Structure and immunogenicity of a stabilized HIV-1 envelope trimer based on a group-M consensus sequence.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:Two-component, self-assembling nanoparticles represent a versatile platform for multivalent presentation of viral antigens. Computational design of protein nanoparticles with differing sizes and geometries enables combination with antigens of choice to test novel multimerization concepts in immunization strategies where the goal is to improve the induction and maturation of neutralizing antibody lineages. Here, we describe detailed antigenic, structural, and functional characterization of computationally designed tetrahedral, octahedral, and icosahedral nanoparticle immunogens displaying trimeric HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) ectodomains. Env trimers, based on subtype A (BG505) or consensus group M (ConM) sequences and engineered with SOSIP stabilizing mutations, were fused to an underlying trimeric building block of each nanoparticle. Initial screening yielded one icosahedral and two tetrahedral nanoparticle candidates, capable of presenting twenty or four copies of the Env trimer. A number of analyses, including detailed structural characterization by cryo-EM, demonstrated that the nanoparticle immunogens possessed the intended structural and antigenic properties. When the immunogenicity of ConM-SOSIP trimers presented on a two-component tetrahedral nanoparticle or as soluble proteins were compared in rabbits, the two immunogens elicited similar serum antibody binding titers against the trimer component. Neutralizing antibody titers were slightly elevated in the animals given the nanoparticle immunogen and were initially more focused to the trimer apex. Altogether, our findings indicate that tetrahedral nanoparticles can be successfully applied for presentation of HIV Env trimer immunogens; however, the optimal implementation to different immunization strategies remains to be determined.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Major neutralizing antibody immune evasion strategies of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimer include conformational and structural instability. Stabilized soluble trimers such as BG505 SOSIP.664 mimic the structure of virion-associated Env but nevertheless sample different conformational states. Here we demonstrate that treating BG505 SOSIP.664 trimers with glutaraldehyde or a heterobifunctional cross-linker introduces additional stability with relatively modest effects on antigenicity. Thus, most broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) epitopes were preserved after cross-linking, whereas the binding of most weakly or nonneutralizing antibodies (non-NAb) was reduced. Cross-linking stabilized all Env conformers present within a mixed population, and individual conformers could be isolated by bNAb affinity chromatography. Both positive selection of cross-linked conformers using the quaternary epitope-specific bNAbs PGT145, PGT151, and 3BC315 and negative selection with non-NAbs against the V3 region enriched for trimer populations with improved antigenicity for bNAbs. Similar results were obtained using the clade B B41 SOSIP.664 trimer. The cross-linking method may, therefore, be useful for countering the natural conformational heterogeneity of some HIV-1 Env proteins and, by extrapolation, also vaccine immunogens from other pathogens. IMPORTANCE:The development of a vaccine to induce protective antibodies against HIV-1 is of primary public health importance. Recent advances in immunogen design have provided soluble recombinant envelope glycoprotein trimers with near-native morphology and antigenicity. However, these trimers are conformationally flexible, potentially reducing B-cell recognition of neutralizing antibody epitopes. Here we show that chemical cross-linking increases trimer stability, reducing binding of nonneutralizing antibodies while largely maintaining neutralizing antibody binding. Cross-linking followed by positive or negative antibody affinity selection of individual stable conformational variants further improved the antigenic and morphological characteristics of the trimers. This approach may be generally applicable to HIV-1 Env and also to other conformationally flexible pathogen antigens.
Project description:The trimeric envelope glycoproteins (Env) on the surface of HIV-1 virions are the targets for neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). No candidate HIV-1 immunogen has yet induced potent, broadly active NAbs (bNAbs). Part of the explanation may be that previously tested Env proteins inadequately mimic the functional, native Env complex. Trimerization and the proteolytic processing of Env precursors into gp120 and gp41 profoundly alter antigenicity, but soluble cleaved trimers are too unstable to serve as immunogens. By introducing stabilizing mutations (SOSIP), we constructed soluble, cleaved Env trimers derived from the HIV-1 subtype A isolate BG505 that resemble native Env spikes on virions both structurally and antigenically.We used surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to quantify antibody binding to different forms of BG505 Env: the proteolytically cleaved SOSIP.664 trimers, cleaved gp120-gp41ECTO protomers, and gp120 monomers. Non-NAbs to the CD4-binding site bound only marginally to the trimers but equally well to gp120-gp41ECTO protomers and gp120 monomers, whereas the bNAb VRC01, directed to the CD4bs, bound to all three forms. In contrast, bNAbs to V1V2 glycan-dependent epitopes bound preferentially (PG9 and PG16) or exclusively (PGT145) to trimers. We also explored the antigenic consequences of three different features of SOSIP.664 gp140 trimers: the engineered inter-subunit disulfide bond, the trimer-stabilizing I559P change in gp41ECTO, and proteolytic cleavage at the gp120-gp41ECTO junction. Each of these three features incrementally promoted native-like trimer antigenicity. We compared Fab and IgG versions of bNAbs and validated a bivalent model of IgG binding. The NAbs showed widely divergent binding kinetics and degrees of binding to native-like BG505 SOSIP.664. High off-rate constants and low stoichiometric estimates of NAb binding were associated with large amounts of residual infectivity after NAb neutralization of the corresponding BG505.T332N pseudovirus.The antigenicity and structural integrity of cleaved BG505 SOSIP.664 trimers render these proteins good mimics of functional Env spikes on virions. In contrast, uncleaved gp140s antigenically resemble individual gp120-gp41ECTO protomers and gp120 monomers, but not native trimers. Although NAb binding to functional trimers may thus be both necessary and sufficient for neutralization, the kinetics and stoichiometry of the interaction influence the neutralizing efficacy of individual NAbs.
Project description:The trimeric envelope (Env) spike is the focus of vaccine design efforts aimed at generating broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to protect against HIV-1 infection. Three recent developments have facilitated a thorough investigation of the antigenic structure of the Env trimer: 1) the isolation of many bNAbs against multiple different epitopes; 2) the generation of a soluble trimer mimic, BG505 SOSIP.664 gp140, that expresses most bNAb epitopes; 3) facile binding assays involving the oriented immobilization of tagged trimers. Using these tools, we generated an antigenic map of the trimer by antibody cross-competition. Our analysis delineates three well-defined epitope clusters (CD4 binding site, quaternary V1V2 and Asn332-centered oligomannose patch) and new epitopes at the gp120-gp41 interface. It also identifies the relationships among these clusters. In addition to epitope overlap, we defined three more ways in which antibodies can cross-compete: steric competition from binding to proximal but non-overlapping epitopes (e.g., PGT151 inhibition of 8ANC195 binding); allosteric inhibition (e.g., PGT145 inhibition of 1NC9, 8ANC195, PGT151 and CD4 binding); and competition by reorientation of glycans (e.g., PGT135 inhibition of CD4bs bNAbs, and CD4bs bNAb inhibition of 8ANC195). We further demonstrate that bNAb binding can be complex, often affecting several other areas of the trimer surface beyond the epitope. This extensive analysis of the antigenic structure and the epitope interrelationships of the Env trimer should aid in design of both bNAb-based therapies and vaccines intended to induce bNAbs.
Project description:A successful HIV-1 vaccine will likely need to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) that target the envelope glycoprotein (Env) spike on the virus. Native-like recombinant Env trimers of the SOSIP design now serve as a platform for achieving this challenging goal. However, SOSIP trimers usually do not bind efficiently to the inferred germline precursors of bNAbs (gl-bNAbs). We hypothesized that the inherent flexibilities of the V1 and V2 variable loops in the Env trimer contribute to the poor recognition of gl-bNAb epitopes at the trimer apex that extensively involve V2 residues. To reduce local V2 flexibility and improve the binding of V2-dependent bNAbs and gl-bNAbs, we designed BG505 SOSIP.664 trimer variants containing newly created disulfide bonds intended to stabilize the V2 loop in an optimally antigenic configuration. The first variant, I184C/E190C, contained a new disulfide bond within the V2 loop, whereas the second variant, E153C/R178C, had a new disulfide bond that cross-linked V2 and V1. The resulting engineered native-like trimer variants were both more reactive with and were neutralized by V2 bNAbs and gl-bNAbs, a finding that may be valuable in the design of germline targeting and boosting trimer immunogens to create an antigenic conformation optimal for HIV vaccine development.
Project description:Despite enormous efforts no HIV-1 vaccine has been developed that elicits broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to protect against infection to date. The high antigenic diversity and dense N-linked glycan armor, which covers nearly the entire HIV-1 envelope protein (Env), are major roadblocks for the development of bNAbs by vaccination. In addition, the naive human antibody repertoire features a low frequency of exceptionally long heavy chain complementary determining regions (CDRH3s), which is a typical characteristic that many HIV-1 bNAbs use to penetrate the glycan armor. Native-like Env trimer immunogens can induce potent but strain-specific neutralizing antibody responses in animal models but how to overcome the many obstacles towards the development of bNAbs remains a challenge. Here, we review recent HIV-1 Env immunization studies and discuss strategies to guide strain-specific antibody responses towards neutralization breadth.
Project description:A major goal for HIV-1 vaccine development is an ability to elicit strong and durable broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) responses. The trimeric envelope glycoprotein (Env) spikes on HIV-1 are known to contain multiple epitopes that are susceptible to bNAbs isolated from infected individuals. Nonetheless, all trimeric and monomeric Env immunogens designed to date have failed to elicit such antibodies. We report the structure-guided design of HIV-1 cyclically permuted gp120 that forms homogeneous, stable trimers, and displays enhanced binding to multiple bNAbs, including VRC01, VRC03, VRC-PG04, PGT128, and the quaternary epitope-specific bNAbs PGT145 and PGDM1400. Constructs that were cyclically permuted in the V1 loop region and contained an N-terminal trimerization domain to stabilize V1V2-mediated quaternary interactions, showed the highest homogeneity and the best antigenic characteristics. In guinea pigs, a DNA prime-protein boost regimen with these new gp120 trimer immunogens elicited potent neutralizing antibody responses against highly sensitive Tier 1A isolates and weaker neutralizing antibody responses with an average titer of about 115 against a panel of heterologous Tier 2 isolates. A modest fraction of the Tier 2 virus neutralizing activity appeared to target the CD4 binding site on gp120. These results suggest that cyclically permuted HIV-1 gp120 trimers represent a viable platform in which further modifications may be made to eventually achieve protective bNAb responses.
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:The production of native-like recombinant versions of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimer requires overcoming the natural flexibility and instability of the complex. The engineered BG505 SOSIP.664 trimer mimics the structure and antigenicity of native Env. Here, we describe how the introduction of new disulfide bonds between the glycoprotein (gp)120 and gp41 subunits of SOSIP trimers of the BG505 and other genotypes improves their stability and antigenicity, reduces their conformational flexibility, and helps maintain them in the unliganded conformation. The resulting next-generation SOSIP.v5 trimers induce strong autologous tier-2 neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses in rabbits. In addition, the BG505 SOSIP.v6 trimers induced weak heterologous NAb responses against a subset of tier-2 viruses that were not elicited by the prototype BG505 SOSIP.664. These stabilization methods can be applied to trimers from multiple genotypes as components of multivalent vaccines aimed at inducing broadly NAbs (bNAbs).
Project description:Epitope-targeted HIV vaccine design seeks to focus antibody responses to broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) sites by sequential immunization. A chimpanzee simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) envelope (Env) shares a single bnAb site, the variable loop 2 (V2)-apex, with HIV, suggesting its possible utility in an HIV immunization strategy. Here, we generate a chimpanzee SIV Env trimer, MT145K, which displays selective binding to HIV V2-apex bnAbs and precursor versions, but no binding to other HIV specificities. We determine the structure of the MT145K trimer by cryo-EM and show that its architecture is remarkably similar to HIV Env. Immunization of an HIV V2-apex bnAb precursor Ab-expressing knockin mouse with the chimpanzee MT145K trimer induces HIV V2-specific neutralizing responses. Subsequent boosting with an HIV trimer cocktail induces responses that exhibit some virus cross-neutralization. Overall, the chimpanzee MT145K trimer behaves as expected from design both in vitro and in vivo and is an attractive potential component of a sequential immunization regimen to induce V2-apex bnAbs.