Similar T-cell immune responses induced by group M consensus env immunogens with wild-type or minimum consensus variable regions.
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.
Project description: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.
Project description:An effective human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine must induce protective antibody responses, as well as CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses, that can be effective despite extraordinary diversity of HIV-1. The consensus and mosaic immunogens are complete but artificial proteins, computationally designed to elicit immune responses with improved cross-reactive breadth, to attempt to overcome the challenge of global HIV diversity. In this study, we have compared the immunogenicity of a transmitted-founder (T/F) B clade Env (B.1059), a global group M consensus Env (Con-S), and a global trivalent mosaic Env protein in rhesus macaques. These antigens were delivered using a DNA prime-recombinant NYVAC (rNYVAC) vector and Env protein boost vaccination strategy. While Con-S Env was a single sequence, mosaic immunogens were a set of three Envs optimized to include the most common forms of potential T cell epitopes. Both Con-S and mosaic sequences retained common amino acids encompassed by both antibody and T cell epitopes and were central to globally circulating strains. Mosaics and Con-S Envs expressed as full-length proteins bound well to a number of neutralizing antibodies with discontinuous epitopes. Also, both consensus and mosaic immunogens induced significantly higher gamma interferon (IFN-?) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISpot) responses than B.1059 immunogen. Immunization with these proteins, particularly Con-S, also induced significantly higher neutralizing antibodies to viruses than B.1059 Env, primarily to tier 1 viruses. Both Con-S and mosaics stimulated more potent CD8-T cell responses against heterologous Envs than did B.1059. Both antibody and cellular data from this study strengthen the concept of using in silico-designed centralized immunogens for global HIV-1 vaccine development strategies.There is an increasing appreciation for the importance of vaccine-induced anti-Env antibody responses for preventing HIV-1 acquisition. This nonhuman primate study demonstrates that in silico-designed global HIV-1 immunogens, designed for a human clinical trial, are capable of eliciting not only T lymphocyte responses but also potent anti-Env antibody responses.
Project description:The low number of envelope (Env) spikes presented on native HIV-1 particles is a major impediment for HIV-1 prophylactic vaccine development. We designed virus-like particle encoding adenoviral vectors utilizing SIVmac239 Gag as an anchor for full length and truncated HIV-1 M consensus Env. Truncated Env overexpressed VRC01 and 17b binding antigen on the surface of transduced cells while the full length Env vaccine presented more and similar amounts of antigen binding to the trimer conformation sensitive antibodies PGT151 and PGT145, respectively. The adenoviral vectors were used to prime Balb/c mice followed by sequential boosting with chimpanzee type 63, and chimpanzee type 3 adenoviral vectors encoding SIVmac239 Gag and full length consensus Env. Both vaccine regimens induced increasing titers of binding antibody responses after each immunization, and significant differences in immune responses between the two groups were observed after the final immunization. Full length Env priming skewed antibody responses towards gp41, while truncated Env priming induced responses primarily targeting gp120 containing and derived antigens. Importantly, no differences in neutralizing antibody responses were found between the different priming regimens as both induced high titered tier 1 neutralizing antibodies, but no tier 2 antibodies, possibly reflecting the similar presentation of trimer specific antibody epitopes. The described vaccine regimens provide insight into the effects of the HIV-1 Env cytoplasmic tail on epitope presentation and subsequent immune responses, which is relevant for the interpretation of current clinical trials that are using truncated Env as an immunogen. The regimens described here provide similar neutralization titers, and thus are useful for investigating the importance of specificity in non-neutralizing antibody mediated protection against viral challenge.
Project description:Antibodies that cross-react with multiple HIV-1 envelopes (Envs) are useful reagents for characterizing Env proteins and for soluble Env capture and purification assays. We previously reported 10 murine monoclonal antibodies induced by group M consensus Env, CON-6 immunization. Each demonstrated broad cross-reactivity to recombinant Envs. Here we characterized the Env epitopes to which they bind. Seven mapped to linear epitopes in gp120, five at the Env N-terminus, and two at the Env C-terminus. One antibody, 13D7, bound at the gp120?N-terminus (aa 30-42), reacted with HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells, and when expressed in a human IgG1 backbone, mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Antibody 18F11 bound at the gp120 C-terminus (aa 445-459) and reactivity was glycan dependent. Antibodies 13D7, 3B3, and 16H3 bound to 100 percent of HIV-1 Envs tested in ELISA and sodium dodecyl sulfate/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis/western blot analysis. These data define the epitopes of monoclonal antibody reagents for characterization of recombinant Envs, one epitope of which is also expressed on the surface of HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells.
Project description:The HIV-1 gp41 envelope (Env) membrane proximal external region (MPER) is an important vaccine target that in rare subjects can elicit neutralizing antibodies. One mechanism proposed for rarity of MPER neutralizing antibody generation is lack of reverted unmutated ancestor (putative naive B cell receptor) antibody reactivity with HIV-1 envelope. We have studied the effect of partial deglycosylation under non-denaturing (native) conditions on gp140 Env antigenicity for MPER neutralizing antibodies and their reverted unmutated ancestor antibodies. We found that native deglycosylation of clade B JRFL gp140 as well as group M consensus gp140 Env CON-S selectively increased the reactivity of Env with the broad neutralizing human mAbs, 2F5 and 4E10. Whereas fully glycosylated gp140 Env either did not bind (JRFL), or weakly bound (CON-S), 2F5 and 4E10 reverted unmutated ancestors, natively deglycosylated JRFL and CON-S gp140 Envs did bind well to these putative mimics of naive B cell receptors. These data predict that partially deglycoslated Env would bind better than fully glycosylated Env to gp41-specific naïve B cells with improved immunogenicity. In this regard, immunization of rhesus macaques demonstrated enhanced immunogenicity of the 2F5 MPER epitope on deglyosylated JRFL gp140 compared to glycosylated JRFL gp140. Thus, the lack of 2F5 and 4E10 reverted unmutated ancestor binding to gp140 Env may not always be due to lack of unmutated ancestor antibody reactivity with gp41 peptide epitopes, but rather, may be due to glycan interference of binding of unmutated ancestor antibodies of broad neutralizing mAb to Env gp41.
Project description:The extensive glycosylation of HIV-1 envelope proteins (Envs), gp120/gp41, is known to play an important role in evasion of host immune response by masking key neutralization epitopes and presenting the Env glycosylation as "self" to the host immune system. The Env glycosylation is mostly conserved but continues to evolve to modulate viral infectivity. Thus, profiling Env glycosylation and distinguishing interclade and intraclade glycosylation variations are necessary components in unraveling the effects of glycosylation on Env's immunogenicity. Here, we describe a mass spectrometry-based approach to characterize the glycosylation profiles of two rVV-expressed clade C Envs by identifying the glycan motifs on each glycosylation site and determining the degree of glycosylation site occupancy. One Env is a wild-type Env, while the other is a synthetic "consensus" Env (C.CON). The observed differences in the glycosylation profiles between the two clade C Envs show that C.CON has more unutilized sites and high levels of high mannose glycans; these features mimic the glycosylation profile of a Group M consensus immunogen, CON-S. Our results also reveal a clade-specific glycosylation pattern. Discerning interclade and intraclade glycosylation variations could provide valuable information in understanding the molecular differences among the different HIV-1 clades and in designing new Env-based immunogens.
Project description:Information about neutralizing antibody responses in subtype C-infected individuals is limited, even though this viral subtype causes the majority of AIDS cases worldwide. Here we compared the course and magnitude of the autologous neutralizing antibody (NAb) response against viral envelope (Env) glycoproteins present during acute and early infection with subtypes B and C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). NAb responses were evaluated in 6 subtype B-infected and 11 subtype C-infected subjects over a mean evaluation period of 25 months using a pseudovirus reporter gene assay. All subjects in the C cohort were infected through heterosexual contact, while five of the six subjects in the B cohort were infected via male-to-male contact. The kinetics and magnitude of the NAb responses varied among subjects in the B and C cohorts; however, the median 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50) titer) reached by antibody in the plasma of subtype C-infected subjects, overall, was 3.5-fold higher than in the subtype B-infected subjects (P = 0.06). The higher titers of NAbs in the C cohort were associated with viruses having significantly shorter amino acid length (P = 0.002) in the V1 to V4 region of the surface Env glycoprotein, gp120, compared to the B cohort. Despite the potency of the autologous subtype C NAb response, it was not directed against cross-neutralizing epitopes. These data demonstrate that subtype C Envs elicit a potent yet restricted NAb response early in infection that frequently reaches IC(50) titers in excess of 1:1,000 and suggest that clade-specific differences may exist in Env immunogenicity or susceptibility to neutralization.
Project description:HIV-1 subtype B and CRF01_AE are the predominant infecting subtypes among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Singapore. The genetic history, population dynamics and pattern of transmission networks of these genotypes remain largely unknown. We delineated the phylodynamic profiles of HIV-1 subtype B, CRF01_AE and the recently characterized CRF51_01B strains circulating among the MSM population in Singapore. A total of 105 (49.5%) newly-diagnosed treatment-naïve MSM were recruited between February 2008 and August 2009. Phylogenetic reconstructions of the protease gene (HXB2: 2239 - 2629), gp120 (HXB2: 6942 - 7577) and gp41 (HXB2: 7803 - 8276) of the env gene uncovered five monophyletic transmission networks (two each within subtype B and CRF01_AE and one within CRF51_01B lineages) of different sizes (involving 3 - 23 MSM subjects, supported by posterior probability measure of 1.0). Bayesian coalescent analysis estimated that the emergence and dissemination of multiple sub-epidemic networks occurred between 1995 and 2005, driven largely by subtype B and later followed by CRF01_AE. Exponential increase in effective population size for both subtype B and CRF01_AE occurred between 2002 to 2007 and 2005 to 2007, respectively. Genealogical estimates suggested that the novel CRF51_01B lineages were probably generated through series of recombination events involving CRF01_AE and multiple subtype B ancestors. Our study provides the first insight on the phylodynamic profiles of HIV-1 subtype B, CRF01_AE and CRF51_01B viral strains circulating among MSM in Singapore.
Project description:"Centralized" (ancestral and consensus) HIV-1 envelope immunogens induce broadly cross-reactive T cell responses in laboratory animals; however, their potential to elicit cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies has not been fully explored. Here, we report the construction of a panel of consensus subtype B (ConB) envelopes and compare their biologic, antigenic, and immunogenic properties to those of two wild-type Env controls from individuals with early and acute HIV-1 infection. Glycoprotein expressed from full-length (gp160), uncleaved (gp160-UNC), truncated (gp145), and N-linked glycosylation site deleted (gp160-201N/S) versions of the ConB env gene were packaged into virions and, except for the fusion defective gp160-UNC, mediated infection via the CCR5 co-receptor. Pseudovirions containing ConB Envs were sensitive to neutralization by patient plasma and monoclonal antibodies, indicating the preservation of neutralizing epitopes found in contemporary subtype B viruses. When used as DNA vaccines in guinea pigs, ConB and wild-type env immunogens induced appreciable binding, but overall only low level neutralizing antibodies. However, all four ConB immunogens were significantly more potent than one wild-type vaccine at eliciting neutralizing antibodies against a panel of tier 1 and tier 2 viruses, and ConB gp145 and gp160 were significantly more potent than both wild-type vaccines at inducing neutralizing antibodies against tier 1 viruses. Thus, consensus subtype B env immunogens appear to be at least as good as, and in some instances better than, wild-type B env immunogens at inducing a neutralizing antibody response, and are amenable to further improvement by specific gene modifications.
Project description:BACKGROUND: To address evolution of HIV-1 after transmission, we studied sequence dynamics in and outside predicted epitopes of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in subtype B HIV-1 variants that were isolated from 5 therapy-naive horizontal HLA-disparate donor-recipient pairs from the Amsterdam Cohort Studies on HIV-1 infection and AIDS. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In the first weeks after transmission, the majority of donor-derived mutations in and outside donor-HLA-restricted epitopes in Gag, Env, and Nef, were preserved in the recipient. Reversion to the HIV-1 subtype B consensus sequence of mutations in- and outside donor-HLA-restricted CTL epitopes, and new mutations away from the consensus B sequence mostly within recipient-HLA-restricted epitopes, contributed equally to the early sequence changes. In the subsequent period (1-2 years) after transmission, still only a low number of both reverting and forward mutations had occurred. During subsequent long-term follow-up, sequence dynamics were dominated by forward mutations, mostly (50-85%) in recipient-HLA-restricted CTL epitopes. At the end of long-term follow-up, on average 43% of the transmitted CTL escape mutations in donor-HLA-restricted epitopes had reverted to the subtype B consensus sequence. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The relatively high proportion of long-term preserved mutations after transmission points to a lack of back selection even in the absence of CTL pressure, which may lead to an accumulating loss of critical CTL epitopes. Our data are supportive for a continuous adaptation of HIV-1 to host immune pressures which may have implications for vaccine design.