[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antibodies capable of neutralizing HIV-1 often target variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2) of the HIV-1 envelope, but the mechanism of their elicitation has been unclear. Here we define the developmental pathway by which such antibodies are generated and acquire the requisite molecular characteristics for neutralization. Twelve somatically related neutralizing antibodies (CAP256-VRC26.01-12) were isolated from donor CAP256 (from the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)); each antibody contained the protruding tyrosine-sulphated, anionic antigen-binding loop (complementarity-determining region (CDR) H3) characteristic of this category of antibodies. Their unmutated ancestor emerged between weeks 30-38 post-infection with a 35-residue CDR H3, and neutralized the virus that superinfected this individual 15 weeks after initial infection. Improved neutralization breadth and potency occurred by week 59 with modest affinity maturation, and was preceded by extensive diversification of the virus population. HIV-1 V1V2-directed neutralizing antibodies can thus develop relatively rapidly through initial selection of B cells with a long CDR H3, and limited subsequent somatic hypermutation. These data provide important insights relevant to HIV-1 vaccine development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of the epitopes targeted by antibodies that can neutralize diverse HIV-1 strains can provide important clues for the design of a preventative vaccine.
We have developed a computational approach that can identify key amino acids within the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein that influence sensitivity to broadly cross-neutralizing antibodies. Given a sequence alignment and neutralization titers for a panel of viruses, the method works by fitting a phylogenetic model that allows the amino acid frequencies at each site to depend on neutralization sensitivities. Sites at which viral evolution influences neutralization sensitivity were identified using Bayes factors (BFs) to compare the fit of this model to that of a null model in which sequences evolved independently of antibody sensitivity. Conformational epitopes were identified with a Metropolis algorithm that searched for a cluster of sites with large Bayes factors on the tertiary structure of the viral envelope.
We applied our method to ID50 neutralization data generated from seven HIV-1 subtype C serum samples with neutralization breadth that had been tested against a multi-clade panel of 225 pseudoviruses for which envelope sequences were also available. For each sample, between two and four sites were identified that were strongly associated with neutralization sensitivity (2ln(BF) > 6), a subset of which were experimentally confirmed using site-directed mutagenesis.
Our results provide strong support for the use of evolutionary models applied to cross-sectional viral neutralization data to identify the epitopes of serum antibodies that confer neutralization breadth.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the ability of HIV-1 subtype C to develop resistance to the inhibitory lectins, griffithsin (GRFT), cyanovirin-N (CV-N) and scytovirin (SVN), which bind multiple mannose-rich glycans on gp120. Four primary HIV-1 strains cultured under escalating concentrations of these lectins became increasingly resistant tolerating 2 to 12 times their 50% inhibitory concentrations. Sequence analysis of gp120 showed that most had deletions of 1 to 5 mannose-rich glycans. Glycosylation sites at positions 230, 234, 241, 289 located in the C2 region and 339, 392 and 448 in the C3-C4 region were affected. Furthermore, deletions and insertions of up to 5 amino acids in the V4 region were observed in 3 of the 4 isolates. These data suggest that loss of glycosylation sites on gp120 as well as rearrangement of glycans in V4 are mechanisms involved in HIV-1 subtype C escape from GRFT, CV-N and SVN.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Broadly cross-neutralizing (BCN) antibodies are likely to be critical for an effective HIV vaccine. However the ontogeny of such antibodies, and their relationship with autologous viral evolution is unclear. Here we characterized viral evolution in CAP256, a subtype C infected individual who developed potent BCN antibodies targeting R166 and K169 in the V2 region. CAP256 was superinfected at 3 months post-infection with a virus that was highly sensitive to BCN V2-dependent monoclonal antibodies. The autologous neutralizing response in CAP256 was directed at V1V2, reaching extremely high titers (>1:40,000) against the superinfecting virus, at 42 weeks, just 11 weeks prior to the development of the BCN response targeting the same region. Recombination between the primary and superinfecting viruses, especially in V2 and gp41, resulted in two distinct lineages by 4 years post-infection. Although neutralization of some CAP256 clones by plasma from as much as 2 years earlier suggested incomplete viral escape, nonetheless titers against later clones were reduced at least 40-fold to less than 1:1,000. Escape mutations were identified in each lineage, either at R166 or at K169, suggesting that strain-specific and BCN antibodies targeted overlapping epitopes. Furthermore, the early dependence of CAP256 neutralizing antibodies on the N160 glycan decreased with the onset of neutralization breadth, indicating a change in specificity. These data suggest rapid maturation, within 11 weeks, of CAP256 strain-specific antibodies to acquire breadth, with implications for the vaccine elicitation of BCN V2-dependent antibodies. Overall these studies demonstrate ongoing viral escape is possible, even from BCN antibodies.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutralizing antibodies are likely to play a crucial part in a preventative HIV-1 vaccine. Although efforts to elicit broadly cross-neutralizing (BCN) antibodies by vaccination have been unsuccessful, a minority of individuals naturally develop these antibodies after many years of infection. How such antibodies arise, and the role of viral evolution in shaping these responses, is unknown. Here we show, in two HIV-1-infected individuals who developed BCN antibodies targeting the glycan at Asn332 on the gp120 envelope, that this glycan was absent on the initial infecting virus. However, this BCN epitope evolved within 6 months, through immune escape from earlier strain-specific antibodies that resulted in a shift of a glycan to position 332. Both viruses that lacked the glycan at amino acid 332 were resistant to the Asn332-dependent BCN monoclonal antibody PGT128 (ref. 8), whereas escaped variants that acquired this glycan were sensitive. Analysis of large sequence and neutralization data sets showed the 332 glycan to be significantly under-represented in transmitted subtype C viruses compared to chronic viruses, with the absence of this glycan corresponding with resistance to PGT128. These findings highlight the dynamic interplay between early antibodies and viral escape in driving the evolution of conserved BCN antibody epitopes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The targets of broadly cross-neutralizing (BCN) antibodies are of great interest in the HIV vaccine field. We have identified a subtype C HIV-1-superinfected individual, CAP256, with high-level BCN activity, and characterized the antibody specificity mediating breadth. CAP256 developed potent BCN activity peaking at 3 years postinfection, neutralizing 32 (76%) of 42 heterologous viruses, with titers of antibodies against some viruses exceeding 1:10,000. CAP256 showed a subtype bias, preferentially neutralizing subtype C and A viruses over subtype B viruses. CAP256 BCN serum targeted a quaternary epitope which included the V1V2 region. Further mapping identified residues F159, N160, L165, R166, D167, K169, and K171 (forming the FN/LRD-K-K motif) in the V2 region as crucial to the CAP256 epitope. However, the fine specificity of the BCN response varied over time and, while consistently dependent on R166 and K169, became gradually less dependent on D167 and K171, possibly contributing to the incremental increase in breadth over 4 years. The presence of an intact FN/LRD-K-K motif in heterologous viruses was associated with sensitivity, although the length of the adjacent V1 loop modulated the degree of sensitivity, with a shorter V1 region significantly associated with higher titers. Repair of the FN/LRD-K-K motif in resistant heterologous viruses conferred sensitivity, with titers sometimes exceeding 1:10,000. Comparison of the CAP256 epitope with that of the PG9/PG16 monoclonal antibodies suggested that these epitopes overlapped, adding to the mounting evidence that this may represent a common neutralization target that should be further investigated as a potential vaccine candidate.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Virology