HIV Superinfection Drives De Novo Antibody Responses and Not Neutralization Breadth.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Developing HIV-1 vaccines that trigger broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) is a priority as bnAbs are considered key to elicitation of a protective immune response. To investigate whether the breadth of a neutralizing antibody (nAb) depended on the conservation of its epitope among circulating viruses, we examined Antibody:Envelope (Ab:Env) interactions and worldwide Env diversity. We found that sites corresponding to bnAb epitopes were as variable as other accessible, non-hypervariable Env sites (p = 0.50, Mann-Whitney U-test) with no significant relationship between epitope conservation and neutralization breadth (Spearman's ? = -0.44, adjusted p = 0.079). However, when accounting for key sites in the Ab:Env interaction, we showed that the broadest bnAbs targeted more conserved epitopes (Spearman's ? = -0.70, adjusted p = 5.0e-5). Neutralization breadth did not stem from the overall conservation of Ab epitopes but depended instead on the conservation of key sites of the Ab:Env interaction, revealing a mechanistic basis for neutralization breadth that could be exploited for vaccine design.
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:BG505 SOSIP is a well-characterized near-native recombinant HIV Envelope (Env) trimer that holds promise as part of a sequential HIV immunogen regimen to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). Rhesus macaques are considered the most appropriate pre-clinical animal model for monitoring antibody (Ab) responses. Accordingly, we report here the isolation of 45 BG505 autologous neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) with multiple specificities from SOSIP-immunized and BG505 SHIV-infected rhesus macaques. We associate the most potent neutralization with two epitopes: the C3/V5 and V1/V3 regions. We show that all of the nAbs bind in close proximity to known bnAb epitopes and might therefore sterically hinder elicitation of bnAbs. We also identify a "public clonotype" that targets the immunodominant C3/V5 nAb epitope, which suggests that common antibody rearrangements might help determine humoral responses to Env immunogens. The results highlight important considerations for vaccine design in anticipation of results of the BG505 SOSIP trimer in clinical trials.
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:Recombinant soluble HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) SOSIP trimers are a design platform for inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) by vaccination. To date, these and alternative designs of native-like trimers, given singly or in pairs, have not induced bNAbs in test animals such as rabbits or macaques. Here, we have evaluated whether trivalent and tetravalent combinations of SOSIP trimers from clades A, B, and C, delivered simultaneously or sequentially, induce better neutralizing antibody responses in rabbits than when given alone. None of the tested formulations led to the induction of bNAbs. We found that BG505 clade A trimers dominated the autologous NAb responses induced by combinations, which probably relates to the presence of immunodominant glycan holes on the BG505 trimer. Furthermore, autologous NAb responses to all individual trimers were reduced when they were delivered in combinations compared with when delivered alone, suggesting that immunogen interference had occurred. Finally, in a sequential regimen, a heterologous clade C trimer cross-boosted NAb responses that were primed by earlier immunizations with clade A and B trimers. Taken together, these findings should allow us to improve the design of immunization regimens based on native-like HIV-1 Env trimers.IMPORTANCE A successful HIV-1 vaccine most probably requires a trimeric envelope glycoprotein (Env) component, as Env is the only viral protein on the surface of the virus and therefore the only target for neutralizing antibodies. Native-like Env trimers can induce strain-specific neutralizing antibodies but not yet broadly neutralizing antibodies. To try to broaden the antibody response, we immunized rabbits with soluble native-like Env trimers from three different clades using monovalent, multivalent, and sequential regimens. We found that the neutralizing antibody response against each immunogen was reduced when the immunogens were delivered in combination or sequentially compared to the monovalent regimen. In contrast, when the Env trimers from different clades were delivered sequentially, the neutralizing antibody response could be cross-boosted. Although the combination of native-like Env trimers from different clades did not induce broadly neutralizing antibodies, the results provide clues on how to use native-like trimers in vaccination experiments.
Project description:Here we report the construction, antigenicity and initial immunogenicity testing of DNA and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccines expressing virus-like particles (VLPs) displaying sequential clade C Envelopes (Envs) that co-evolved with the elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) to the CD4 binding site (CD4bs) in HIV-infected individual CH0505. The VLP-displayed Envs showed reactivity for conformational epitopes displayed on the receptor-binding form of Env. Two inoculations of the DNA-T/F vaccine, followed by 3 inoculations of the MVA-T/F vaccine and a final inoculation of the MVA-T/F plus a gp120-T/F protein vaccine elicited nAb to the T/F virus in 2 of 4 rhesus macaques (ID50 of ~175 and ~30). Neutralizing Ab plateaued at 100% neutralization and mapped to the CD4bs like the bnAbs elicited in CH0505. The nAb did not have breadth for other tier 2 viruses. Immunizations with T/F followed by directed-lineage vaccines, both with and without co-delivery of directed-lineage gp120 boosts, failed to elicit tier 2 neutralizing Ab for the CD4bs. Thus, pulsed exposures to DNA and MVA-expressed VLPs plus gp120 protein of a T/F Env can induce autologous tier 2 nAbs to the CD4bs.
Project description: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:HIV superinfection describes the sequential infection of an individual with two or more unrelated HIV strains. Intersubtype superinfection has been shown to cause a broader and more potent heterologous neutralizing antibody response when compared to singly infected controls, yet the effects of intrasubtype superinfection remain controversial. Longitudinal samples were analyzed phylogenetically for pol and env regions using Next-Generation Sequencing and envelope cloning. The impact of CRF02_AG intrasubtype superinfection was assessed for heterologous neutralization and antibody binding responses. We compared two cases of CRF02_AG intrasubtype superinfection that revealed complete replacement of the initial virus by superinfecting CRF02_AG variants with signs of recombination. NYU6564, who became superinfected at an early time point, exhibited greater changes in antibody binding profiles and generated a more potent neutralizing antibody response post-superinfection compared to NYU6501. In contrast, superinfection occurred at a later time point in NYU6501 with strains harboring significantly longer V1V2 regions with no observable changes in neutralization patterns. Here we show that CRF02_AG intrasubtype superinfection can induce a cross-subtype neutralizing antibody response, and our data suggest timing and/or superinfecting viral envelope characteristics as contributing factors. These results highlight differential outcomes in intrasubtype superinfection and provide the first insight into cases with CRF02_AG, the fourth most prevalent HIV-1 strain worldwide.
Project description:Stabilized HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Env) that resemble the native Env are utilized in vaccination strategies aimed at inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). To limit the exposure of rare isolate-specific antigenic residues/determinants we generated a SOSIP trimer based on a consensus sequence of all HIV-1 group M isolates (ConM). The ConM trimer displays the epitopes of most known bNAbs and several germline bNAb precursors. The crystal structure of the ConM trimer at 3.9 Å resolution resembles that of the native Env trimer and its antigenic surface displays few rare residues. The ConM trimer elicits strong NAb responses against the autologous virus in rabbits and macaques that are significantly enhanced when it is presented on ferritin nanoparticles. The dominant NAb specificity is directed against an epitope at or close to the trimer apex. Immunogens based on consensus sequences might have utility in engineering vaccines against HIV-1 and other viruses.