[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Consensus HIV-1 genes can decrease the genetic distances between candidate immunogens and field virus strains. To ensure the functionality and optimal presentation of immunologic epitopes, we generated two group-M consensus env genes that contain variable regions either from a wild-type B/C recombinant virus isolate (CON6) or minimal consensus elements (CON-S) in the V1, V2, V4, and V5 regions. C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice were primed twice with CON6, CON-S, and subtype control (92UG37_A and HXB2/Bal_B) DNA and boosted with recombinant vaccinia virus (rVV). Mean antibody titers against 92UG37_A, 89.6_B, 96ZM651_C, CON6, and CON-S Env protein were determined. Both CON6 and CON-S induced higher mean antibody titers against several of the proteins, as compared with the subtype controls. However, no significant differences were found in mean antibody titers in animals immunized with CON6 or CON-S. Cellular immune responses were measured by using five complete Env overlapping peptide sets: subtype A (92UG37_A), subtype B (MN_B, 89.6_B and SF162_B), and subtype C (Chn19_C). The intensity of the induced cellular responses was measured by using pooled Env peptides; T-cell epitopes were identified by using matrix peptide pools and individual peptides. No significant differences in T-cell immune-response intensities were noted between CON6 and CON-S immunized BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. In BALB/c mice, 10 and eight nonoverlapping T-cell epitopes were identified in CON6 and CON-S, whereas eight epitopes were identified in 92UG37_A and HXB2/BAL_B. In C57BL/6 mice, nine and six nonoverlapping T-cell epitopes were identified after immunization with CON6 and CON-S, respectively, whereas only four and three were identified in 92UG37_A and HXB2/BAL_B, respectively. When combined together from both mouse strains, 18 epitopes were identified. The group M artificial consensus env genes, CON6 and CON-S, were equally immunogenic in breadth and intensity for inducing humoral and cellular immune responses.
AIDS research and human retroviruses 05/2010; 26(5):577-84. DOI:10.1089/aid.2009.0258 · 2.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two neutralizing human mAbs, 2F5 and 4E10, that react with the HIV-1 envelope gp41 membrane proximal region are also polyspecific autoantibodies that bind to anionic phospholipids. To determine the autoantibody nature of these Abs, we have compared their reactivities with human anti-cardiolipin mAbs derived from a primary antiphospholipid syndrome patient. To define the role of lipid polyreactivity in binding of 2F5 and 4E10 mAbs to HIV-1 envelope membrane proximal epitopes, we determined the kinetics of binding of mAbs 2F5 and 4E10 to their nominal gp41 epitopes vs liposome-gp41 peptide conjugates. Both anti-HIV-1 mAbs 2F5 and 4E10 bound to cardiolipin with K(d) values similar to those of autoimmune anti-cardiolipin Abs, IS4 and IS6. Binding kinetics studies revealed that mAb 2F5 and 4E10 binding to their respective gp41 peptide-lipid conjugates could best be defined by a two-step (encounter-docking) conformational change model. In contrast, binding of 2F5 and 4E10 mAbs to linear peptide epitopes followed a simple Langmuir model. A mouse mAb, 13H11, that cross-blocks mAb 2F5 binding to the gp41 epitope did not cross-react with lipids nor did it neutralize HIV-1 viruses. Taken together, these data demonstrate the similarity of 2F5 and 4E10 mAbs to known anti-cardiolipin Abs and support the model that mAb 2F5 and 4E10 binding to HIV-1 involves both viral lipid membrane and gp41 membrane proximal epitopes.
The Journal of Immunology 05/2007; 178(7):4424-35. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.178.7.4424 · 5.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-1 subtype C is the most common HIV-1 group M subtype in Africa and many parts of Asia. However, to date HIV-1 vaccine candidate immunogens have not induced potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies against subtype C primary isolates. We have used a centralized gene strategy to address HIV-1 diversity and generated a group M consensus envelope gene with shortened consensus variable loops (CON-S) for comparative studies with wild-type (WT) Env immunogens. Our results indicate that the consensus HIV-1 group M CON-S Env elicited cross-subtype neutralizing antibodies of similar or greater breadth and titer than the WT Envs tested, indicating the utility of a centralized gene strategy. Our study also shows the feasibility of iterative improvements in Env immunogenicity by rational design of centralized genes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic diversity among globally circulating human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strains is a serious challenge for HIV-1 vaccine design. We have generated a synthetic group M consensus env gene (CON6) for induction of cross-subtype immune responses and report here a comparative study of T-cell responses to this and natural strain env immunogens in a murine model. Three different strains of mice were immunized with CON6 as well as subtype A, B, or C env immunogens, using a DNA prime-recombinant vaccinia virus boost strategy. T-cell epitopes were mapped by gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunospot analysis using five overlapping Env peptide sets from heterologous subtype A, B, and C viruses. The CON6-derived vaccine was immunogenic and induced a greater number of T-cell epitope responses than any single wild-type subtype A, B, and C env immunogen and similar T-cell responses to a polyvalent vaccine. The responses were comparable to within-clade responses but significantly more than between-clade responses. The magnitude of the T-cell responses induced by CON6 (measured by individual epitope peptides) was also greater than the magnitude of responses induced by individual wild-type env immunogens. Though the limited major histocompatibility complex repertoire in inbred mice does not necessarily predict responses in nonhuman primates and humans, these results suggest that synthetic centralized env immunogens represent a promising approach for HIV-1 vaccine design that merits further characterization.
Journal of Virology 08/2006; 80(14):6745-56. DOI:10.1128/JVI.02484-05 · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Worldwide HIV-1 vaccine efforts are guided by the principle that HIV-specific T cell responses may provide protection from infection or delay overt disease. However, no clear correlates of T cell-mediated immune protection have been identified. Here, we examine in a HLA-B27(+) HIV seronegative vaccinee persistent HIV-specific vaccine-induced anti-Gag CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses. Although these responses exhibited those characteristics (multifunctionality, appropriate memory phenotype, and targeting of epitopes associated with long-term nonprogression) predicted to correlate with protection from infection, the subject became HIV infected. After HIV infection, the vaccine-induced CD8(+) T cells expanded, but both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses acquired the functional and phenotypic patterns characteristic of chronic HIV infection. The virus quickly escaped the vaccine-induced T cell response, and the subject progressed more rapidly than expected for someone expressing the HLA-B27 allele. These data suggest that control of HIV by vaccine-elicited HIV-specific T cell responses may be difficult, even when the T cell response has those characteristics predicted to provide optimal protection.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2005; 102(12):4512-7. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0408773102 · 9.81 Impact Factor