The adjuvant AlhydroGel elicits higher antibody titres than AddaVax when combined with HIV-1 subtype C gp140 from CAP256.
ABSTRACT: With the HIV-1 epidemic in southern Africa still rising, a prophylactic vaccine against the region's most prolific subtype (subtype C) would be a significant step forward. In this paper we report on the effect of 2 different adjuvants, AddaVax and AlhydroGel, formulated with HIV-1 subtype C gp140, on the development of binding and neutralising antibody titres in rabbits. AddaVax is a squalene-based oil-in-water nano-emulsion (similar to MF59) which can enhance both cellular and humoral immune responses, whilst AlhydroGel (aluminium hydroxide gel) mainly drives a Th2 response. The gp140 gene tested was derived from the superinfecting virus (SU) from participant CAP256 in the CAPRISA 002 Acute infection cohort. The furin cleavage site of the Env protein was replaced with a flexible linker and an I559P mutation introduced. Lectin affinity purified soluble Env protein was mainly trimeric as judged by molecular weight using BN-PAGE and contained intact broadly neutralising epitopes for the V3-glycan supersite (monoclonal antibodies PGT128 and PGT135), the CD4 binding site (VRC01) and the V2-glycan (PG9) but not for the trimer-specific monoclonal antibodies PG16, PGT145 and CAP256-VRC26_08. When this soluble Env protein was tested in rabbits, AlhydroGel significantly enhanced soluble Env and V1V2 binding antibodies when compared to AddaVax. Finally, AlhydroGel resulted in significantly higher neutralization titres for a subtype C Tier 1A virus (MW965.26) and increased neutralization breadth to Tier 1A and 1B viruses. However, no autologous Tier 2 neutralisation was observed. These data suggest that adjuvant selection is critical for developing a successful vaccine and AlhydroGel should be further investigated. Additional purification of trimeric native-like CAP256 Env and/or priming with DNA or MVA might enhance the induction of neutralizing antibodies and possible Tier 2 HIV-1 neutralisation.
Project description:HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) remains the most relevant target for the elicitation of functional antibodies to HIV by vaccination. However, soluble Env antigens often do not elicit the desired immune responses. Delivering subunit antigens on particulate nanoparticles is an established approach to improve their immunogenicity. In this study the sequence encoding Zera®, a proline-rich domain derived from the ?-zein storage protein, was fused to either the C- or N-terminus of the superinfecting HIV-1 CAP256 gp140 envelope: Zera® generally induces the formation of protein bodies (PBs), which can significantly improve both the immunogenicity and yields of the partner protein. The expression of gp140-Zera® and Zera®-gp140 (N- and C-terminal fusions respectively) in mammalian cells was confirmed by western blot analysis and immunostaining. However, isopycnic ultracentrifugation showed that neither gp140-Zera® nor Zera®-gp140 accumulated in characteristic electron-dense PBs. gp140-Zera® elicited higher binding antibody titers in rabbits to autologous gp140 and V1V2 scaffold than Zera®-gp140. Rabbit anti-gp140-Zera® sera also had significantly higher Tier 1A neutralizing antibody titers than anti-Zera®-gp140 sera. Neither gp140-Zera® nor Zera®-gp140-specific sera neutralized Tier 1B or autologous Tier 2 viruses. These results showed that HIV-1 gp140 tagged with Zera® at either the N- or C-termini elicited high titers of gp140 and V1V2 binding antibodies, and low levels of Tier 1 neutralizing antibodies in rabbits.
Project description:A vaccine regimen that elicits broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) is a major goal in HIV-1 vaccine research. In this study, we assessed the immunogenicity of the CAP256 superinfecting viral envelope (CAP256 SU) protein delivered by modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and DNA vaccines in different prime-boost combinations followed by a soluble protein (P) boost. The envelope protein (Env) contained a flexible glycine linker and I559P mutation. Trimer-specific bNAbs PGT145, PG16, and CAP256 VRC26_08 efficiently bound to the membrane-bound CAP256 envelope expressed on the surface of cells transfected or infected with the DNA and MVA vaccines. The vaccines were tested in two different vaccination regimens in rabbits. Both regimens elicited autologous tier 2 neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) and high-titer binding antibodies to the matching CAP256 Env and CAP256 V1V2 loop scaffold. The immunogenicity of DNA and MVA vaccines expressing membrane-bound Env alone was compared to that of Env stabilized in a more native-like conformation on the surface of Gag virus-like particles (VLPs). The inclusion of Gag in the DNA and MVA vaccines resulted in earlier development of tier 2 NAbs for both vaccination regimens. In addition, a higher proportion of the rabbits primed with DNA and MVA vaccines that included Gag developed tier 2 NAbs than did those primed with vaccine expressing Env alone. Previously, these DNA and MVA vaccines expressing subtype C mosaic HIV-1 Gag were shown to elicit strong T cell responses in mice. Here we show that when the CAP256 SU envelope protein is included, these vaccines elicit autologous tier 2 NAbs.IMPORTANCE A vaccine is urgently needed to combat HIV-1, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, which remains disproportionately affected by the AIDS pandemic and accounts for the majority of new infections and AIDS-related deaths. In this study, two different vaccination regimens were compared. Rabbits that received two DNA primes followed by two modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and two protein inoculations developed better immune responses than those that received two MVA and three protein inoculations. In addition, DNA and MVA vaccines that expressed mosaic Gag VLPs presenting a stabilized Env antigen elicited better responses than Env alone, which supports the inclusion of Gag VLPs in an HIV-1 vaccine.
Project description:Eliciting neutralizing antibodies capable of inactivating a broad spectrum of HIV-1 strains is a major goal of HIV-1 vaccine design. The challenge is that envelopes (Envs) of circulating viruses are almost certainly different from any Env used in a vaccine. A novel immunogen composed of a highly diverse set of gp140 Envs including subtypes A, B, C, D and F was developed to stimulate a more cross-neutralizing antibody response. Env heterotrimers composed of up to 54 different gp140s were produced with the aim of focusing the response to the conserved regions of Env while reducing the dominance of any individual hypervariable region. Heterotrimeric gp140 Envs of inter- and intra-subtype combinations were shown to bind CD4 and a panel of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies with similar affinity to monovalent UG37 gp140. Macaques immunized with six groups of heterotrimer mixtures showed slightly more potent neutralizing antibody responses in TZM-BL tier 1 and A3R5 tier 2 pseudovirus assays than macaques immunized with monovalent Env gp140, and exhibited a marginally greater focus on the CD4-binding site. Carbopol enhanced neutralization when used as an adjuvant instead of RIBI in combination with UG37 gp140. These data indicate that cross-subtype heterotrimeric gp140 Envs may elicit some improvement of the neutralizing antibody response in macaques compared to monovalent gp140 Env.
Project description:Broadly neutralising antibodies (bNAbs) against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), such as CAP256-VRC26 are being developed for HIV prevention and treatment. These Abs carry a unique but crucial post-translational modification (PTM), namely O-sulfated tyrosine in the heavy chain complementarity determining region (CDR) H3 loop. Several studies have demonstrated that plants are suitable hosts for the generation of highly active anti-HIV-1 antibodies with the potential to engineer PTMs. Here we report the expression and characterisation of CAP256-VRC26 bNAbs with posttranslational modifications (PTM). Two variants, CAP256-VRC26 (08 and 09) were expressed in glycoengineered Nicotiana benthamiana plants. By in planta co-expression of tyrosyl protein sulfotransferase 1, we installed O-sulfated tyrosine in CDR H3 of both bNAbs. These exhibited similar structural folding to the mammalian cell produced bNAbs, but non-sulfated versions showed loss of neutralisation breadth and potency. In contrast, tyrosine sulfated versions displayed equivalent neutralising activity to mammalian produced antibodies retaining exceptional potency against some subtype C viruses. Together, the data demonstrate the enormous potential of plant-based systems for multiple posttranslational engineering and production of fully active bNAbs for application in passive immunisation or as an alternative for current HIV/AIDS antiretroviral therapy regimens.
Project description:The HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoprotein is the primary target of the humoral immune response and a critical vaccine candidate. However, Env is densely glycosylated and thereby substantially protected from neutralisation. Importantly, glycan N301 shields V3 loop and CD4 binding site epitopes from neutralising antibodies. Here, we use molecular dynamics techniques to evaluate the structural rearrangements that maintain the protective qualities of the glycan shield after the loss of glycan N301. We examined a naturally occurring subtype C isolate and its N301A mutant; the mutant not only remained protected against neutralising antibodies targeting underlying epitopes, but also exhibited an increased resistance to the VRC01 class of broadly neutralising antibodies. Analysis of this mutant revealed several glycans that were responsible, independently or through synergy, for the neutralisation resistance of the mutant. These data provide detailed insight into the glycan shield's ability to compensate for the loss of a glycan, as well as the cascade of glycan movements on a protomer, starting at the point mutation, that affects the integrity of an antibody epitope located at the edge of the diminishing effect. These results present key, previously overlooked, considerations for HIV-1 Env glycan research and related vaccine studies.
Project description:Many of the neutralising antibodies, isolated to date, display limited activities against the globally most prevalent HIV-1 subtypes A and C. Therefore, those subtypes are considered to be an important target for antibody-based therapy. Variable domains of llama heavy chain antibodies (VHH) have some superior properties compared with classical antibodies. Therefore we describe the application of trimeric forms of envelope proteins (Env), derived from HIV-1 of subtype A and B/C, for a prolonged immunization of two llamas. A panel of VHH, which interfere with CD4 binding to HIV-1 Env were selected with use of panning. The results of binding and competition assays to various Env, including a variant with a stabilized CD4-binding state (gp120(Ds2)), cross-competition experiments, maturation analysis and neutralisation assays, enabled us to classify the selected VHH into three groups. The VHH of group I were efficient mainly against viruses of subtype A, C and B'/C. The VHH of group II resemble the broadly neutralising antibody (bnmAb) b12, neutralizing mainly subtype B and C viruses, however some had a broader neutralisation profile. A representative of the third group, 2E7, had an even higher neutralization breadth, neutralizing 21 out of the 26 tested strains belonging to the A, A/G, B, B/C and C subtypes. To evaluate the contribution of certain amino acids to the potency of the VHH a small set of the mutants were constructed. Surprisingly this yielded one mutant with slightly improved neutralisation potency against 92UG37.A9 (subtype A) and 96ZM651.02 (subtype C). These findings and the well-known stability of VHH indicate the potential application of these VHH as anti-HIV-1 microbicides.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The durability and breadth of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific immune responses elicited through vaccination are important considerations in the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine. Responses to HIV-1 envelope subunit protein (Env) immunization in humans are often described as short-lived. METHODS:We enrolled 16 healthy volunteers who had received priming with an HIV-1 subtype B Env vaccine given with MF59 adjuvant 5-17 years previously and 20 healthy unprimed volunteers. Three booster immunizations with a heterologous subtype C trimeric gp140 protein vaccine were administered to the primed group, and the same subtype C gp140 protein vaccination regimen was administered to the unprimed subjects. RESULTS:Binding antibodies and neutralizing antibodies to tier 1 viral isolates were detected in the majority of previously primed subjects. Remarkably, a single dose of protein boosted binding and neutralizing antibody titers in 100% of primed subjects following this prolonged immunologic rest period, and CD4+ T-cell responses were boosted in 75% of primed individuals. CONCLUSIONS:These results demonstrate that HIV-1 protein immunogens can elicit durable memory T- and B-cell responses and that strong tier 1 virus neutralizing responses can be elicited by a single booster dose of protein following a long immunologic rest period. However, we found no evidence that cross-clade boosting led to a significantly broadened neutralizing antibody response.
Project description:The development of effective vaccines is urgently needed to curb the spread of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). A major focal point of current HIV vaccine research is the production of soluble envelope (Env) glycoproteins which reproduce the structure of the native gp160 trimer. These antigens are produced in mammalian cells, which requires a sophisticated infrastructure for manufacture that is mostly absent in developing countries. The production of recombinant proteins in plants is an attractive alternative for the potentially cheap and scalable production of vaccine antigens, especially for developing countries. In this study, we developed a transient expression system in Nicotiana benthamiana for the production of soluble HIV Env gp140 antigens based on two rationally selected virus isolates (CAP256 SU and Du151). The scalability of the platform was demonstrated and both affinity and size exclusion chromatography (SEC) were explored for recovery of the recombinant antigens. Rabbits immunized with lectin affinity-purified antigens developed high titres of binding antibodies, including against the V1V2 loop region, and neutralizing antibodies against Tier 1 viruses. The removal of aggregated Env species by gel filtration resulted in the elicitation of superior binding and neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore, a heterologous prime-boost regimen employing a recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (rMVA) vaccine, followed by boosts with the SEC-purified protein, significantly improved the immunogenicity. To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the immunogenicity of a near-full length plant-derived Env vaccine immunogen.
Project description:We have constructed a single chain fragment variable (scFv) phage display library from a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaque that developed unusually high-titer neutralizing antibody responses against tier-3, neutralization-resistant SIVmac239. The library was screened using trimeric (gp140) and monomeric (gp120) forms of the SIVmac239 envelope (Env) glycoprotein. We also cloned variable-heavy and variable-light (VH-VL) antibody fragments from seven previously described rhesus macaque B-cell lines (BLCLs) that produce SIV gp120-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Thirty-two gp140-specific mAbs were selected along with 20 gp120-specific ones. gp120-specific mAbs were only from the VH4 family, while gp41-specific mAbs were primarily from VH1, followed by VH4 and VH3. Rhesus macaque BLCL-derived mAbs belonged primarily to the VH4 family of antibodies followed by VH3 and a smaller number of VH1s. A preferential VH combination with V? light chain was observed with phage display-selected SIV Env-specific mAbs (gp120 and gp140), but not with BLCL-derived antibodies or the unpanned library. None of the tested antibodies had detectable neutralizing activity against tier-3 SIVmac239. The majority of gp120-specifc mAbs potently neutralized tier-1 SIVmac316 with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values below 1??g/ml. For gp140-specific antibodies, which were all specific for the gp41-subunit, 2 out of 11 tested neutralized SIVmac316 (IC50 of 7 and 5??g/ml, respectively). These data suggest an order of preferential VH segment usage for SIV-specific antibodies in rhesus macaques. These antibodies will be useful in assessing the contribution of non-neutralizing antibodies to inhibition of SIV infection in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:An HIV-1 vaccine remains elusive, in part because various factors limit the quantity and quality of the antibodies raised against the viral envelope glycoprotein complex (Env). We hypothesized that targeting Env vaccines directly to B cells, by fusing them to molecules that bind and activate these cells, would improve Env-specific antibody responses. Therefore, we fused trimeric Env gp140 to A PRoliferation-Inducing Ligand (APRIL), B-cell Activating Factor (BAFF), and CD40 Ligand (CD40L). The Env-APRIL, Env-BAFF, and Env-CD40L gp140 trimers all enhanced the expression of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), the enzyme responsible for inducing somatic hypermutation, antibody affinity maturation, and antibody class switching. They also triggered IgM, IgG, and IgA secretion from human B cells in vitro. The Env-APRIL trimers induced higher anti-Env antibody responses in rabbits, including neutralizing antibodies against tier 1 viruses. The enhanced Env-specific responses were not associated with a general increase in total plasma antibody concentrations, indicating that the effect of APRIL was specific for Env. All the rabbit sera raised against gp140 trimers, irrespective of the presence of CD40L, BAFF, or APRIL, recognized trimeric Env efficiently, whereas sera raised against gp120 monomers did not. The levels of trimer-binding and virus-neutralizing antibodies were strongly correlated, suggesting that gp140 trimers are superior to gp120 monomers as immunogens. Targeting and activating B cells with a trimeric HIV-1 Env-APRIL fusion protein may therefore improve the induction of humoral immunity against HIV-1.