Evolutionary and structural features of the C2, V3 and C3 envelope regions underlying the differences in HIV-1 and HIV-2 biology and infection.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Unlike in HIV-1 infection, the majority of HIV-2 patients produce broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies, control viral replication and survive as elite controllers. The identification of the molecular, structural and evolutionary footprints underlying these very distinct immunological and clinical outcomes may lead to the development of new strategies for the prevention and treatment of HIV infection. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We performed a side-by-side molecular, evolutionary and structural comparison of the C2, V3 and C3 envelope regions from HIV-1 and HIV-2. These regions contain major antigenic targets and are important for receptor binding. In HIV-2, these regions also have immune modulatory properties. We found that these regions are significantly more variable in HIV-1 than in HIV-2. Within each virus, C3 is the most entropic region followed by either C2 (HIV-2) or V3 (HIV-1). The C3 region is well exposed in the HIV-2 envelope and is under strong diversifying selection suggesting that, like in HIV-1, it may harbour neutralizing epitopes. Notably, however, extreme diversification of C2 and C3 seems to be deleterious for HIV-2 and prevent its transmission. Computer modelling simulations showed that in HIV-2 the V3 loop is much less exposed than C2 and C3 and has a retractile conformation due to a physical interaction with both C2 and C3. The concealed and conserved nature of V3 in the HIV-2 is consistent with its lack of immunodominancy in vivo and with its role in preventing immune activation. In contrast, HIV-1 had an extended and accessible V3 loop that is consistent with its immunodominant and neutralizing nature. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We identify significant structural and functional constrains to the diversification and evolution of C2, V3 and C3 in the HIV-2 envelope but not in HIV-1. These studies highlight fundamental differences in the biology and infection of HIV-1 and HIV-2 and in their mode of interaction with the human immune system and may inform new vaccine and therapeutic interventions against these viruses.
Project description:BACKGROUND:This study was designed to investigate, for the first time, the short-term molecular evolution of the HIV-2 C2, V3 and C3 envelope regions and its association with the immune response. Clonal sequences of the env C2V3C3 region were obtained from a cohort of eighteen HIV-2 chronically infected patients followed prospectively during 2-4 years. Genetic diversity, divergence, positive selection and glycosylation in the C2V3C3 region were analysed as a function of the number of CD4+ T cells and the anti-C2V3C3 IgG and IgA antibody reactivity RESULTS:The mean intra-host nucleotide diversity was 2.1% (SD, 1.1%), increasing along the course of infection in most patients. Diversity at the amino acid level was significantly lower for the V3 region and higher for the C2 region. The average divergence rate was 0.014 substitutions/site/year, which is similar to that reported in chronic HIV-1 infection. The number and position of positively selected sites was highly variable, except for codons 267 and 270 in C2 that were under strong and persistent positive selection in most patients. N-glycosylation sites located in C2 and V3 were conserved in all patients along the course of infection. Intra-host variation of C2V3C3-specific IgG response over time was inversely associated with the variation in nucleotide and amino acid diversity of the C2V3C3 region. Variation of the C2V3C3-specific IgA response was inversely associated with variation in the number of N-glycosylation sites. CONCLUSION:The evolutionary dynamics of HIV-2 envelope during chronic aviremic infection is similar to HIV-1 implying that the virus should be actively replicating in cellular compartments. Convergent evolution of N-glycosylation in C2 and V3, and the limited diversification of V3, indicates that there are important functional constraints to the potential diversity of the HIV-2 envelope. C2V3C3-specific IgG antibodies are effective at reducing viral population size limiting the number of virus escape mutants. The C3 region seems to be a target for IgA antibodies and increasing N-linked glycosylation may prevent HIV-2 envelope recognition by these antibodies. Our results provide new insights into the biology of HIV-2 and its relation with the human host and may have important implications for vaccine design.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) infection affects about 1 to 2 million individuals, the majority living in West Africa, Europe, and India. As for HIV-1, new strategies for the prevention of HIV-2 infection are needed. Our aim was to produce new vaccine immunogens that elicit the production of broadly reactive HIV-2 neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). Native and truncated envelope proteins from the reference HIV-2ALI isolate were expressed in vaccinia virus or in bacteria. This source isolate was used due to its unique phenotype combining CD4 independence and CCR5 usage. NAbs were not elicited in BALB/c mice by single immunization with a truncated and fully glycosylated envelope gp125 (gp125t) or a recombinant polypeptide comprising the C2, V3, and C3 envelope regions (rpC2-C3). A strong and broad NAb response was, however, elicited in mice primed with gp125t expressed in vaccinia virus and boosted with rpC2-C3. Serum from these animals potently neutralized (median 50% neutralizing titer, 3,200) six of six highly divergent primary HIV-2 isolates. Coreceptor usage and the V3 sequence of NAb-sensitive isolates were similar to that of the vaccinating immunogen (HIV-2ALI). In contrast, NAbs were not reactive on three X4 isolates that displayed major changes in V3 loop sequence and structure. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that broadly reactive HIV-2 NAbs can be elicited by using a vaccinia virus vector-prime/rpC2-C3-boost immunization strategy and suggest a potential relationship between escape to neutralization and cell tropism.
Project description:HIV-1 envelope (Env) gp120 is an important target for neutralizing antibody (Ab) responses against the virus; however, developing gp120 vaccines that elicit potent and broad neutralizing Abs has proven to be a formidable challenge. Previously, removal of an N-linked glycan at residue 448 by an N to Q mutation (N448Q) has been found to enhance the in vitro antigenicity of neutralizing epitopes in the V3 loop. In this study the mutated gp120 was first compared with wild type gp120 for immunogenicity in mice using a DNA prime and protein boost immunization regimen. The N448Q mutant did not elicit higher titers of anti-gp120 serum Abs and failed to generate anti-V3 Abs. The sera also had no virus-neutralizing activity, even though the mutant induced higher levels of lymphoproliferation and cytokine production. Subsequently, the N448Q mutant was used to construct an immune complex vaccine with the anti-CD4 binding site monoclonal antibody (mAb) 654. The N448Q/654 complex stimulated comparably high levels of serum Abs to gp120 and V3 as the wild type complex. However, Abs against the C1 and C2 regions in the gp120 core were more elevated. Importantly, the mutant complex also elicited higher titers of neutralizing Abs activity than the wild type counterpart. Similar results were achieved with a complex made with gp120 bearing an N448E mutation, confirming the importance of the N448-linked glycan in modulating gp120 immunogenicity. Neutralizing activity was directed to V3 and other undefined neutralizing epitopes. Improved immunogenicity of the immune complexes correlated with alterations in exposure of V3 and other Ab epitopes and their stability against proteases. These data demonstrate the advantage of combining site-specific N-glycan removal and immune complex formation as a novel vaccine strategy to improve immunogenicity of targeted Ab epitopes on critical regions of HIV-1 gp120.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) fitness has been associated with virus entry, a process mediated by the envelope glycoprotein (Env). We previously described Env genetic diversification in a Zambian, subtype C infected, slow-progressor child (1157i) in parallel with an evolving neutralizing antibody response. Because of the role the Variable-3 loop (V3) plays in transmission, cell tropism, neutralization sensitivity, and fitness, longitudinally isolated 1157i C2-V4 alleles were cloned into HIV-1NL4-3-eGFP and -DsRed2 infectious molecular clones. The fluorescent reporters allowed for dual-infection competitions between all patient-derived C2-V4 chimeras to quantify the effect of V3 diversification and selection on fitness. 'Winners' and 'losers' were readily discriminated among the C2-V4 alleles. Exceptional sensitivity for detection of subtle fitness differences was revealed through analysis of two alleles differing in a single synonymous amino acid. However, when the outcomes of N?=?33 competitions were averaged for each chimera, the aggregate analysis showed that despite increasing diversification and divergence with time, natural selection of C2-V4 sequences in this individual did not appear to be producing a 'survival of the fittest' evolutionary pattern. Rather, we detected a relatively flat fitness landscape consistent with mutational robustness. Fitness outcomes were then correlated with individual components of the entry process. Env incorporation into particles correlated best with fitness, suggesting a role for Env avidity, as opposed to receptor/coreceptor affinity, in defining fitness. Nevertheless, biochemical analyses did not identify any step in HIV-1 entry as a dominant determinant of fitness. Our results lead us to conclude that multiple aspects of entry contribute to maintaining adequate HIV-1 fitness, and there is no surrogate analysis for determining fitness. The capacity for subtle polymorphisms in Env to nevertheless significantly impact viral fitness suggests fitness is best defined by head-to-head competition.
Project description:Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) were obtained by immunizing mice with synthetic peptides corresponding to the third variable (V3) or the third conserved (C3) domain of the external envelope protein (gp120) of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2ROD). One MAb, designated B2C, which was raised against V3 peptide NKI26, bound to the surface of HIV-2-infected cells but not to their uninfected counterparts. B2C was capable of neutralizing cell-free and cell-associated virus infection in an isolate-specific fashion. The antibody-binding epitope was mapped to a 6-amino-acid peptide in the V3 variable domain which had the core sequence His-Tyr-Gln. Two MAbs, 2H1B and 2F19C, which were raised against the C3 peptide TND27 reacted with gp120 of HIV-2ROD in a Western immunoblot assay. The C3 epitopes recognized by these two MAbs appeared inaccessible because of their poor reactivity in a surface immunofluorescence assay. Although partial inhibition of syncytium formation was observed in the presence of the anti-C3 MAbs, their neutralizing activity appeared weak. Finally, the effects of these MAbs against CD4-gp120 binding were assessed. Partial inhibition of CD4-gp120 binding was observed in the presence of high concentrations of B2C. On the other hand, no inhibition of CD4-gp120 binding was observed in the presence of anti-C3 MAbs. Since complete neutralization could be achieved at a concentration corresponding to that of partial binding inhibition by B2C, some different mechanisms may be involved in the B2C-mediated neutralization. These results, taken together, indicated that analogous to the function of the V3 region of HIV-1, the V3 region of HIV-2ROD contained at least a type-specific fusion-inhibiting neutralizing epitope. In this respect, the V3 sequence of HIV-2 may be a useful target in an animal model for HIV vaccine development.
Project description:Broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 elicited in infected individuals evolves through shifts in their molecular specificities to viral envelope (Env) in the disease course. Recently, we showed that resistance of circulating HIV-1 clade C to the autologous plasma obtained from one Indian elite neutralizer is associated with mutations in V1 loop. In the present study, we examined the genetic attributes associated with exceptional sensitivity of pseudoviruses expressing an env gene obtained from the follow up visit contemporaneous plasma of the same donor.Examination of chimeric autologous Envs, we found that enhanced neutralization sensitivity is associated with mutations in the V3/C3 region. A positive association between V3/C3 mutation mediated enhanced autologous neutralization of autologous viruses with their sensitivity to both neutralizing and non-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies was found. Interestingly, we found that depletion of autologous plasma with trimeric and monomeric Envs conferred the sensitive Env with resistance indicating that mutations in V3/C3 region altered Env conformation towards optimal exposure of epitopes targeted by the neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies.In summary, we found distinct vulnerabilities associated with evasion of circulating viruses to broadly neutralizing antibodies mounted in an Indian elite neutralizer.
Project description:HIV-1 envelope gp120 is the target for neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against the virus. Various approaches have been explored to improve immunogenicity of broadly neutralizing epitopes on this antigen with limited success. We previously demonstrated that immunogenicity of gp120 and especially its V3 epitopes was enhanced when gp120 was co-administered as immune-complex vaccines with monoclonal antibodies (mAb) to the CD4-binding site (CD4bs). To define the mechanisms by which immune complexes influence V3 immunogenicity, we compared gp120 complexed with mAbs specific for the C2 region (1006-30), the V2 loop (2158), or the CD4bs (654), and found that the gp120/654 and gp120/2158 complexes elicited anti-V3 NAbs, but the gp120/654 complex was the most effective. gp120 complexed with 654 F(ab')2 was as potent, indicating that V3 immunogenicity is determined by the specificity of the mAb's Fab fragment used to form the complexes. Importantly, the gp120/654 complex not only induced anti-gp120 antibodies (Abs) to higher titers, but also of greater avidity. The Abs were cross-reactive with V3 peptides from most subtype B and some subtype C isolates. Neutralization was detected only against Tier-1 HIV-1 pseudoviruses, while Tier-2 viruses, including the homologous JRFL strain, were not neutralized. However, JRFL produced in the presence of a mannosidase inhibitor was sensitive to anti-V3 NAbs in the immune sera. These results demonstrate that the gp120/654 complex is a potent immunogen for eliciting cross-reactive functional NAbs against V3 epitopes, of which exposure is determined by the specific compositions of glycans shrouding the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins.
Project description:HIV-1 envelope diversity remains a significant challenge for the development of an efficacious vaccine. The evolutionary forces that shape the diversity of envelope are incompletely understood. HIV-1 subtype C envelope in particular shows significant differences and unique characteristics compared to its subtype B counterpart. Here we applied the single genome sequencing strategy of plasma derived virus from a cohort of therapy naïve chronically infected individuals in order to study diversity, divergence patterns and envelope characteristics across the entire HIV-1 subtype C gp160 in 4 slow progressors and 4 progressors over an average of 19.5 months.Sequence analysis indicated that intra-patient nucleotide diversity within the entire envelope was higher in slow progressors, but did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.07). However, intra-patient nucleotide diversity was significantly higher in slow progressors compared to progressors in the C2 (p = 0.0006), V3 (p = 0.01) and C3 (p = 0.005) regions. Increased amino acid length and fewer potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGs) were observed in the V1-V4 in slow progressors compared to progressors (p = 0.009 and p = 0.02 respectively). Similarly, gp41 in the progressors was significantly longer and had fewer PNGs compared to slow progressors (p = 0.02 and p = 0.02 respectively). Positive selection hotspots mapped mainly to V1, C3, V4, C4 and gp41 in slow progressors, whereas hotspots mapped mainly to gp41 in progressors. Signature consensus sequence differences between the groups occurred mainly in gp41.These data suggest that separate regions of envelope are under differential selective forces, and that envelope evolution differs based on disease course. Differences between slow progressors and progressors may reflect differences in immunological pressure and immune evasion mechanisms. These data also indicate that the pattern of envelope evolution is an important correlate of disease progression in chronic HIV-1 subtype C infection.
Project description:Trimeric soluble forms of HIV gp140 envelope glycoproteins represent one of the closest molecular structures compared to native spikes present on intact virus particles. Trimeric soluble gp140 have been generated by several groups and such molecules have been shown to induce antibodies with neutralizing activity against homologous and heterologous viruses. In the present study, we generated a recombinant trimeric soluble gp140, derived from a previously identified Ugandan A-clade HIV field isolate (gp14094UG018). Antibodies elicited in immunized rabbits show a broad binding pattern to HIV envelopes of different clades. An epitope mapping analysis reveals that, on average, the binding is mostly focused on the C1, C2, V3, V5 and C5 regions. Immune sera show neutralization activity to Tier 1 isolates of different clades, demonstrating cross clade neutralizing activity which needs to be further broadened by possible structural modifications of the clade A gp14094UG018. Our results provide a rationale for the design and evaluation of immunogens and the clade A gp14094UG018 shows promising characteristics for potential involvement in an effective HIV vaccine with broad activity.
Project description:The early autologous neutralizing antibody response in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtype C infections is often characterized by high titers, but the response is type specific with little to no cross-neutralizing activity. The specificities of these early neutralizing antibodies are not known; however, the type specificity suggests that they may target the variable regions of the envelope. Here, we show that cross-reactive anti-V3 antibodies developed within 3 to 12 weeks in six individuals but did not mediate autologous neutralization. Using a series of chimeric viruses, we found that antibodies directed at the V1V2, V4, and V5 regions contributed to autologous neutralization in some individuals, with V1V2 playing a more substantial role. However, these antibodies did not account for the total neutralizing capacity of these sera against the early autologous virus. Antibodies directed against the C3-V4 region were involved in autologous neutralization in all four sera studied. In two sera, transfer of the C3-V4 region rendered the chimera as sensitive to antibody neutralization as the parental virus. Although the C3 region, which contains the highly variable alpha2-helix was not a direct target in most cases, it contributed to the formation of neutralization epitopes as substitution of this region resulted in neutralization resistance. These data suggest that the C3 and V4 regions combine to form important structural motifs and that epitopes in this region are major targets of the early autologous neutralizing response in HIV-1 subtype C infection.