Research Article

Rational HIV Immunogen Design to Target Specific Germline B Cell Receptors

Science  10 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6133, pp. 711-716
DOI: 10.1126/science.1234150

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text
As a service to the community, AAAS/Science has made this article free with registration.

Building Better Vaccines

In the past few years, several highly potent, broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) specific for the gp120 envelope protein of HIV-1 have been discovered. The goal of this work is to use this information to inform the design of vaccines that are able to induce such antibodies (see the Perspective by Crowe). However, because of extensive somatic hypermutation, the epitope bound by these antibodies often does not bind to the germline sequence. Jardine et al. (p. 711, published online 28 March; see the cover) used computational analysis and in vitro screening to design an immunogen that could bind to VRC01-class bNAbs and to their germline precursors. Georgiev et al. (p. 751) took advantage of the fact that only four sites on the HIV viral envelope protein seem to bind bNAbs, and sera that contain particular bNAbs show characteristic patterns of neutralization. An algorithm was developed that could successfully delineate the neutralization specificity of antibodies present in polyclonal sera from HIV-infected patients.

Abstract

Vaccine development to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) against HIV-1 is a global health priority. Potent VRC01-class bNAbs against the CD4 binding site of HIV gp120 have been isolated from HIV-1–infected individuals; however, such bNAbs have not been induced by vaccination. Wild-type gp120 proteins lack detectable affinity for predicted germline precursors of VRC01-class bNAbs, making them poor immunogens to prime a VRC01-class response. We employed computation-guided, in vitro screening to engineer a germline-targeting gp120 outer domain immunogen that binds to multiple VRC01-class bNAbs and germline precursors, and elucidated germline binding crystallographically. When multimerized on nanoparticles, this immunogen (eOD-GT6) activates germline and mature VRC01-class B cells. Thus, eOD-GT6 nanoparticles have promise as a vaccine prime. In principle, germline-targeting strategies could be applied to other epitopes and pathogens.

View Full Text

Cited By...