HIV Under Pressure

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Science  25 Jan 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6118, pp. 375
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6118.375-c

The RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial was the first clinically validated preventative vaccine to show efficacy against HIV infection. Since the release of these results, there has been great interest in understanding how protection occurred. Protection correlated with antibodies against the V1 and V2 regions of the gp120 envelope protein of HIV-1. In addition, increased efficacy was seen against virus strains that matched the vaccine strain at V2 residue 169. Liao et al. isolated four antibodies from RV144 vaccines that were specific for V2 and residue 169. These antibodies were able to neutralize several lab strains of HIV-1 and could kill CD4÷ T cells that were infected with field-isolated strains of the virus. Structural analysis of two of the antibodies, along with a previously described broadly neutralizing antibody that recognizes V2, demonstrated that although the antibodies recognized similar residues of V2, these residues were in very different conformations. Such structural variation suggests that this may be a site of viral vulnerability and implies that the vaccine may have induced immune pressure in this region.

Immunity 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.11.011 (2013).

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