Glycans flanking the hypervariable connecting peptide between the A and B strands of the V1/V2 domain of HIV-1 gp120 confer resistance to antibodies that neutralize CRF01_AE viruses.
ABSTRACT: Understanding the molecular determinants of sensitivity and resistance to neutralizing antibodies is critical for the development of vaccines designed to prevent HIV infection. In this study, we used a genetic approach to characterize naturally occurring polymorphisms in the HIV envelope protein that conferred neutralization sensitivity or resistance. Libraries of closely related envelope genes, derived from virus quasi-species, were constructed from individuals infected with CRF01_AE viruses. The libraries were screened with plasma containing broadly neutralizing antibodies, and neutralization sensitive and resistant variants were selected for sequence analysis. In vitro mutagenesis allowed us to identify single amino acid changes in three individuals that conferred resistance to neutralization by these antibodies. All three mutations created N-linked glycosylation sites (two at N136 and one at N149) proximal to the hypervariable connecting peptide between the C-terminus of the A strand and the N-terminus of the B strand in the four-stranded V1/V2 domain ?-sheet structure. Although N136 has previously been implicated in the binding of broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, this glycosylation site appears to inhibit the binding of neutralizing antibodies in plasma from HIV-1 infected subjects. Previous studies have reported that the length of the V1/V2 domain in transmitted founder viruses is shorter and possesses fewer glycosylation sites compared to viruses isolated from chronic infections. Our results suggest that vaccine immunogens based on recombinant envelope proteins from clade CRF01_AE viruses might be improved by inclusion of envelope proteins that lack these glycosylation sites. This strategy might improve the efficacy of the vaccines used in the partially successful RV144 HIV vaccine trial, where the two CRF01_AE immunogens (derived from the A244 and TH023 isolates) both possessed glycosylation sites at N136 and N149.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The CD4 binding site (CD4bs) of envelope glycoprotein (Env) gp120 is a functionally conserved, important target of anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) neutralizing antibodies. Two neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies, IgG1 b12 (b12) and VRC01, are broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies which recognize conformational epitopes that overlap the CD4bs of Env gp120; however, many CRF01_AE viruses are resistant to neutralization mediated by these antibodies. We examined the mechanism underlying the b12 resistance of the viruses using CRF01_AE Env (AE-Env)-recombinant viruses in this study. RESULTS: Our results showed that an amino acid substitution at position 185 in the V2 region of gp120 played a crucial role in regulating the b12 susceptibility of AE-Env-recombinant viruses by cooperating with 2 previously reported potential N-linked glycosylation (PNLG) sites at positions 186 (N186) and 197 (N197) in the V2 and C2 regions of Env gp120. The amino acid residue at position 185 and 2 PNLG sites were responsible for the b12 resistance of 21 of 23 (>91%) AE-Env clones tested. Namely, the introduction of aspartic acid at position 185 (D185) conferred b12 susceptibility of 12 resistant AE-Env clones in the absence of N186 and/or N197, while the introduction of glycine at position 185 (G185) reduced the b12 susceptibility of 9 susceptible AE-Env clones in the absence of N186 and/or N197. In addition, these amino acid mutations altered the VRC01 susceptibility of many AE-Env clones. CONCLUSIONS: We propose that the V2 and C2 regions of AE-Env gp120 contain the major determinants of viral resistance to CD4bs antibodies. CRF01_AE is a major circulating recombinant form of HIV-1 prevalent in Southeast Asia. Our data may provide important information to understand the molecular mechanism regulating the neutralization susceptibility of CRF01_AE viruses to CD4bs antibodies.
Project description:As HIV-1 continues to spread in China from traditional high risk populations to the general public, its genetic makeup has become increasingly complex. However, the impact of these genetic changes on the biological and neutralization sensitivity of the virus is unknown. The current study aims to characterize the genetic, biological, and neutralization sensitivity of HIV-1 identified in China between 2004 and 2007. Based on a total of 107 full-length envelope genes obtained directly from the infected patients, we found that those viruses fell into three major genetic groups: CRF01_AE, subtype B', and subtype C/CRF07_BC/CRF08_BC/B'C. Pseudotyped viruses built upon the viable env genes have demonstrated their substantial variability in mediating viral entry and in sensitivity to neutralization by subtype-specific plasma pools and broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (bnmAb). Many viruses are resistant to one or more bnmAb, including those known to have high potency against diverse viruses from outside China. Sequence and structural analysis has revealed several mechanisms by which these resistant viruses escape recognition from bnmAb. We believe that these results will help us to better understand the impact of genetic diversity on the neutralizing sensitivity of the viruses and to facilitate the design of immunogens capable of eliciting antibodies with potency and breadth similar to those of bnmAb.
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:Few broadly neutralizing antibodies targeting determinants of the HIV-1 surface envelope glycoprotein (gp120) involved in sequential binding to host CD4 and chemokine receptors have been characterized. While these epitopes show low diversity among various isolates, HIV-1 employs many strategies to evade humoral immune response toward these sensitive sites, including a carbohydrate shield, low accessibility to these buried cavities, and conformational masking. Using trimeric gp140, free or bound to a CD4 mimic, as immunogens in llamas, we selected a panel of broadly neutralizing single-domain antibodies (sdAbs) that bind to either the CD4 or the coreceptor binding site (CD4BS and CoRBS, respectively). When analyzed as monomers or as homo- or heteromultimers, the best sdAb candidates could not only neutralize viruses carrying subtype B envelopes, corresponding to the Env molecule used for immunization and selection, but were also efficient in neutralizing a broad panel of envelopes from subtypes A, C, G, CRF01_AE, and CRF02_AG, including tier 3 viruses. Interestingly, sdAb multimers exhibited a broader neutralizing activity spectrum than the parental sdAb monomers. The extreme stability and high recombinant production yield combined with their broad neutralization capacity make these sdAbs new potential microbicide candidates for HIV-1 transmission prevention.
Project description:Identifying characteristics of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope that are effective in generating broad, protective antibodies remains a hurdle to HIV vaccine design. Emerging evidence of the development of broad and potent neutralizing antibodies in HIV-infected subjects suggests that founder and subsequent progeny viruses may express unique antigenic motifs that contribute to this developmental pathway. We hypothesize that over the course of natural infection, B cells are programmed to develop broad antibodies by exposure to select populations of emerging envelope quasispecies variants. To test this hypothesis, we identified two unrelated subjects whose antibodies demonstrated increasing neutralization breadth against a panel of HIV-1 isolates over time. Full-length functional env genes were cloned longitudinally from these subjects from months after infection through 2.6 to 5.8 years of infection. Motifs associated with the development of breadth in published, cross-sectional studies were found in both subjects. We compared the immunogenicity of envelope vaccines derived from time points obtained during and after broadening of neutralization activity within these subjects. Rabbits were coimmunized four times with selected multiple gp160 DNAs and gp140-trimeric envelope proteins. The affinity of the polyclonal response increased as a function of boosting. The most rapid and persistent neutralization of multiclade tier 1 viruses was elicited by envelopes that were circulating in plasma at time points prior to the development of 50% neutralization breadth in both human subjects. The breadth elicited in rabbits was not improved by exposure to later envelope variants. These data have implications for vaccine development in describing a target time point to identify optimal envelope immunogens.Vaccine protection against viral infections correlates with the presence of neutralizing antibodies; thus, vaccine components capable of generating potent neutralization are likely to be critical constituents in an effective HIV vaccine. However, vaccines tested thus far have elicited only weak antibody responses and very modest, waning protection. We hypothesized that B cells develop broad antibodies by exposure to the evolving viral envelope population and tested this concept using multiple envelopes from two subjects who developed neutralization breadth within a few years of infection. We compared different combinations of envelopes from each subject to identify the most effective immunogens and regimens. In each subject, use of HIV envelopes circulating during the early development and maturation of breadth generated more-potent antibodies that were modestly cross neutralizing. These data suggest a new approach to identifying envelope immunogens that may be more effective in generating protective antibodies in humans.
Project description:The HIV-1 envelope (Env) is the target for neutralizing antibodies and exists on the surface of virions in open or closed conformations. Difficult-to-neutralize viruses (tier 2) express Env in a closed conformation antigenic for broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) but not for third variable region (V3) antibodies. Here we show that select V3 macaque antibodies elicited by Env vaccination can neutralize 26% of otherwise tier 2 HIV-1 isolates in standardized virus panels. The V3 antibodies only bound to Env in its open conformation. Thus, Envs on tier 2 viruses sample a state where the V3 loop is not in its closed conformation position. Envelope second variable region length, glycosylation sites and V3 amino acids were signatures of neutralization sensitivity. This study determined that open conformations of Env with V3 exposed are present on a subset of otherwise neutralization-resistant virions, therefore neutralization of tier 2 HIV-1 does not always indicate bnAb induction.
Project description:Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1 provides a model for studying the role of passively acquired antibodies in preventing HIV infection. We determined the titers of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against six primary isolates of clades B and CRF01_AE in sera from 45 transmitting and 45 nontransmitting mothers matched for the main independent factors associated with MTCT in Thailand. A lower risk of MTCT, particularly for intrapartum transmission, was associated only with higher NAb titers against the CRF01_AE strain, MBA. The envelope glycoprotein of this strain showed an unusually long V2 domain of 63 amino acids, encoding six potential N-linked glycosylation sites. We provided experimental data indicating that the extended V2 domain contributed to the higher level of resistance to neutralization by mothers' sera in this strain. Taken together the data suggest that some primary isolates with specific properties may be useful indicators for identifying protective antibodies.
Project description:Densely arranged N-linked glycans shield the HIV-1 envelope (Env) trimer from antibody recognition. Strain-specific breaches in this shield (glycan holes) can be targets of vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies that lack breadth. To understand the interplay between glycan holes and neutralization breadth in HIV-1 infection, we developed a sequence- and structure-based approach to identify glycan holes for individual Env sequences that are shielded in most M-group viruses. Applying this approach to 12 longitudinally followed individuals, we found that transmitted viruses with more intact glycan shields correlated with development of greater neutralization breadth. Within 2 years, glycan acquisition filled most glycan holes present at transmission, indicating escape from hole-targeting neutralizing antibodies. Glycan hole filling generally preceded the time to first detectable breadth, although time intervals varied across hosts. Thus, completely glycan-shielded viruses were associated with accelerated neutralization breadth development, suggesting that Env immunogens with intact glycan shields may be preferred components of AIDS vaccines.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Recent efforts in HIV-1 vaccine design have focused on immunogens that evoke potent neutralizing antibody responses to a broad spectrum of viruses circulating worldwide. However, the development of effective vaccines will depend on the identification and characterization of the neutralizing antibodies and their epitopes. We developed bioinformatics methods to predict epitope networks and antigenic determinants using structural information, as well as corresponding genotypes and phenotypes generated by a highly sensitive and reproducible neutralization assay.282 clonal envelope sequences from a multiclade panel of HIV-1 viruses were tested in viral neutralization assays with an array of broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs: b12, PG9,16, PGT121 - 128, PGT130 - 131, PGT135 - 137, PGT141 - 145, and PGV04). We correlated IC50 titers with the envelope sequences, and used this information to predict antibody epitope networks. Structural patches were defined as amino acid groups based on solvent-accessibility, radius, atomic depth, and interaction networks within 3D envelope models. We applied a boosted algorithm consisting of multiple machine-learning and statistical models to evaluate these patches as possible antibody epitope regions, evidenced by strong correlations with the neutralization response for each antibody. RESULTS: We identified patch clusters with significant correlation to IC50 titers as sites that impact neutralization sensitivity and therefore are potentially part of the antibody binding sites. Predicted epitope networks were mostly located within the variable loops of the envelope glycoprotein (gp120), particularly in V1/V2. Site-directed mutagenesis experiments involving residues identified as epitope networks across multiple mAbs confirmed association of these residues with loss or gain of neutralization sensitivity. CONCLUSIONS: Computational methods were implemented to rapidly survey protein structures and predict epitope networks associated with response to individual monoclonal antibodies, which resulted in the identification and deeper understanding of immunological hotspots targeted by broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibodies.
Project description:Vaccine-induced antibodies that interfere with viral entry are the protective correlate of most existing prophylactic vaccines. However, for highly variable viruses such as HIV-1, the ability to elicit broadly neutralizing antibody responses through vaccination has proven to be extremely difficult. The major targets for HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies are the viral envelope glycoprotein trimers on the surface of the virus that mediate receptor binding and entry. HIV-1 has evolved many mechanisms on the surface of envelope glycoproteins to evade antibody-mediated neutralization, including the masking of conserved regions by glycan, quaternary protein interactions and the presence of immunodominant variable elements. The primary challenge in the development of an HIV-1 vaccine that elicits broadly neutralizing antibodies therefore lies in the design of suitable envelope glycoprotein immunogens that circumvent these barriers. Here, we describe neutralizing determinants on the viral envelope glycoproteins that are defined by their function in receptor binding or by rare neutralizing antibodies isolated from HIV-infected individuals. We also describe the nonvariable cellular receptors involved in the HIV-1 entry process, or other cellular proteins, and ongoing studies to determine if antibodies against these proteins have efficacy as therapeutic reagents or, in some cases, as vaccine targets to interfere with HIV-1 entry.