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Crooks E.T.,San Diego Biomedical Research Institute | Tong T.,San Diego Biomedical Research Institute | Chakrabarti B.,Scripps Research Institute | Chakrabarti B.,Translational Health Science and Technology Institute | And 26 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2015

Eliciting broad tier 2 neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) is a major goal of HIV-1 vaccine research. Here we investigated the ability of native, membrane-expressed JR-FL Env trimers to elicit nAbs. Unusually potent nAb titers developed in 2 of 8 rabbits immunized with virus-like particles (VLPs) expressing trimers (trimer VLP sera) and in 1 of 20 rabbits immunized with DNA expressing native Env trimer, followed by a protein boost (DNA trimer sera). All 3 sera neutralized via quaternary epitopes and exploited natural gaps in the glycan defenses of the second conserved region of JR-FL gp120. Specifically, trimer VLP sera took advantage of the unusual absence of a glycan at residue 197 (present in 98.7% of Envs). Intriguingly, removing the N197 glycan (with no loss of tier 2 phenotype) rendered 50% or 16.7% (n = 18) of clade B tier 2 isolates sensitive to the two trimer VLP sera, showing broad neutralization via the surface masked by the N197 glycan. Neutralizing sera targeted epitopes that overlap with the CD4 binding site, consistent with the role of the N197 glycan in a putative “glycan fence” that limits access to this region. A bioinformatics analysis suggested shared features of one of the trimer VLP sera and monoclonal antibody PG9, consistent with its trimer-dependency. The neutralizing DNA trimer serum took advantage of the absence of a glycan at residue 230, also proximal to the CD4 binding site and suggesting an epitope similar to that of monoclonal antibody 8ANC195, albeit lacking tier 2 breadth. Taken together, our data show for the first time that strain-specific holes in the glycan fence can allow the development of tier 2 neutralizing antibodies to native spikes. Moreover, cross-neutralization can occur in the absence of protecting glycan. Overall, our observations provide new insights that may inform the future development of a neutralizing antibody vaccine.


Vojnov L.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Bean A.T.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Peterson E.J.,Wisconsin National Primate Research Center | Chiuchiolo M.J.,Design and Development Laboratory | And 10 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2011

The goals of a T cell-based vaccine for HIV are to reduce viral peak and setpoint and prevent transmission. While it has been relatively straightforward to induce CD8 + T cell responses against immunodominant T cell epitopes, it has been more difficult to broaden the vaccine-induced CD8 + T cell response against subdominant T cell epitopes. Additionally, vaccine regimens to induce CD4 + T cell responses have been studied only in limited settings. In this study, we sought to elicit CD8 + T cells against subdominant epitopes and CD4 + T cells using various novel and well-established vaccine strategies. We vaccinated three Mamu-A*01 + animals with five Mamu-A*01-restricted subdominant SIV-specific CD8 + T cell epitopes. All three vaccinated animals made high frequency responses against the Mamu-A*01-restricted Env TL9 epitope with one animal making a low frequency CD8 + T cell response against the Pol LV10 epitope. We also induced SIV-specific CD4 + T cells against several MHC class II DRBw*606-restricted epitopes. Electroporated DNA with pIL-12 followed by a rAd5 boost was the most immunogenic vaccine strategy. We induced responses against all three Mamu-DRB*w606-restricted CD4 epitopes in the vaccine after the DNA prime. Ad5 vaccination further boosted these responses. Although we successfully elicited several robust epitope-specific CD4 + T cell responses, vaccination with subdominant MHC class I epitopes elicited few detectable CD8 + T cell responses. Broadening the CD8 + T cell response against subdominant MHC class I epitopes was, therefore, more difficult than we initially anticipated. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | CAS Institute of Biophysics, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Scripps Research Institute and 5 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PLoS pathogens | Year: 2015

Eliciting broad tier 2 neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) is a major goal of HIV-1 vaccine research. Here we investigated the ability of native, membrane-expressed JR-FL Env trimers to elicit nAbs. Unusually potent nAb titers developed in 2 of 8 rabbits immunized with virus-like particles (VLPs) expressing trimers (trimer VLP sera) and in 1 of 20 rabbits immunized with DNA expressing native Env trimer, followed by a protein boost (DNA trimer sera). All 3 sera neutralized via quaternary epitopes and exploited natural gaps in the glycan defenses of the second conserved region of JR-FL gp120. Specifically, trimer VLP sera took advantage of the unusual absence of a glycan at residue 197 (present in 98.7% of Envs). Intriguingly, removing the N197 glycan (with no loss of tier 2 phenotype) rendered 50% or 16.7% (n = 18) of clade B tier 2 isolates sensitive to the two trimer VLP sera, showing broad neutralization via the surface masked by the N197 glycan. Neutralizing sera targeted epitopes that overlap with the CD4 binding site, consistent with the role of the N197 glycan in a putative glycan fence that limits access to this region. A bioinformatics analysis suggested shared features of one of the trimer VLP sera and monoclonal antibody PG9, consistent with its trimer-dependency. The neutralizing DNA trimer serum took advantage of the absence of a glycan at residue 230, also proximal to the CD4 binding site and suggesting an epitope similar to that of monoclonal antibody 8ANC195, albeit lacking tier 2 breadth. Taken together, our data show for the first time that strain-specific holes in the glycan fence can allow the development of tier 2 neutralizing antibodies to native spikes. Moreover, cross-neutralization can occur in the absence of protecting glycan. Overall, our observations provide new insights that may inform the future development of a neutralizing antibody vaccine.


Though vaccination with live-attenuated SIV provides the greatest protection from progressive disease caused by SIV challenge in rhesus macaques, attenuated HIV presents safety concerns as a vaccine; therefore, live viral vectors carrying HIV immunogens must be considered. We have designed a replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) displaying immunogenic HIV-1 Env trimers and attenuating quantities of the native surface glycoprotein (G). The clade B Env immunogen is an Env-VSV G hybrid (EnvG) in which the transmembrane and cytoplasmic tail regions are derived from G. Relocation of the G gene to the 5terminus of the genome and insertion of EnvG into the natural G position induced a 1 log reduction in surface G, significant growth attenuation compared to wild-type, and incorporation of abundant EnvG. Western blot analysis indicated that 75% of incorporated EnvG was a mature proteolytically processed form. Flow cytometry showed that surface EnvG bound various conformationally- and trimer-specific antibodies (Abs), and in-vitro growth assays on CD4+CCR5+ cells demonstrated EnvG functionality. Neither intranasal (IN) or intramuscular (IM) administration in mice induced any observable pathology and all regimens tested generated potent Env-specific ELISA titers of 10(4)-10(5), with an IM VSV prime/IN VSV boost regimen eliciting the highest binding and neutralizing Ab titers. Significant quantities of Env-specific CD4+ T cells were also detected, which were augmented as much as 70-fold by priming with IM electroporated plasmids encoding EnvG and IL-12. These data suggest that our novel vector can achieve balanced safety and immunogenicity and should be considered as an HIV vaccine platform.


Results from recent HIV-1 vaccine studies have indicated that high serum antibody (Ab) titers may not be necessary for Ab-mediated protection, and that Abs localized to mucosal sites might be critical for preventing infection. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) has been used for decades as the gold standard for Ab measurement, though recently, highly sensitive microsphere-based assays have become available, with potential utility for improved detection of Abs. In this study, we assessed the Bio-Plex() Suspension Array System for the detection of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific Abs in rhesus macaques (RMs) chronically infected with SIV, whose serum or mucosal SIV-specific Ab titers were negative by ELISA. We developed a SIVmac239-specific 4-plex bead array for the simultaneous detection of Abs binding to Env, Gag, Pol, and Nef. The 4-plex assay was used to quantify SIV-specific serum IgG and rectal swab IgA titers from control (SIV-naive) and SIVmac239-infected RMs. The Bio-Plex assay specifically detected anti-SIV Abs in specimens from SIV-infected animals for all four analytes when compared to SIV-naive control samples (p0.04). Furthermore, in 70% of Env and 79% of Gag ELISA-negative serum samples, specific Ab was detected using the Bio-Plex assay. Similarly, 71% of Env and 48% of Gag ELISA-negative rectal swab samples were identified as positive using the Bio-Plex assay. Importantly, assay specificity (i.e., probability of true positives) was comparable to ELISA (94%-100%). The results reported here indicate that microsphere-based methods provide a substantial improvement over ELISA for the detection of Ab responses, aid in detecting specific Abs when analyzing samples containing low levels of Abs, such as during the early stages of a vaccine trial, and may be valuable in attempts to link protective efficacy of vaccines with induced Ab responses.

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