[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although in decline after successful anti-HIV therapy, B-cell lymphomas are still elevated in HIV-1-seropositive (HIV+) persons, and the mechanisms are obscure. The HIV-1 matrix protein p17 persists in germinal centers long after HIV-1 drug suppression, and some p17 variants (vp17s) activate Akt signaling and promote growth of transformed B cells. Here we show that vp17s derived from four of five non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) tissues from HIV+ subjects display potent B-cell growth-promoting activity. They are characterized by amino acid insertions at position 117-118 (Ala-Ala) or 125-126 (Gly-Asn or Gly-Gln-Ala-Asn-Gln-Asn) among some other mutations throughout the sequence. Identical dominant vp17s are found in both tumor and plasma. Three of seven plasma samples from an independent set of NHL cases manifested multiple Ala insertions at position 117-118, and one with the Ala-Ala profile also promoted B-cell growth and activated Akt signaling. Ultradeep pyrosequencing showed that vp17s with C-terminal insertions are more frequently detected in plasma of HIV+ subjects with than without NHL. Insertion of Ala-Ala at position 117-118 into reference p17 (refp17) was sufficient to confer B-cell growth-promoting activity. In contrast, refp17 bearing the Gly-Asn insertion at position 125-126 did not, suggesting that mutations not restricted to the C terminus can also account for this activity. Biophysical analysis revealed that the Ala-Ala insertion mutant is destabilized compared with refp17, whereas the Gly-Asn form is stabilized. This finding provides an avenue for further exploration of structure function relationships and new treatment strategies in combating HIV-1-related NHL.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV necessitates host factors for successful completion of its life cycle. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a conserved serine/threonine kinase that forms two complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. Rapamycin is an allosteric inhibitor of mTOR that selectively inhibits mTORC1. Rapamycin interferes with viral entry of CCR5 (R5)-tropic HIV and with basal transcription of the HIV LTR, potently inhibiting replication of R5 HIV but not CXCR4 (X4)-tropic HIV in primary cells. The recently developed ATP-competitive mTOR kinase inhibitors (TOR-KIs) inhibit both mTORC1 and mTORC2. Using INK128 as a prototype TOR-KI, we demonstrate potent inhibition of both R5 and X4 HIV in primary lymphocytes (EC50 < 50 nM), in the absence of toxicity. INK128 inhibited R5 HIV entry by reducing CCR5 levels. INK128 also inhibited both basal and induced transcription of HIV genes, consistent with inhibition of mTORC2, whose activity is critical for phosphorylation of PKC isoforms and, in turn, induction of NF-κB. INK128 enhanced the antiviral potency of the CCR5 antagonist maraviroc, and had favorable antiviral interactions with HIV inhibitors of reverse transcriptase, integrase and protease. In humanized mice, INK128 decreased plasma HIV RNA by >2 log10 units and partially restored CD4/CD8 cell ratios. Targeting of cellular mTOR with INK128 (and perhaps others TOR-KIs) provides a potential strategy to inhibit HIV, especially in patients with drug resistant HIV strains.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A guiding principle for HIV vaccine design has been that cellular and humoral immunity work together to provide the strongest degree of efficacy. However, three efficacy trials of Ad5-vectored HIV vaccines showed no protection. Transmission was increased in two of the trials, suggesting that this vaccine strategy elicited CD4+ T-cell responses that provide more targets for infection, attenuating protection or increasing transmission. The degree to which this problem extends to other HIV vaccine candidates is not known. Here, we show that a gp120-CD4 chimeric subunit protein vaccine (full-length single chain) elicits heterologous protection against simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) or simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) acquisition in three independent rhesus macaque repeated low-dose rectal challenge studies with SHIV162P3 or SIVmac251. Protection against acquisition was observed with multiple formulations and challenges. In each study, protection correlated with antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity specific for CD4-induced epitopes, provided that the concurrent antivaccine T-cell responses were minimal. Protection was lost in instances when T-cell responses were high or when the requisite antibody titers had declined. Our studies suggest that balance between a protective antibody response and antigen-specific T-cell activation is the critical element to vaccine-mediated protection against HIV. Achieving and sustaining such a balance, while enhancing antibody durability, is the major challenge for HIV vaccine development, regardless of the immunogen or vaccine formulation.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To target the HIV CD4i envelope epitope, we primed rhesus macaques with replicating Ad-rhFLSC (HIV-1BaLgp120 linked to macaque CD4 D1 and D2), with or without Ad-SIVgag and Ad-SIVnef. Macaques were boosted with rhFLSC protein. Memory T-cells in PBMC, bronchoalveolar lavage and rectal tissue, antibodies with neutralizing and ADCC activity, and Env-specific secretory IgA in rectal secretions were elicited. Although protective neutralizing antibody levels were induced, SHIVSF162P4 acquisition following rectal challenge was not prevented. Rapid declines in serum ADCC activity, Env-specific memory B cells in PBMC and bone marrow, and systemic and mucosal memory T cells were observed immediately post-challenge together with delayed anamnestic responses. Innate immune signaling resulting from persisting Ad replication and the TLR-4 booster adjuvant may have been in conflict and reoriented adaptive immunity. A different adjuvant paired with replicating Ad, or a longer post-prime interval allowing vector clearance before boosting might foster persistent T- and B-cell memory.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The search for a prophylactic AIDS vaccine is ongoing but it is now clear that candidates capable of eliciting sustained, broadly reactive anti-envelope antibody responses are the only ones that provide a path toward success. Accordingly, intense efforts are underway to identify gp120-based immunogens that elicit such responses. However, regardless of the desired mechanism of antibody-mediated protection, be it neutralization, Fc-mediated effector function, or both; the poor durability of the anti-gp120 antibody response remains a major problem confronting the development of a successful AIDS vaccine. Overcoming this problem presents an unprecedented hurdle for vaccinologists, as any measure to enhance humoral durability must do so without generating CD4+ T cell responses that create excess cellular targets for HIV-1 and promote the spread of infection over and above the antiviral capacities of the antibody response. Our past experiences illustrating the poor persistence of antibody responses to HIV gp120 in nonhuman primate models will be presented. Considerations for solutions to the durability problem that are applicable to multiple gp120-based AIDS vaccines will be discussed.
No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The quest for a prophylactic AIDS vaccine is ongoing, but it is now clear that the successful vaccine must elicit protective antibody responses. Accordingly, intense efforts are underway to identify immunogens that elicit these responses. Regardless of the mechanism of antibody-mediated protection, be it neutralization, Fc-mediated effector function, or both, antibody persistence and appropriate T-cell help are significant problems confronting the development of a successful AIDS vaccine. Here, we discuss the evidence illustrating the poor persistence of antibody responses to Env, the envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1, and the related problem of CD4(+) T-cell responses that compromise vaccine efficacy by creating excess cellular targets of HIV-1 infection. Finally, we propose solutions to both problems that are applicable to all Env-based AIDS vaccines regardless of the mechanism of antibody-mediated protection.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and aims
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), together with nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO), belongs to a family of endogenous signaling mediators termed “gasotransmitters”. Recent studies suggest that H2S modulates many cellular processes and it has been recognized to play a central role in inflammation, in the cardiovascular and nervous systems. By infecting monocytes/macrophages with Mycoplasma fermentans (M.F.), a well-known pro-inflammatory agent, we evaluated the effects of H2S.
M.F.-infected cells were analyzed by ELISA and real time RT-PCR to detect the M.F. effects on MCP-1 and on MMP-12 expression. The role of two different H2S donors (NaHS and GYY4137) on MF-infected cells was determined by treating infected cells with H2S and then testing the culture supernatants for MCP-1 and on MMP-12 production by ELISA assay. In order to identify the pathway/s mediating H2S- anti-inflammatory activity, cells were also treated with specific pharmaceutical inhibitors. Cytoplasmic and nuclear accumulation of NF-κB heterodimers was analyzed.
We show that H2S was able to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokine MCP-1, that was induced in monocytes/macrophages during M.F. infection. Moreover, MCP-1 was induced by M.F. through Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation, as demonstrated by the fact that TLR inhibitors TIRAP and MyD88 and NF-κB inhibitor IKK were able to block the cytokine production. In contrast H2S treatment of M.F. infected macrophages reduced nuclear accumulation of NF-κB heterodimer p65/p52.
Our data demonstrate that under the present conditions H2S is effective in reducing Mycoplasma-induced inflammation by targeting the NF-κB pathway. This supports further studies for possible clinical applications.
Preview · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Translational Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Shortly after the discovery of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), two distinct variants, HHV-6A and HHV-6B, were identified. In 2012, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) classified HHV-6A and HHV-6B as separate viruses. This review outlines several of the documented epidemiological, biological, and immunological distinctions between HHV-6A and HHV-6B, which support the ICTV classification. The utilization of virus-specific clinical and laboratory assays for distinguishing HHV-6A and HHV-6B is now required for further classification. For clarity in biological and clinical distinctions between HHV-6A and HHV-6B, scientists and physicians are herein urged, where possible, to differentiate carefully between HHV-6A and HHV-6B in all future publications.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Archives of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type I (HIV-1) infection is associated with a high incidence of B-cell lymphomas. The role of HIV in these lymphomas is unclear and currently there are no valid in vivo models for better understanding HIV-related lymphomagenesis. Transgenic (Tg) 26 mice have a 7.4-kb pNL4-3 HIV-1 provirus lacking a 3.1-kb sequence encompassing parts of the gag-pol region. Approximately 15% of these HIV Tg mice spontaneously develop lymphoma with hallmark pre-diagnostic markers including skin lesions, diffuse lymphadenopathy and an increase in pro-inflammatory serum cytokines. Here we describe the phenotypic and molecular characteristics of the B cell leukemia/lymphoma in the Tg mice.
The transformed B cell population consists of CD19+pre-BCR+CD127+CD43+CD93+ precursor B cells. The tumor cells are clonal and characterized by an increased expression of several cellular oncogenes. Expression of B cell-stimulatory cytokines IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-13 and TNFalpha and HIV proteins p17, gp120 and nef were elevated in the Tg mice with lymphoma.
Increased expression of HIV proteins and the B-cell stimulatory factors is consistent with the interpretation that one or more of these factors play a role in lymphoma development. The lymphomas share many similarities with those occurring in HIV/AIDS+ patients and may provide a valuable model for understanding AIDS-related lymphomagenesis and elucidating the role played by HIV-1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent identification of large numbers of new broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against HIV-1 is leading a vaccine path based on their epitopes. However, majority of the newly identified bnAbs have apparent unusually high levels of mutation, which raises a high bar for a vaccine to generate this type of Ab response. Here we show by phylogenetic analysis that these highly mutated bnAbs cluster into two families of VH genes that are distant from known VH germline genes. It is recognized that the number of human Ab germline genes is not always the same due to genetic polymorphism. Our studies on diversity of VH germline genes also find that diversity of VH germline genes is common. These observations indicate that the diversity of Ab germline genes may limit the induction of these bnAbs at the population level. Here we describe a new potent bnAb, N60-B1.1 that neutralizes 40% of a panel of 118 tier 2,3 viruses with an average IC50 of 0.44 ug/ml. The neutralization pattern of N60-B1.1 is complementary to other bnAbs in that it potently neutralizes viruses that are more resistant to these other antibodies. This bnAb is encoded by VH4-39*07 that is somatically mutated 13.3% at the nucleotide level, which is within the normal somatic mutation rate for vaccine induced antibodies. It uses a single point mutated light chain of germline (CDRL3) VK3-15*01. Theoretically, the induction of "N60-B1.1-like" bnAb will not be limited by the somatic mutation bottleneck that is required for other bnAbs against HIV-1. Therefore, rational design of Env immunogens that preferentially expose "N60-B1.1-like" epitopes to elicit bnAb responses is a promising direction for the development of a protective HIV-1 vaccine.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anticytokine (AC) immune therapies derived from vaccine procedures aim at enhancing natural immune defense mechanisms ineffective to contain abnormally produced cytokines and counteract their pathogenic effects. Given their short half-life, cytokines, the production of which by effector immune cells (T and B lymphocytes, antigen-presenting cells (APCs), natural killer (NK) and endothelial cells) is inducible and controlled by negative feedback regulation, (1) exert locally their signaling to paracrine/autocrine target responder cells carrying high-affinity membrane receptors and (2) are commonly present at minimal concentration in the body fluid (lymph, serum). Aberrant signaling triggered by cytokines, uncontrolly released by effector immune cells or produced by cancer and other pathologic cells, contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic diseases including cancer, viral infections, allergy, and autoimmunity. To block these ectopic cytokine signaling and prevent their pathogenic effects, AC Abs supplied either by injections (passive AC immune therapy) or elicited by immunization with cytokine-derived immunogenes called Kinoids (active AC immune therapy) proved to be experimentally effective and safe. In this review, we detailed the rationale and the requirements for the use of AC immunotherapies in humans, the proof of efficacy of these medications in animal disease models, and their current clinical development and outcome, including adverse side effects they may generate. We particularly show that, to date, the benefit:risk ratio of AC immune therapies is highly positive.
No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Advances in Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) undergoes conformational transitions consequent to CD4 binding and coreceptor engagement during viral entry. The physical steps in this process are becoming defined, but less is known about their significance as targets of antibodies potentially protective against HIV-1 infection. Here we probe the functional significance of transitional epitope exposure by characterizing 41 human mAbs specific for epitopes exposed on trimeric Env after CD4 engagement. These mAbs recognize three epitope clusters: cluster A, the gp120 face occluded by gp41 in trimeric Env; cluster B, a region proximal to the coreceptor-binding site (CoRBS) and involving the V1/V2 domain; and cluster C, the coreceptor-binding site. The mAbs were evaluated functionally by antibody-dependent, cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) and for neutralization of Tiers 1 and 2 pseudoviruses. All three clusters included mAbs mediating ADCC. However, there was a strong potency bias for cluster A, which harbors at least three potent ADCC epitopes whose cognate mAbs have electropositive paratopes. Cluster A epitopes are functional ADCC targets during viral entry in an assay format using virion-sensitized target cells. In contrast, only cluster C contained epitopes that were recognized by neutralizing mAbs. There was significant diversity in breadth and potency that correlated with epitope fine specificity. In contrast, ADCC potency had no relationship with neutralization potency or breadth for any epitope cluster. Thus, Fc-mediated effector function and neutralization coselect with specificity in anti-Env antibody responses, but the nature of selection is distinct for these two antiviral activities.
No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences