ABSTRACT: 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 glycan shield on the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) envelope (Env) glycoprotein has drawn attention as a target for HIV-1 vaccine design given that an increasing number of potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) recognize epitopes entirely or partially comprised of high mannose type N-linked glycans. In an attempt to generate immunogens that target the glycan shield of HIV-1, we previously engineered a triple mutant (TM) strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that results in exclusive presentation of high mannose type N-glycans, and identified five TM yeast glycoproteins that support strong binding of 2G12, a bNAb that targets a cluster of high mannose glycans on the gp120 subunit of Env. Here, we further analyzed the antigenicity and immunogenicity of these proteins in inducing anti-HIV responses. Our study demonstrated that the 2G12-reactive TM yeast glycoproteins efficiently bound to recently identified bNAbs including PGT125-130 and PGT135 that recognize high mannose glycan-dependent epitopes. Immunization of rabbits with a single TM yeast glycoprotein (Gp38 or Pst1), when conjugated to a promiscuous T-cell epitope peptide and coadministered with a Toll-like receptor 2 agonist, induced glycan-specific HIV-1 Env cross-reactive antibodies. The immune sera bound to both synthetic mannose oligosaccharides and gp120 proteins from a broad range of HIV-1 strains. The purified antibodies recognized and captured virions that contain both complex- and high mannose-type of N-glycans, and potently neutralized virions from different HIV-1 clades but only when the virions were enforced to retain high mannose N-glycans. This study provides insights into the elicitation of anti-carbohydrate, HIV-1 Env-cross reactive antibodies with a heterologous glycoprotein and may have applications in the design and administration of immunogens that target the viral glycan shield for development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine.
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:Densely arranged N-linked glycans shield the HIV-1 envelope (Env) trimer from antibody recognition. Strain-specific breaches in this shield (glycan holes) can be targets of vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies that lack breadth. To understand the interplay between glycan holes and neutralization breadth in HIV-1 infection, we developed a sequence- and structure-based approach to identify glycan holes for individual Env sequences that are shielded in most M-group viruses. Applying this approach to 12 longitudinally followed individuals, we found that transmitted viruses with more intact glycan shields correlated with development of greater neutralization breadth. Within 2 years, glycan acquisition filled most glycan holes present at transmission, indicating escape from hole-targeting neutralizing antibodies. Glycan hole filling generally preceded the time to first detectable breadth, although time intervals varied across hosts. Thus, completely glycan-shielded viruses were associated with accelerated neutralization breadth development, suggesting that Env immunogens with intact glycan shields may be preferred components of AIDS vaccines.
Project description:While the HIV-1-glycan shield is known to shelter Env from the humoral immune response, its quantitative impact on antibody elicitation has been unclear. Here, we use targeted deglycosylation to measure the impact of the glycan shield on elicitation of antibodies against the CD4 supersite. We engineered diverse Env trimers with select glycans removed proximal to the CD4 supersite, characterized their structures and glycosylation, and immunized guinea pigs and rhesus macaques. Immunizations yielded little neutralization against wild-type viruses but potent CD4-supersite neutralization (titers 1: >1,000,000 against four-glycan-deleted autologous viruses with over 90% breadth against four-glycan-deleted heterologous strains exhibiting tier 2 neutralization character). To a first approximation, the immunogenicity of the glycan-shielded protein surface was negligible, with Env-elicited neutralization (ID50) proportional to the exponential of the protein-surface area accessible to antibody. Based on these high titers and exponential relationship, we propose site-selective deglycosylated trimers as priming immunogens to increase the frequency of site-targeting antibodies.
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:The glycan shield of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope (Env) protein serves as a barrier to antibody-mediated neutralization and plays a critical role in transmission and infection. One of the few broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibodies, 2G12, binds to a carbohydrate epitope consisting of an array of high-mannose glycans exposed on the surface of the gp120 subunit of the Env protein. To produce proteins with exclusively high-mannose carbohydrates, we generated a mutant strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae by deleting three genes in the N-glycosylation pathway, Och1, Mnn1, and Mnn4. Glycan profiling revealed that N-glycans produced by this mutant were almost exclusively Man(8)GlcNAc(2), and four endogenous glycoproteins that were efficiently recognized by the 2G12 antibody were identified. These yeast proteins, like HIV-1 gp120, contain a large number and high density of N-linked glycans, with glycosidase digestion abrogating 2G12 cross-reactivity. Immunization of rabbits with whole Delta och1 Delta mnn1 Delta mnn4 yeast cells produced sera that recognized a broad range of HIV-1 and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Env glycoproteins, despite no HIV/SIV-related proteins being used in the immunization procedure. Analyses of one of these sera on a glycan array showed strong binding to glycans with terminal Man alpha1,2Man residues, and binding to gp120 was abrogated by glycosidase removal of high-mannose glycans and terminal Man alpha1,2Man residues, similar to 2G12. Since S. cerevisiae is genetically pliable and can be grown easily and inexpensively, it will be possible to produce new immunogens that recapitulate the 2G12 epitope and may make the glycan shield of HIV Env a practical target for vaccine development.
Project description:<h4>Unlabelled</h4>Generating neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) is a major goal of many current HIV-1 vaccine efforts. To be of practical value, these nAbs must be both potent and cross-reactive in order to be capable of preventing the transmission of the highly diverse and generally neutralization resistant (Tier-2) HIV-1 strains that are in circulation. The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) spike is the only target for nAbs. To explore whether Tier-2 nAbs can be induced by Env proteins, we immunized conventional mice with soluble BG505 SOSIP.664 trimers that mimic the native Env spike. Here, we report that it is extremely difficult for murine B cells to recognize the Env epitopes necessary for inducing Tier-2 nAbs. Thus, while trimer-immunized mice raised Env-binding IgG Abs and had high-quality T follicular helper (Tfh) cell and germinal center (GC) responses, they did not make BG505.T332N nAbs. Epitope mapping studies showed that Ab responses in mice were specific to areas near the base of the soluble trimer. These areas are not well shielded by glycans and likely are occluded on virions, which is consistent with the lack of BG505.T332N nAbs. These data inform immunogen design and suggest that it is useful to obscure nonneutralizing epitopes presented on the base of soluble Env trimers and that the glycan shield of well-formed HIV Env trimers is virtually impenetrable for murine B cell receptors (BCRs).<h4>Importance</h4>Human HIV vaccine efficacy trials have not generated meaningful neutralizing antibodies to circulating HIV strains. One possible hindrance has been the lack of immunogens that properly mimic the native conformation of the HIV envelope trimer protein. Here, we tested the first generation of soluble, native-like envelope trimer immunogens in a conventional mouse model. We attempted to generate neutralizing antibodies to neutralization-resistant circulating HIV strains. Various vaccine strategies failed to induce neutralizing antibodies to a neutralization-resistant HIV strain. Further analysis revealed that mouse antibodies targeted areas near the bottom of the soluble envelope trimers. These areas are not easily accessible on the HIV virion due to occlusion by the viral membrane and may have resulted from an absence of glycan shielding. Our results suggest that obscuring the bottom of soluble envelope trimers is a useful strategy to reduce antibody responses to epitopes that are not useful for virus neutralization.
Project description:The HIV-1-envelope (Env) trimer is covered by a glycan shield of ?90 N-linked oligosaccharides, which comprises roughly half its mass and is a key component of HIV evasion from humoral immunity. To understand how antibodies can overcome the barriers imposed by the glycan shield, we crystallized fully glycosylated Env trimers from clades A, B, and G, visualizing the shield at 3.4-3.7 Å resolution. These structures reveal the HIV-1-glycan shield to comprise a network of interlocking oligosaccharides, substantially ordered by glycan crowding, that encase the protein component of Env and enable HIV-1 to avoid most antibody-mediated neutralization. The revealed features delineate a taxonomy of N-linked glycan-glycan interactions. Crowded and dispersed glycans are differently ordered, conserved, processed, and recognized by antibody. The structures, along with glycan-array binding and molecular dynamics, reveal a diversity in oligosaccharide affinity and a requirement for accommodating glycans among known broadly neutralizing antibodies that target the glycan-shielded trimer.
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: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.