasma samples lacking
CD4bs antibodies were able to block the interaction between gp120 and its receptor, indicating
that antibodies recognizing other epitopes, such as PGT126 and PG16, can also
play the same role. Antibodies blocking CD4 binding increased over time and correlated
positively with the capacity of plasma samples to neutralize the laboratory-adapted NL4.3
and BaL virus isolates, suggesting their potential contribution to the neutralizing workforce
of plasma in vivo. Determining whether this response can be boosted to achieve broadly
neutralizing antibodies may provide valuable information for the design of new strategies
aimed to improve the anti-HIV-1 humoral response and to develop a successful HIV-
PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0120648. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0120648 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bodily secretions, including breast milk and semen, contain factors that modulate HIV-1 infection. Since anal intercourse caries one of the highest risks for HIV-1 transmission, our aim was to determine whether colorectal mucus (CM) also contains factors interfering with HIV-1 infection and replication. CM from a number of individuals was collected and tested for the capacity to bind DC-SIGN and inhibit HIV-1 cis- or trans -infection of CD4+ T-lymphocytes. To this end, a DC-SIGN binding ELISA, a gp140 trimer competition ELISA and HIV-1 capture/ transfer assays were utilized. Subsequently we aimed to identify the DC-SIGN binding component through biochemical characterization and mass spectrometry analysis. CM was shown to bind DC-SIGN and competes with HIV-1 gp140 trimer for binding. Pre-incubation of Raji-DC-SIGN cells or immature dendritic cells (iDCs) with CM potently inhibits DC-SIGN mediated trans -infection of CD4+ T-lymphocytes with CCR5 and CXCR4 using HIV-1 strains, while no effect on direct infection is observed. Preliminary biochemical characterization demonstrates that the component seems to be large (> 100kDa), heat and proteinase K resistant, binds in a α1-3 mannose independent manner and is highly variant between individuals. Immunoprecipitation using DC-SIGN-Fc coated agarose beads followed by mass spectrometry indicated lactoferrin (fragments) and its receptor (intelectin-1) as candidates. Using ELISA we showed that lactoferrin levels within CM correlate with DCSIGN binding capacity. In conclusion, CM can bind the C-type lectin DC-SIGN and block HIV-1 trans -infection of both CCR5 and CXCR4 using HIV-1 strains. Furthermore, our data indicate that lactoferrin is a DC-SIGN binding component of CM. These results indicate that CM has the potential to interfere with pathogen transmission and modulate immune responses at the colorectal mucosa.
PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0122020. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0122020 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Latent HIV type I (HIV-1) infections can frequently occur in short-lived proliferating effector T-lymphocytes. These latently infected cells could revert into resting T-lymphocytes and thereby contribute to the establishment of the long-lived viral reservoir. Monocyte-derived dendritic cells can revert latency in effector T-cells in vitro.
Here we investigated the latency activation properties of tissue-specific immune cells, including a large panel of dendritic cell subsets, to explore in which body compartments effector T-cells are most likely to maintain latent HIV-1 provirus and thus potentially contribute to the long-lived reservoir.
Our results demonstrate that blood or genital tract dendritic cells do not activate latent provirus in effector T-cells, whereas gut or lymphoid dendritic cells induce virus production from latently infected effector T-cells in our in-vitro model for latency. Toll-like receptor 3-induced interferon production by myeloid dendritic cells abolished the dendritic cells' ability to induce viral gene expression.
In this study, we show that HIV-1 provirus residing in the effector T-cells is activated from latency by tissue-specific dendritic cell subsets and other immune cells with remarkably different efficiencies.Our new assay system points to an important, neglected aspect of HIV-1 research: the ability of other immune cells, especially dendritic cells, to differentially affect latency establishment as well as virus reactivation.
AIDS (London, England) 03/2015; 29(9). DOI:10.1097/QAD.0000000000000637 · 5.55 Impact Factor