HIV-1 subtype C superinfected individuals mount low autologous neutralizing antibody responses prior to intrasubtype superinfection.
ABSTRACT: The potential role of antibodies in protection against intra-subtype HIV-1 superinfection remains to be understood. We compared the early neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses in three individuals, who were superinfected within one year of primary infection, to ten matched non-superinfected controls from a Zambian cohort of subtype C transmission cases. Sequence analysis of single genome amplified full-length envs from a previous study showed limited diversification in the individuals who became superinfected with the same HIV-1 subtype within year one post-seroconversion. We hypothesized that this reflected a blunted NAb response, which may have made these individuals more susceptible to superinfection.Neutralization assays showed that autologous plasma NAb responses to the earliest, and in some cases transmitted/founder, virus were delayed and had low to undetectable titers in all three superinfected individuals prior to superinfection. In contrast, NAbs with a median IC50 titer of 1896 were detected as early as three months post-seroconversion in non-superinfected controls. Early plasma NAbs in all subjects showed limited but variable levels of heterologous neutralization breadth. Superinfected individuals also exhibited a trend toward lower levels of gp120- and V1V2-specific IgG binding antibodies but higher gp120-specific plasma IgA binding antibodies.These data suggest that the lack of development of IgG antibodies, as reflected in autologous NAbs as well as gp120 and V1V2 binding antibodies to the primary infection virus, combined with potentially competing, non-protective IgA antibodies, may increase susceptibility to superinfection in the context of settings where a single HIV-1 subtype predominates.
Project description:Identifying naturally-occurring neutralizing antibodies (NAb) that are cross-reactive against all global subtypes of HIV-1 is an important step toward the development of a vaccine. Establishing the host and viral determinants for eliciting such broadly NAbs is also critical for immunogen design. NAb breadth has previously been shown to be positively associated with viral diversity. Therefore, we hypothesized that superinfected individuals develop a broad NAb response as a result of increased antigenic stimulation by two distinct viruses. To test this hypothesis, plasma samples from 12 superinfected women each assigned to three singly infected women were tested against a panel of eight viruses representing four different HIV-1 subtypes at matched time points post-superinfection (~5 years post-initial infection). Here we show superinfected individuals develop significantly broader NAb responses post-superinfection when compared to singly infected individuals (RR?=?1.68, CI: 1.23-2.30, p?=?0.001). This was true even after controlling for NAb breadth developed prior to superinfection, contemporaneous CD4+ T cell count and viral load. Similarly, both unadjusted and adjusted analyses showed significantly greater potency in superinfected cases compared to controls. Notably, two superinfected individuals were able to neutralize variants from four different subtypes at plasma dilutions >1?300, suggesting that their NAbs exhibit elite activity. Cross-subtype breadth was detected within a year of superinfection in both of these individuals, which was within 1.5 years of their initial infection. These data suggest that sequential infections lead to augmentation of the NAb response, a process that may provide insight into potential mechanisms that contribute to the development of antibody breadth. Therefore, a successful vaccination strategy that mimics superinfection may lead to the development of broad NAbs in immunized individuals.
Project description:Superinfection by a second human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strain indicates that gaps in protective immunity occur during natural infection. To define the role of HIV-1-specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) in this setting, we examined NAb responses in 6 women who became superinfected between approximately 1 to 5 years following initial infection compared to 18 women with similar risk factors who did not. Although superinfected individuals had less NAb breadth than matched controls at approximately 1 year postinfection, no significant differences in the breadth or potency of NAb responses were observed just prior to the second infection. In fact, four of the six subjects had relatively broad and potent NAb responses prior to infection by the second strain. To more specifically examine the specificity of the NAbs against the superinfecting virus, these variants were cloned from five of the six individuals. The superinfecting variants did not appear to be inherently neutralization resistant, as measured against a pool of plasma from unrelated HIV-infected individuals. Moreover, the superinfected individuals were able to mount autologous NAb responses to these variants following reinfection. In addition, most superinfected individuals had NAbs that could neutralize their second viral strains prior to their reinfection, suggesting that the level of NAbs elicited during natural infection was not sufficient to block infection. These data indicate that preventing infection by vaccination will likely require broader and more potent NAb responses than those found in HIV-1-infected individuals.
Project description:Understanding whether the neutralizing antibody (NAb) response impacts HIV-1 superinfection and how superinfection subsequently modulates the NAb response can help clarify correlates of protection from HIV exposures and better delineate pathways of NAb development. We examined associations between the development of NAb and the occurrence of superinfection in a well-characterized, antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive, primary infection cohort of men who have sex with men. Deep sequencing was applied to blood plasma samples from the cohort to detect cases of superinfection. We compared the NAb activity against autologous and heterologous viruses between 10 participants with intrasubtype B superinfection and 19 monoinfected controls, matched to duration of infection and risk behavior. Three to 6 months after primary infection, individuals who would later become superinfected had significantly weaker NAb activity against tier 1 subtype B viruses (P = 0.003 for SF-162 and P = 0.017 for NL4-3) and marginally against autologous virus (P = 0.054). Lower presuperinfection NAb responses correlated with weaker gp120 binding and lower plasma total IgG titers. Soon after superinfection, the NAb response remained lower, but between 2 and 3 years after primary infection, NAb levels strengthened and reached those of controls. Superinfecting viruses were typically not susceptible to neutralization by presuperinfection plasma. These observations suggest that recently infected individuals with a delayed NAb response against primary infecting and tier 1 subtype B viruses are more susceptible to superinfection.IMPORTANCE Our findings suggest that within the first year after HIV infection, a relatively weak neutralizing antibody response against primary and subtype-specific neutralization-sensitive viruses increases susceptibility to superinfection in the face of repeated exposures. As natural infection progresses, the immune response strengthens significantly in some superinfected individuals. These findings will inform HIV vaccine design by providing testable correlates of protection from initial HIV infection.
Project description:Eliciting antibodies that neutralize a broad range of circulating HIV strains (broadly neutralizing antibodies [bnAbs]) represents a key priority for vaccine development. HIV superinfection (re-infection with a second strain following an established infection) has been associated with neutralization breadth, and can provide insights into how the immune system responds to sequential exposure to distinct HIV envelope glycoproteins (Env). Characterizing the neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses in four superinfected women revealed that superinfection does not boost memory nAb responses primed by the first infection or promote nAb responses to epitopes conserved in both infecting viruses. While one superinfected individual developed potent bnAbs, superinfection was likely not the driver as the nAb response did not target an epitope conserved in both viruses. Rather, sequential exposure led to nAbs specific to each Env but did not promote bnAb development. Thus, sequential immunization with heterologous Envs may not be sufficient to focus the immune response onto conserved epitopes.
Project description:We previously showed that HIV-1 subtype C viruses elicit potent but highly type-specific neutralizing antibodies (nAb) within the first year of infection. In order to determine the specificity and evolution of these autologous nAbs, we examined neutralization escape in four individuals whose responses against the earliest envelope differed in magnitude and potency. Neutralization escape occurred in all participants, with later viruses showing decreased sensitivity to contemporaneous sera, although they retained sensitivity to new nAb responses. Early nAb responses were very restricted, occurring sequentially and targeting only two regions of the envelope. In V1V2, limited amino acid changes often involving indels or glycans, mediated partial or complete escape, with nAbs targeting the V1V2 region directly in 2 cases. The alpha-2 helix of C3 was also a nAb target, with neutralization escape associated with changes to positively charged residues. In one individual, relatively high titers of anti-C3 nAbs were required to drive genetic escape, taking up to 7 weeks for the resistant variant to predominate. Thereafter titers waned but were still measurable. Development of this single anti-C3 nAb specificity was associated with a 7-fold drop in HIV-1 viral load and a 4-fold rebound as the escape mutation emerged. Overall, our data suggest the development of a very limited number of neutralizing antibody specificities during the early stages of HIV-1 subtype C infection, with temporal fluctuations in specificities as escape occurs. While the mechanism of neutralization escape appears to vary between individuals, the involvement of limited regions suggests there might be common vulnerabilities in the HIV-1 subtype C transmitted envelope.
Project description:The trimeric envelope glycoproteins (Env) on the surface of HIV-1 virions are the targets for neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). No candidate HIV-1 immunogen has yet induced potent, broadly active NAbs (bNAbs). Part of the explanation may be that previously tested Env proteins inadequately mimic the functional, native Env complex. Trimerization and the proteolytic processing of Env precursors into gp120 and gp41 profoundly alter antigenicity, but soluble cleaved trimers are too unstable to serve as immunogens. By introducing stabilizing mutations (SOSIP), we constructed soluble, cleaved Env trimers derived from the HIV-1 subtype A isolate BG505 that resemble native Env spikes on virions both structurally and antigenically.We used surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to quantify antibody binding to different forms of BG505 Env: the proteolytically cleaved SOSIP.664 trimers, cleaved gp120-gp41ECTO protomers, and gp120 monomers. Non-NAbs to the CD4-binding site bound only marginally to the trimers but equally well to gp120-gp41ECTO protomers and gp120 monomers, whereas the bNAb VRC01, directed to the CD4bs, bound to all three forms. In contrast, bNAbs to V1V2 glycan-dependent epitopes bound preferentially (PG9 and PG16) or exclusively (PGT145) to trimers. We also explored the antigenic consequences of three different features of SOSIP.664 gp140 trimers: the engineered inter-subunit disulfide bond, the trimer-stabilizing I559P change in gp41ECTO, and proteolytic cleavage at the gp120-gp41ECTO junction. Each of these three features incrementally promoted native-like trimer antigenicity. We compared Fab and IgG versions of bNAbs and validated a bivalent model of IgG binding. The NAbs showed widely divergent binding kinetics and degrees of binding to native-like BG505 SOSIP.664. High off-rate constants and low stoichiometric estimates of NAb binding were associated with large amounts of residual infectivity after NAb neutralization of the corresponding BG505.T332N pseudovirus.The antigenicity and structural integrity of cleaved BG505 SOSIP.664 trimers render these proteins good mimics of functional Env spikes on virions. In contrast, uncleaved gp140s antigenically resemble individual gp120-gp41ECTO protomers and gp120 monomers, but not native trimers. Although NAb binding to functional trimers may thus be both necessary and sufficient for neutralization, the kinetics and stoichiometry of the interaction influence the neutralizing efficacy of individual NAbs.
Project description:Eliciting broad and potent HIV-specific neutralizing antibody responses represents the holy grail of HIV vaccine efforts. Data from singly infected individuals with broad and potent plasma neutralizing activity targeting one epitope have guided our understanding of how these responses develop. However, far less is known about responses developed by superinfected individuals who acquire two distinct HIV strains. Here, we isolated HIV-specific mAbs from a superinfected individual with a broad plasma response. In this superinfection case, neutralizing activity resulted from multiple distinct B cell lineages that arose in response to either the initial or the superinfecting virus, including an antibody that targets the N332 supersite. This nAb, QA013.2, was specific to the superinfecting virus and was associated with eventual reemergence of the initial infecting virus. The complex dynamic between viruses in superinfection may drive development of a unique collection of polyclonal nAbs that present a higher barrier to escape than monoclonal responses.
Project description:HIV-1 vaccines designed to date have failed to elicit neutralizing antibodies (Nabs) that are capable of protecting against globally diverse HIV-1 subtypes. One relevant setting to study the development of a strong, cross-reactive Nab response is HIV-1 superinfection (SI), defined as sequential infections from different source partners. SI has previously been shown to lead to a broader and more potent Nab response when compared to single infection, but it is unclear whether SI also impacts epitope specificity and if the epitopes targeted after SI differ from those targeted after single infection. Here the post-SI Nab responses were examined from 21 Kenyan women collectively exposed to subtypes A, C, and D and superinfected after a median time of ~1.07 years following initial infection. Plasma samples chosen for analysis were collected at a median time point ~2.72 years post-SI. Because previous studies of singly infected populations with broad and potent Nab responses have shown that the majority of their neutralizing activity can be mapped to 4 main epitopes on the HIV-1 Envelope, we focused on these targets, which include the CD4-binding site, a V1/V2 glycan, the N332 supersite in V3, and the membrane proximal external region of gp41. Using standard epitope mapping techniques that were applied to the previous cohorts, the present study demonstrates that SI did not induce a dominant Nab response to any one of these epitopes in the 21 women. Computational sera delineation analyses also suggested that 20 of the 21 superinfected women's Nab responses could not be ascribed a single specificity with high confidence. These data are consistent with a model in which SI with diverse subtypes promotes the development of a broad polyclonal Nab response, and thus would provide support for vaccine designs using multivalent HIV immunogens to elicit a diverse repertoire of Nabs.
Project description:One aim for an HIV vaccine is to elicit neutralizing antibodies (Nab) that can limit replication of genetically diverse viruses and prevent establishment of a new infection. Thus, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Nab during the early stages of natural infection could prove useful in achieving this goal. Here we demonstrate that viral escape readily occurred despite the development of high titer autologous Nab in two subjects with acute/early subtype C infection. To provide a detailed portrayal of the escape pathways, Nab resistant variants identified at multiple time points were used to create a series of envelope (Env) glycoprotein chimeras and mutants within the background of a corresponding newly transmitted Env. In one subject, Nab escape was driven predominantly by changes in the region of gp120 that extends from the beginning of the V3 domain to the end of the V5 domain (V3V5). However, Nab escape pathways in this subject oscillated and at times required cooperation between V1V2 and the gp41 ectodomain. In the second subject, escape was driven by changes in V1V2. This V1V2-dependent escape pathway was retained over time, and its utility was reflected in the virus's ability to escape from two distinct monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) derived from this same patient via introduction of a single potential N-linked glycosylation site in V2. Spatial representation of the sequence changes in gp120 suggested that selective pressure acted upon the same regions of Env in these two subjects, even though the Env domains that drove escape were different. Together the findings argue that a single mutational pathway is not sufficient to confer escape in early subtype C HIV-1 infection, and support a model in which multiple strategies, including potential glycan shifts, direct alteration of an epitope sequence, and cooperative Env domain conformational masking, are used to evade neutralization.
Project description:To provide protective immunity against circulating primary HIV-1 strains, a vaccine most likely has to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies to the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) spike. Recombinant Env trimers such as the prototype BG505 SOSIP.664 that closely mimic the native Env spike can induce autologous neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against relatively resistant (tier 2) primary viruses. Ideally, Env immunogens should present broadly neutralizing antibody epitopes but limit the presentation of immunodominant non-NAb epitopes that might induce off-target and potentially interfering responses. The V3 loop in gp120 is such a non-NAb epitope that can effectively elicit non-NAbs when animals are immunized with SOSIP.664 trimers. V3 immunogenicity can be diminished, but not abolished, by reducing the conformational flexibility of trimers via targeted sequence changes, including an A316W substitution in V3, that create the SOSIP.v4.1 and SOSIP.v5.2 variants. Here, we further modified these trimer designs by introducing leucine residues at V3 positions 306 and 308 to create hydrophobic interactions with the tryptophan residue at position 316 and with other topologically proximal sites in the V1V2 domain. Together, these modifications further stabilized the resulting SOSIP.v5.2 S306L/R308L trimers in the prefusion state in which V3 is sequestered. When we tested these trimers as immunogens in rabbits, the induction of V3 non-NAbs was significantly reduced compared with the SOSIP.v5.2 trimers and even more so compared with the SOSIP.664 prototype, without affecting the autologous NAb response. Hence, these additional trimer sequence modifications may be beneficial for immunization strategies that seek to minimize off-target non-NAb responses.