Glycosylation profiling to evaluate glycoprotein immunogens against HIV-1.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Much of the efforts to develop a vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have focused on the design of recombinant mimics of the viral attachment glycoprotein (Env). The leading immunogens exhibit native-like antigenic properties and are being investigated for their ability to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). Understanding the relative abundance of glycans at particular glycosylation sites on these immunogens is important as most bNAbs have evolved to recognize or evade the dense coat of glycans that masks much of the protein surface. Understanding the glycan structures on candidate immunogens enables triaging between native-like conformations and immunogens lacking key structural features as steric constraints limit glycan processing. The sensitivity of the processing state of a particular glycan to its structural environment has led to the need for quantitative glycan profiling and site-specific analysis to probe the structural integrity of immunogens. Areas covered: We review analytical methodologies for HIV immunogen evaluation and discuss how these studies have led to a greater understanding of the structural constraints that control the glycosylation state of the HIV attachment and fusion spike. Expert commentary: Total composition and site-specific glycosylation profiling are emerging as standard methods in the evaluation of Env-based immunogen candidates.
Project description:The gp120/gp41 HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) is highly glycosylated, with up to 50% of its mass consisting of N-linked glycans. This dense carbohydrate coat has emerged as a promising vaccine target, with its glycans acting as epitopes for a number of potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). Characterizing the glycan structures present on native HIV-1 Env is thus a critical goal for the design of Env immunogens. In this study, we used a complementary, multistep approach involving ion mobility mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography to comprehensively characterize the glycan structures present on HIV-1 gp120 produced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The capacity of different expression systems, including pseudoviral particles and recombinant cell surface trimers, to reproduce native-like glycosylation was then assessed. A population of oligomannose glycans on gp120 was reproduced across all expression systems, supporting this as an intrinsic property of Env that can be targeted for vaccine design. In contrast, Env produced in HEK 293T cells failed to accurately reproduce the highly processed complex-type glycan structures observed on PBMC-derived gp120, and in particular the precise linkage of sialic acid residues that cap these glycans. Finally, we show that unlike for gp120, the glycans decorating gp41 are mostly complex-type sugars, consistent with the glycan specificity of bnAbs that target this region. These findings provide insights into the glycosylation of native and recombinant HIV-1 Env and can be used to inform strategies for immunogen design and preparation.Development of an HIV vaccine is desperately needed to control new infections, and elicitation of HIV bnAbs will likely be an important component of an effective vaccine. Increasingly, HIV bnAbs are being identified that bind to the N-linked glycans coating the HIV envelope glycoproteins gp120 and gp41, highlighting them as important targets for vaccine design. It is therefore important to characterize the glycan structures present on native, virion-associated gp120 and gp41 for development of vaccines that accurately mimic native-Env glycosylation. In this study, we used a number of analytical techniques to precisely study the structures of both the oligomannose and complex-type glycans present on native Env to provide a reference for determining the ability of potential HIV immunogens to accurately replicate the glycosylation pattern on these native structures.
Project description:Many broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against HIV-1 recognize and/or penetrate the glycan shield on native, virion-associated envelope glycoprotein (Env) spikes. The same bnAbs also bind to recombinant, soluble trimeric immunogens based on the SOSIP design. While SOSIP trimers are close structural and antigenic mimics of virion Env, the extent to which their glycan structures resemble ones on infectious viruses is undefined. Here, we compare the overall glycosylation of gp120 and gp41 subunits from BG505 (clade A) virions produced in a lymphoid cell line with those from recombinant BG505 SOSIP trimers, including CHO-derived clinical grade material. We also performed detailed site-specific analyses of gp120. Glycans relevant to key bnAb epitopes are generally similar on the recombinant SOSIP and virion-derived Env proteins, although the latter do contain hotspots of elevated glycan processing. Knowledge of native versus recombinant Env glycosylation will guide vaccine design and manufacturing programs.
Project description:UNLABELLED:The high-mannose patch of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) envelope (Env) elicits broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) during natural infection relatively frequently, and consequently, this region has become a major target of vaccine design. However, it has also become clear that antibody recognition of the region is complex due, at least in part, to variability in neighboring loops and glycans critical to the epitopes. bnAbs against this region have some shared features and some distinguishing features that are crucial to understand in order to design optimal immunogens that can induce different classes of bnAbs against this region. Here, we compare two branches of a single antibody lineage, in which all members recognize the high-mannose patch. One branch (prototype bnAb PGT128) has a 6-amino-acid insertion in CDRH2 that is crucial for broad neutralization. Antibodies in this branch appear to favor a glycan site at N332 on gp120, and somatic hypermutation is required to accommodate the neighboring V1 loop glycans and glycan heterogeneity. The other branch (prototype bnAb PGT130) lacks the CDRH2 insertion. Antibodies in this branch are noticeably effective at neutralizing viruses with an alternate N334 glycan site but are less able to accommodate glycan heterogeneity. We identify a new somatic variant within this branch that is predominantly dependent on N334. The crystal structure of PGT130 offers insight into differences from PGT128. We conclude that different immunogens may be required to elicit bnAbs that have the optimal characteristics of the two branches of the lineage described. IMPORTANCE:Development of an HIV vaccine is of vital importance for prevention of new infections, and it is thought that elicitation of HIV bnAbs will be an important component of an effective vaccine. Increasingly, bnAbs that bind to the cluster of high-mannose glycans on the HIV envelope glycoprotein, gp120, are being highlighted as important templates for vaccine design. In particular, bnAbs from IAVI donor 36 (PGT125 to PGT131) have been shown to be extremely broad and potent. Combination of these bnAbs enhanced neutralization breadth considerably, suggesting that an optimal immunogen should elicit several antibodies from this family. Here we study the evolution of this antibody family to inform immunogen design. We identify two classes of bnAbs that differ in their recognition of the high-mannose patch and show that different immunogens may be required to elicit these different classes.
Project description:HIV-1 vaccine design is informed by structural studies elucidating mechanisms by which broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) recognize and/or accommodate N-glycans on the trimeric envelope glycoprotein (Env). Variability in high-mannose and complex-type Env glycoforms leads to heterogeneity that usually precludes visualization of the native glycan shield. We present 3.5-Å- and 3.9-Å-resolution crystal structures of the HIV-1 Env trimer with fully processed and native glycosylation, revealing a glycan shield of high-mannose and complex-type N-glycans, which we used to define complete epitopes of two bNAbs. Env trimer was complexed with 10-1074 (against the V3-loop) and IOMA, a new CD4-binding site (CD4bs) antibody. Although IOMA derives from VH1-2*02, the germline gene of CD4bs-targeting VRC01-class bNAbs, its light chain lacks the short CDRL3 that defines VRC01-class bNAbs. Thus IOMA resembles 8ANC131-class/VH1-46-derived CD4bs bNAbs, which have normal-length CDRL3s. The existence of bNAbs that combine features of VRC01-class and 8ANC131-class antibodies has implications for immunization strategies targeting VRC01-like bNAbs.
Project description:The extensive glycosylation of HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoprotein leaves few glycan-free holes large enough to admit broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAb). Consequently, most bnAbs must inevitably make some glycan contacts and avoid clashes with others. To investigate how Env glycan maturation regulates HIV sensitivity to bnAbs, we modified HIV-1 pseudovirus (PV) using various glycoengineering (GE) tools. Promoting the maturation of ?-2,6 sialic acid (SA) glycan termini increased PV sensitivity to two bnAbs that target the V2 apex and one to the interface between Env surface gp120 and transmembrane gp41 subunits, typically by up to 30-fold. These effects were reversible by incubating PV with neuraminidase. The same bnAbs were unusually potent against PBMC-produced HIV-1, suggesting similar ?-2,6 hypersialylated glycan termini may occur naturally. Overexpressing ?-galactosyltransferase during PV production replaced complex glycans with hybrid glycans, effectively 'thinning' trimer glycan coverage. This increased PV sensitivity to some bnAbs but ablated sensitivity to one bnAb that depends on complex glycans. Other bnAbs preferred small glycans or galactose termini. For some bnAbs, the effects of GE were strain-specific, suggesting that GE had context-dependent effects on glycan clashes. GE was also able to increase the percent maximum neutralization (i.e. saturation) by some bnAbs. Indeed, some bnAb-resistant strains became highly sensitive with GE-thus uncovering previously unknown bnAb breadth. As might be expected, the activities of bnAbs that recognize glycan-deficient or invariant oligomannose epitopes were largely unaffected by GE. Non-neutralizing antibodies were also unaffected by GE, suggesting that trimers remain compact. Unlike mature bnAbs, germline-reverted bnAbs avoided or were indifferent to glycans, suggesting that glycan contacts are acquired as bnAbs mature. Together, our results suggest that glycovariation can greatly impact neutralization and that knowledge of the optimal Env glycoforms recognized by bnAbs may assist rational vaccine design.
Project description:A goal for an HIV-1 vaccine is to overcome virus variability by inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). One key target of bnAbs is the glycan-polypeptide at the base of the envelope (Env) third variable loop (V3). We have designed and synthesized a homogeneous minimal immunogen with high-mannose glycans reflective of a native Env V3-glycan bnAb epitope (Man9-V3). V3-glycan bnAbs bound to Man9-V3 glycopeptide and native-like gp140 trimers with similar affinities. Fluorophore-labeled Man9-V3 glycopeptides bound to bnAb memory B cells and were able to be used to isolate a V3-glycan bnAb from an HIV-1-infected individual. In rhesus macaques, immunization with Man9-V3 induced V3-glycan-targeted antibodies. Thus, the Man9-V3 glycopeptide closely mimics an HIV-1 V3-glycan bnAb epitope and can be used to isolate V3-glycan bnAbs.
Project description:The gp120 subunit of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) protein is heavily glycosylated at ∼25 glycosylation sites, of which ∼7-8 are located in the V1/V2 and V3 variable loops and the others in the remaining core gp120 region. Glycans partially shield Env from recognition by the host immune system and also are believed to be indispensable for proper folding of gp120 and for viral infectivity. Previous attempts to alter glycosylation sites in Env typically involved mutating the glycosylated asparagine residues to structurally similar glutamines or alanines. Here, we confirmed that such mutations at multiple glycosylation sites greatly diminish viral infectivity and result in significantly reduced binding to both neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies. Therefore, using an alternative approach, we combined evolutionary information with structure-guided design and yeast surface display to produce properly cleaved HIV-1 Env variants that lack all 15 core gp120 glycans, yet retain conformational integrity and multiple-cycle viral infectivity and bind to several broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs), including trimer-specific antibodies and a germline-reverted version of the bNAb VRC01. Our observations demonstrate that core gp120 glycans are not essential for folding, and hence their likely primary role is enabling immune evasion. We also show that our glycan removal approach is not strain restricted. Glycan-deficient Env derivatives can be used as priming immunogens because they should engage and activate a more divergent set of germlines than fully glycosylated Env. In conclusion, these results clarify the role of core gp120 glycosylation and illustrate a general method for designing glycan-free folded protein derivatives.
Project description:Efforts to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) against HIV-1 require understanding germline bNAb recognition of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env). The VRC01-class bNAb family derived from the VH1-2*02 germline allele arose in multiple HIV-1-infected donors, yet targets the CD4-binding site on Env with common interactions. Modified forms of the 426c Env that activate germline-reverted B cell receptors are candidate immunogens for eliciting VRC01-class bNAbs. We present structures of germline-reverted VRC01-class bNAbs alone and complexed with 426c-based gp120 immunogens. Germline bNAb-426c gp120 complexes showed preservation of VRC01-class signature residues and gp120 contacts, but detectably different binding modes compared to mature bNAb-gp120 complexes. Unlike typical antibody-antigen interactions, VRC01-class germline antibodies exhibited preformed antigen-binding conformations for recognizing immunogens. Affinity maturation introduced substitutions increasing induced-fit recognition and electropositivity, potentially to accommodate negatively-charged complex-type N-glycans on gp120. These results provide general principles relevant to the unusual evolution of VRC01-class bNAbs and guidelines for structure-based immunogen design.
Project description:Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) isolated from HIV-1-infected individuals inform HIV-1 vaccine design efforts. Developing bNAbs with increased efficacy requires understanding how antibodies interact with the native oligomannose and complex-type N-glycan shield that hides most protein epitopes on HIV-1 envelope (Env). Here we present crystal structures, including a 3.8-Å X-ray free electron laser dataset, of natively glycosylated Env trimers complexed with BG18, the most potent V3/N332gp120 glycan-targeting bNAb reported to date. Our structures show conserved contacts mediated by common D gene-encoded residues with the N332gp120 glycan and the gp120 GDIR peptide motif, but a distinct Env-binding orientation relative to PGT121/10-1074 bNAbs. BG18's binding orientation provides additional contacts with N392gp120 and N386gp120 glycans near the V3-loop base and engages protein components of the V1-loop. The BG18-natively-glycosylated Env structures facilitate understanding of bNAb-glycan interactions critical for using V3/N332gp120 bNAbs therapeutically and targeting their epitope for immunogen design.
Project description:The HIV-1 envelope (Env) is a key determinant in mediating viral entry and fusion to host cells and is a major target for HIV vaccine development. While Env is typically about 50% glycan by mass, glycosylation sites are known to evolve, with some glycosylation profiles presumably being more effective at facilitating neutralization escape than others. Thus, characterizing glycosylation patterns of Env and native virions and correlating glycosylation profiles with infectivity and Env immunogenicity are necessary first steps in designing effective immunogens. Herein, we describe a mass spectrometry-based strategy to determine HIV-1 Env glycosylation patterns and have compared two mammalian cell expressed recombinant Env immunogens, one a limited immunogen and one that induces cross-clade neutralizing antibodies. We have used a glycopeptide-based mass mapping approach to identify and characterize Env's glycosylation patterns by elucidating which sites are utilized and what type of glycan motif is present at each glycosylation site. Our results show that the immunogens displayed different degrees of glycosylation as well as a different characteristic set of glycan motifs. Thus, these techniques can be used to (1) define glycosylation profiles of recombinant Env proteins and Env on mature virions, (2) define specific carbohydrate moieties at each glycosylation site, and (3) determine the role of certain carbohydrates in HIV-1 infectivity and in modulation of Env immunogenicity.