[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The HIV-1 broadly neutralizing Ab (bnAb) 2F5 has been shown to be poly-/self-reactive in vitro, and we previously demonstrated that targeted expression of its VDJ rearrangement alone was sufficient to trigger a profound B cell developmental blockade in 2F5 V(H) knockin (KI) mice, consistent with central deletion of 2F5 H chain-expressing B cells. In this study, we generate a strain expressing the entire 2F5 bnAb specificity, 2F5 V(H) × V(L) KI mice, and find an even higher degree of tolerance control than observed in the 2F5 V(H) KI strain. Although B cell development was severely impaired in 2F5 V(H) × V(L) KI animals, we demonstrate rescue of their B cells when cultured in IL-7/BAFF. Intriguingly, even under these conditions, most rescued B cell hybridomas produced mAbs that lacked HIV-1 Envelope (Env) reactivity due to editing of the 2F5 L chain, and the majority of rescued B cells retained an anergic phenotype. Thus, when clonal deletion is circumvented, κ editing and anergy are additional safeguards preventing 2F5 V(H)/V(L) expression by immature/transitional B cells. Importantly, 7% of rescued B cells retained 2F5 V(H)/V(L) expression and secreted Env-specific mAbs with HIV-1-neutralizing activity. This partial rescue was further corroborated in vivo, as reflected by the anergic phenotype of most rescued B cells in 2F5 V(H) × V(L) KI × Eμ-Bcl-2 transgenic mice and significant (yet modest) enrichment of Env-specific B cells and serum Igs. The rescued 2F5 mAb-producing B cell clones in this study are the first examples, to our knowledge, of in vivo-derived bone marrow precursors specifying HIV-1 bnAbs and provide a starting point for design of strategies aimed at rescuing such B cells.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · The Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The membrane proximal external region (MPER) of HIV-1 gp41 has several features that make it an attractive antibody-based vaccine target, but eliciting an effective gp41 MPER-specific protective antibody response remains elusive. One fundamental issue is whether the failure to make gp41 MPER-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies like 2F5 and 4E10 is due to structural constraints with the gp41 MPER, or alternatively, if gp41 MPER epitope-specific B cells are lost to immunological tolerance. An equally important question is how B cells interact with, and respond to, the gp41 MPER epitope, including whether they engage this epitope in a non-canonical manner i.e., by non-paratopic recognition via B cell receptors (BCR). To begin understanding how B cells engage the gp41 MPER, we characterized B cell-gp41 MPER interactions in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. Surprisingly, we found that a significant (approximately 7%) fraction of splenic B cells from BALB/c, but not C57BL/6 mice, bound the gp41 MPER via their BCRs. This strain-specific binding was concentrated in IgM(hi) subsets, including marginal zone and peritoneal B1 B cells, and correlated with enriched fractions (approximately 15%) of gp41 MPER-specific IgM secreted by in vitro-activated splenic B cells. Analysis of Igh(a) (BALB/c) and Igh(b) (C57BL/6) congenic mice demonstrated that gp41 MPER binding was controlled by determinants of the Igh(a) locus. Mapping of MPER gp41 interactions with IgM(a) identified MPER residues distinct from those to which mAb 2F5 binds and demonstrated the requirement of Fc C(H) regions. Importantly, gp41 MPER ligation produced detectable BCR-proximal signaling events, suggesting that interactions between gp41 MPER and IgM(a) determinants may elicit partial B cell activation. These data suggest that low avidity, non-paratopic interactions between the gp41 MPER and membrane Ig on naïve B cells may interfere with or divert bnAb responses.