Structure and Immune Recognition of the HIV Glycan Shield.
ABSTRACT: Vaccine design efforts against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have been greatly stimulated by the observation that many infected patients eventually develop highly potent broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). Importantly, these bnAbs have evolved to recognize not only the two protein components of the viral envelope protein (Env) but also the numerous glycans that form a protective barrier on the Env protein. Because Env is heavily glycosylated compared to host glycoproteins, the glycans have become targets for the antibody response. Therefore, considerable efforts have been made in developing and validating biophysical methods to elucidate the complex structure of the Env-spike glycoprotein, with its combination of glycan and protein epitopes. We illustrate here how the application of robust biophysical methods has transformed our understanding of the structure and function of the HIV Env spike and stimulated innovation in vaccine design strategies that takes into account the essential glycan components.
Project description: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: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 envelope glycoprotein (Env) is extensively modified with host-derived N-linked glycans. The high density of glycosylation on the viral spike limits enzymatic processing, resulting in numerous underprocessed oligomannose-type glycans. This extensive glycosylation not only shields conserved regions of the protein from the immune system but also acts as a target for anti-HIV broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). In response to the host immune system, the HIV glycan shield is constantly evolving through mutations affecting both the positions and numbers of potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGSs). Here, using longitudinal Env sequences from a clade C-infected individual (CAP256), we measured the impact of the shifting glycan shield during HIV infection on the abundance of oligomannose-type glycans. By analyzing the intrinsic mannose patch from a panel of recombinant CAP256 gp120s displaying high protein sequence variability and changes in PNGS number and positioning, we show that the intrinsic mannose patch persists throughout the course of HIV infection and correlates with the number of PNGSs. This effect of the glycan density on the processing state was also supported by the analysis of a cross-clade panel of recombinant gp120 glycoproteins. Together, these observations underscore the importance of glycan clustering for the generation of carbohydrate epitopes for anti-HIV bnAbs. The persistence of the intrinsic mannose patch over the course of HIV infection further highlights this epitope as an important target for HIV vaccine strategies.<h4>Importance</h4>Development of an HIV vaccine is critical for control of the HIV pandemic, and elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) is likely to be a key component of a successful vaccine response. The HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) is covered in an array of host-derived N-linked glycans often referred to as the glycan shield. This glycan shield is a target for many of the recently isolated anti-HIV bnAbs and is therefore under constant pressure from the host immune system, leading to changes in both glycan site frequency and location. This study aimed to determine whether these genetic changes impacted the eventual processing of glycans on the HIV Env and the susceptibility of the virus to neutralization. We show that despite this variation in glycan site positioning and frequency over the course of HIV infection, the mannose patch is a conserved feature throughout, making it a stable target for HIV vaccine design.
Project description:Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) that target the trimeric HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein spike (Env) are tools that can guide the design of recombinant Env proteins intended to engage the predicted human germline precursors of bNAbs (gl-bNAbs). The protein components of gl-bNAb epitopes are often masked by glycans, while mature bNAbs can evolve to accommodate or bypass these shielding glycans. The design of germline-targeting Env immunogens therefore includes the targeted deletion of specific glycan sites. However, the processing of glycans on Env trimers can be influenced by the density with which they are packed together, a highly relevant point given the essential contributions under-processed glycans make to multiple bNAb epitopes. We sought to determine the impact of the removal of 15 potential N-glycan sites (5 per protomer) from the germline-targeting soluble trimer, BG505 SOSIP.v4.1-GT1, using quantitative, site-specific N-glycan mass spectrometry analysis. We find that, compared with SOSIP.664, there was little overall change in the glycan profile but only subtle increases in the extent of processing at sites immediately adjacent to where glycans had been deleted. We conclude that multiple glycans can be deleted from BG505 SOSIP trimers without perturbing the overall integrity of the glycan shield.
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:To better understand the conformational properties of the glycan shield covering the surface of the HIV gp120/gp41 envelope (Env) trimer, and how the glycan shield impacts the accessibility of the underlying protein surface, we performed enhanced sampling molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of a model glycosylated HIV Env protein and related systems. Our simulation studies revealed a conformationally heterogeneous glycan shield with a network of glycan-glycan interactions more extensive than those observed to date. We found that partial preorganization of the glycans potentially favors binding by established broadly neutralizing antibodies; omission of several specific glycans could increase the accessibility of other glycans or regions of the protein surface to antibody or CD4 receptor binding; the number of glycans that can potentially interact with known antibodies is larger than that observed in experimental studies; and specific glycan conformations can maximize or minimize interactions with individual antibodies. More broadly, the enhanced sampling MD simulations described here provide a valuable tool to guide the engineering of specific Env glycoforms for HIV vaccine design.
Project description:Antigenic mimicry is a fundamental tenet of structure-based vaccinology. Vaccine strategies for the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) focus on the mimicry of its envelope spike (Env) due to its exposed location on the viral membrane and role in mediating infection. However, the virus has evolved to minimize the immunogenicity of conserved epitopes on the envelope spike. This principle is starkly illustrated by the presence of an extensive array of host-derived glycans, which act to shield the underlying protein from antibody recognition. Despite these hurdles, a subset of HIV-infected individuals eventually develop broadly neutralizing antibodies that recognize these virally presented glycans. Effective HIV-1 immunogens are therefore likely to involve some degree of mimicry of both the protein and glycan components of Env. As such, considerable efforts have been made to characterize the structure of the envelope spike and its glycan shield. This review summarizes the recent progress made in this field, with an emphasis on our growing understanding of the factors shaping the glycan shield of Env derived from both virus and soluble immunogens. We argue that recombinant mimics of the envelope spike are currently capable of capturing many features of the native viral glycan shield. Finally, we explore strategies through which the immunogenicity of Env glycans may be enhanced in the development of future immunogens.
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:HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) is the sole target for broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) and the focus for design of an antibody-based HIV vaccine. The Env trimer is covered by ∼90N-linked glycans, which shield the underlying protein from immune surveillance. bNAbs to HIV develop during infection, with many showing dependence on glycans for binding to Env. The ability to routinely assess the glycan type at each glycosylation site may facilitate design of improved vaccine candidates. Here we present a general mass spectrometry-based proteomics strategy that uses specific endoglycosidases to introduce mass signatures that distinguish peptide glycosites that are unoccupied or occupied by high-mannose/hybrid or complex-type glycans. The method yields >95% sequence coverage for Env, provides semi-quantitative analysis of the glycosylation status at each glycosite. We find that most glycosites in recombinant Env trimers are fully occupied by glycans, varying in the proportion of high-mannose/hybrid and complex-type glycans.
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.