Publications by authors named "Torben Schiffner"

22 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Targeting HIV Env immunogens to B cell follicles in nonhuman primates through immune complex or protein nanoparticle formulations.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 Aug 5;5(1):72. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.

Following immunization, high-affinity antibody responses develop within germinal centers (GCs), specialized sites within follicles of the lymph node (LN) where B cells proliferate and undergo somatic hypermutation. Antigen availability within GCs is important, as B cells must acquire and present antigen to follicular helper T cells to drive this process. However, recombinant protein immunogens such as soluble human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) envelope (Env) trimers do not efficiently accumulate in follicles following traditional immunization. Here, we demonstrate two strategies to concentrate HIV Env immunogens in follicles, via the formation of immune complexes (ICs) or by employing self-assembling protein nanoparticles for multivalent display of Env antigens. Using rhesus macaques, we show that within a few days following immunization, free trimers were present in a diffuse pattern in draining LNs, while trimer ICs and Env nanoparticles accumulated in B cell follicles. Whole LN imaging strikingly revealed that ICs and trimer nanoparticles concentrated in as many as 500 follicles in a single LN within two days after immunization. Imaging of LNs collected seven days postimmunization showed that Env nanoparticles persisted on follicular dendritic cells in the light zone of nascent GCs. These findings suggest that the form of antigen administered in vaccination can dramatically impact localization in lymphoid tissues and provides a new rationale for the enhanced immune responses observed following immunization with ICs or nanoparticles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-00223-1DOI Listing
August 2020

Vaccine elicitation of HIV broadly neutralizing antibodies from engineered B cells.

Nat Commun 2020 11 17;11(1):5850. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.

HIV broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) can suppress viremia and protect against HIV infection. However, their elicitation is made difficult by low frequencies of appropriate precursor B cell receptors and the complex maturation pathways required to generate bnAbs from these precursors. Antibody genes can be engineered into B cells for expression as both a functional antigen receptor on cell surfaces and as secreted antibody. Here, we show that HIV bnAb-engineered primary mouse B cells can be adoptively transferred and vaccinated in immunocompetent mice resulting in the expansion of durable bnAb memory and long-lived plasma cells. Somatic hypermutation after immunization indicates that engineered cells have the capacity to respond to an evolving pathogen. These results encourage further exploration of engineered B cell vaccines as a strategy for durable elicitation of HIV bnAbs to protect against infection and as a contributor to a functional HIV cure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19650-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7673113PMC
November 2020

B cells expressing authentic naive human VRC01-class BCRs can be recruited to germinal centers and affinity mature in multiple independent mouse models.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 09 1;117(37):22920-22931. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, La Jolla, CA 92037;

Animal models of human antigen-specific B cell receptors (BCRs) generally depend on "inferred germline" sequences, and thus their relationship to authentic naive human B cell BCR sequences and affinities is unclear. Here, BCR sequences from authentic naive human VRC01-class B cells from healthy human donors were selected for the generation of three BCR knockin mice. The BCRs span the physiological range of affinities found in humans, and use three different light chains (VK3-20, VK1-5, and VK1-33) found among subclasses of naive human VRC01-class B cells and HIV broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). The germline-targeting HIV immunogen eOD-GT8 60mer is currently in clinical trial as a candidate bnAb vaccine priming immunogen. To attempt to model human immune responses to the eOD-GT8 60mer, we tested each authentic naive human VRC01-class BCR mouse model under rare human physiological B cell precursor frequency conditions. B cells with high (HuGL18) or medium (HuGL17) affinity BCRs were primed, recruited to germinal centers, and they affinity matured, and formed memory B cells. Precursor frequency and affinity interdependently influenced responses. Taken together, these experiments utilizing authentic naive human VRC01-class BCRs validate a central tenet of germline-targeting vaccine design and extend the overall concept of the reverse vaccinology approach to vaccine development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2004489117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7502816PMC
September 2020

Targeting HIV Env immunogens to B cell follicles in nonhuman primates through immune complex or protein nanoparticle formulations.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 5;5:72. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA.

Following immunization, high-affinity antibody responses develop within germinal centers (GCs), specialized sites within follicles of the lymph node (LN) where B cells proliferate and undergo somatic hypermutation. Antigen availability within GCs is important, as B cells must acquire and present antigen to follicular helper T cells to drive this process. However, recombinant protein immunogens such as soluble human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) envelope (Env) trimers do not efficiently accumulate in follicles following traditional immunization. Here, we demonstrate two strategies to concentrate HIV Env immunogens in follicles, via the formation of immune complexes (ICs) or by employing self-assembling protein nanoparticles for multivalent display of Env antigens. Using rhesus macaques, we show that within a few days following immunization, free trimers were present in a diffuse pattern in draining LNs, while trimer ICs and Env nanoparticles accumulated in B cell follicles. Whole LN imaging strikingly revealed that ICs and trimer nanoparticles concentrated in as many as 500 follicles in a single LN within two days after immunization. Imaging of LNs collected seven days postimmunization showed that Env nanoparticles persisted on follicular dendritic cells in the light zone of nascent GCs. These findings suggest that the form of antigen administered in vaccination can dramatically impact localization in lymphoid tissues and provides a new rationale for the enhanced immune responses observed following immunization with ICs or nanoparticles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-00223-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7406516PMC
August 2020

HIV-1 Envelope and MPER Antibody Structures in Lipid Assemblies.

Cell Rep 2020 04;31(4):107583

Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA; International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Neutralizing Antibody Center, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. Electronic address:

Structural and functional studies of HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) as a transmembrane protein have long been complicated by challenges associated with inherent flexibility of the molecule and the membrane-embedded hydrophobic regions. Here, we present approaches for incorporating full-length, wild-type HIV-1 Env, as well as C-terminally truncated and stabilized versions, into lipid assemblies, providing a modular platform for Env structural studies by single particle electron microscopy. We reconstitute a full-length Env clone into a nanodisc, complex it with a membrane-proximal external region (MPER) targeting antibody 10E8, and structurally define the full quaternary epitope of 10E8 consisting of lipid, MPER, and ectodomain contacts. By aligning this and other Env-MPER antibody complex reconstructions with the lipid bilayer, we observe evidence of Env tilting as part of the neutralization mechanism for MPER-targeting antibodies. We also adapt the platform toward vaccine design purposes by introducing stabilizing mutations that allow purification of unliganded Env with a peptidisc scaffold.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107583DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7196886PMC
April 2020

Rapid and Focused Maturation of a VRC01-Class HIV Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Lineage Involves Both Binding and Accommodation of the N276-Glycan.

Immunity 2019 07;51(1):141-154.e6

International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Neutralizing Antibody Center, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, New York, NY 10004, USA; Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. Electronic address:

The VH1-2 restricted VRC01-class of antibodies targeting the HIV envelope CD4 binding site are a major focus of HIV vaccine strategies. However, a detailed analysis of VRC01-class antibody development has been limited by the rare nature of these responses during natural infection and the lack of longitudinal sampling of such responses. To inform vaccine strategies, we mapped the development of a VRC01-class antibody lineage (PCIN63) in the subtype C infected IAVI Protocol C neutralizer PC063. PCIN63 monoclonal antibodies had the hallmark VRC01-class features and demonstrated neutralization breadth similar to the prototype VRC01 antibody, but were 2- to 3-fold less mutated. Maturation occurred rapidly within ∼24 months of emergence of the lineage and somatic hypermutations accumulated at key contact residues. This longitudinal study of broadly neutralizing VRC01-class antibody lineage reveals early binding to the N276-glycan during affinity maturation, which may have implications for vaccine design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2019.06.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6642152PMC
July 2019

The human naive B cell repertoire contains distinct subclasses for a germline-targeting HIV-1 vaccine immunogen.

Sci Transl Med 2018 07;10(448)

Division of Vaccine Discovery, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

Traditional vaccine development to prevent some of the worst current pandemic diseases has been unsuccessful so far. Germline-targeting immunogens have potential to prime protective antibodies (Abs) via more targeted immune responses. Success of germline-targeting vaccines in humans will depend on the composition of the human naive B cell repertoire, including the frequencies and affinities of epitope-specific B cells. However, the human naive B cell repertoire remains largely undefined. Assessment of antigen-specific human naive B cells among hundreds of millions of B cells from multiple donors may be used as pre-phase 1 ex vivo human testing to potentially forecast B cell and Ab responses to new vaccine designs. VRC01 is an HIV broadly neutralizing Ab (bnAb) against the envelope CD4-binding site (CD4bs). We characterized naive human B cells recognizing eOD-GT8, a germline-targeting HIV-1 vaccine candidate immunogen designed to prime VRC01-class Abs. Several distinct subclasses of VRC01-class naive B cells were identified, sharing sequence characteristics with inferred precursors of known bnAbs VRC01, VRC23, PCIN63, and N6. Multiple naive B cell clones exactly matched mature VRC01-class bnAb L-CDR3 sequences. Non-VRC01-class B cells were also characterized, revealing recurrent public light chain sequences. Unexpectedly, we also identified naive B cells related to the IOMA-class CD4bs bnAb. These different subclasses within the human repertoire had strong initial affinities () to the immunogen, up to 13 nM, and represent encouraging indications that multiple independent pathways may exist for vaccine-elicited VRC01-class bnAb development in most individuals. The frequencies of these distinct eOD-GT8 B cell specificities give insights into antigen-specific compositional features of the human naive B cell repertoire and provide actionable information for vaccine design and advancement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aat0381DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145074PMC
July 2018

Structural and immunologic correlates of chemically stabilized HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins.

PLoS Pathog 2018 05 10;14(5):e1006986. Epub 2018 May 10.

The Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, The University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Inducing broad spectrum neutralizing antibodies against challenging pathogens such as HIV-1 is a major vaccine design goal, but may be hindered by conformational instability within viral envelope glycoproteins (Env). Chemical cross-linking is widely used for vaccine antigen stabilization, but how this process affects structure, antigenicity and immunogenicity is poorly understood and its use remains entirely empirical. We have solved the first cryo-EM structure of a cross-linked vaccine antigen. The 4.2 Å structure of HIV-1 BG505 SOSIP soluble recombinant Env in complex with a CD4 binding site-specific broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) Fab fragment reveals how cross-linking affects key properties of the trimer. We observed density corresponding to highly specific glutaraldehyde (GLA) cross-links between gp120 monomers at the trimer apex and between gp120 and gp41 at the trimer interface that had strikingly little impact on overall trimer conformation, but critically enhanced trimer stability and improved Env antigenicity. Cross-links were also observed within gp120 at sites associated with the N241/N289 glycan hole that locally modified trimer antigenicity. In immunogenicity studies, the neutralizing antibody response to cross-linked trimers showed modest but significantly greater breadth against a global panel of difficult-to-neutralize Tier-2 heterologous viruses. Moreover, the specificity of autologous Tier-2 neutralization was modified away from the N241/N289 glycan hole, implying a novel specificity. Finally, we have investigated for the first time T helper cell responses to next-generation soluble trimers, and report on vaccine-relevant immunodominant responses to epitopes within BG505 that are modified by cross-linking. Elucidation of the structural correlates of a cross-linked viral glycoprotein will allow more rational use of this methodology for vaccine design, and reveals a strategy with promise for eliciting neutralizing antibodies needed for an effective HIV-1 vaccine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006986DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5944921PMC
May 2018

Structure-based design of native-like HIV-1 envelope trimers to silence non-neutralizing epitopes and eliminate CD4 binding.

Nat Commun 2017 11 21;8(1):1655. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA.

Elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) is a primary HIV vaccine goal. Native-like trimers mimicking virion-associated spikes present nearly all bnAb epitopes and are therefore promising vaccine antigens. However, first generation native-like trimers expose epitopes for non-neutralizing antibodies (non-nAbs), which may hinder bnAb induction. We here employ computational and structure-guided design to develop improved native-like trimers that reduce exposure of non-nAb epitopes in the V3-loop and trimer base, minimize both CD4 reactivity and CD4-induced non-nAb epitope exposure, and increase thermal stability while maintaining bnAb antigenicity. In rabbit immunizations with native-like trimers of the 327c isolate, improved trimers suppress elicitation of V3-directed and tier-1 neutralizing antibodies and induce robust autologous tier-2 neutralization, unlike a first-generation trimer. The improved native-like trimers from diverse HIV isolates, and the design methods, have promise to assist in the development of a HIV vaccine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01549-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5698488PMC
November 2017

HIV-1-neutralizing antibody induced by simian adenovirus- and poxvirus MVA-vectored BG505 native-like envelope trimers.

PLoS One 2017 9;12(8):e0181886. Epub 2017 Aug 9.

The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Rabbits and monkeys immunized with HIV type 1 (HIV-1) native-like BG505 SOSIP.664 (BG505s) glycoprotein trimers are known to induce antibodies that can neutralize the autologous tier-2 virus. Here, we assessed the induction of HIV-1 trimer binding and neutralizing antibody (nAb) titres when BG505s trimers were also delivered by non-replicating simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus and non-replicating poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccine vectors. First, we showed that approximately two-thirds and one-third of the trimers secreted from the ChAdOx1.BG505s (C) and MVA.BG505s (M) vaccine-infected cells, respectively, were cleaved and in a native-like conformation. Rabbits were immunized intramuscularly with these vaccine vectors and in some cases boosted with ISCOMATRIX™-adjuvanted BG505s protein trimer (P), using CCC, MMM, PPP, CPP, MPP and CMP vaccine regimens. We found that the peak trimer-binding antibody and tier-1A and autologous tier-2 nAb responses induced by the CC, CM, PPP, CPP, MPP and CMP regimens were comparable, although only PPP induced autologous tier-2 nAbs in all the immunized animals. Three animals developed weak heterologous tier-2 nAbs. These results demonstrate that ChAdOx1 and MVA vectors are useful delivery modalities for not only T-cell, but also antibody vaccine development.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0181886PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549892PMC
October 2017

Lipid interactions and angle of approach to the HIV-1 viral membrane of broadly neutralizing antibody 10E8: Insights for vaccine and therapeutic design.

PLoS Pathog 2017 02 22;13(2):e1006212. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, United States of America.

Among broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV, 10E8 exhibits greater neutralizing breadth than most. Consequently, this antibody is the focus of prophylactic/therapeutic development. The 10E8 epitope has been identified as the conserved membrane proximal external region (MPER) of gp41 subunit of the envelope (Env) viral glycoprotein and is a major vaccine target. However, the MPER is proximal to the viral membrane and may be laterally inserted into the membrane in the Env prefusion form. Nevertheless, 10E8 has not been reported to have significant lipid-binding reactivity. Here we report x-ray structures of lipid complexes with 10E8 and a scaffolded MPER construct and mutagenesis studies that provide evidence that the 10E8 epitope is composed of both MPER and lipid. 10E8 engages lipids through a specific lipid head group interaction site and a basic and polar surface on the light chain. In the model that we constructed, the MPER would then be essentially perpendicular to the virion membrane during 10E8 neutralization of HIV-1. As the viral membrane likely also plays a role in selecting for the germline antibody as well as size and residue composition of MPER antibody complementarity determining regions, the identification of lipid interaction sites and the MPER orientation with regard to the viral membrane surface during 10E8 engagement can be of great utility for immunogen and therapeutic design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006212DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5338832PMC
February 2017

HIV Vaccine Design to Target Germline Precursors of Glycan-Dependent Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies.

Immunity 2016 09 8;45(3):483-496. Epub 2016 Sep 8.

Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; The Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address:

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against the N332 supersite of the HIV envelope (Env) trimer are the most common bnAbs induced during infection, making them promising leads for vaccine design. Wild-type Env glycoproteins lack detectable affinity for supersite-bnAb germline precursors and are therefore unsuitable immunogens to prime supersite-bnAb responses. We employed mammalian cell surface display to design stabilized Env trimers with affinity for germline-reverted precursors of PGT121-class supersite bnAbs. The trimers maintained native-like antigenicity and structure, activated PGT121 inferred-germline B cells ex vivo when multimerized on liposomes, and primed PGT121-like responses in PGT121 inferred-germline knockin mice. Design intermediates have levels of epitope modification between wild-type and germline-targeting trimers; their mutation gradient suggests sequential immunization to induce bnAbs, in which the germline-targeting prime is followed by progressively less-mutated design intermediates and, lastly, with native trimers. The vaccine design strategies described could be utilized to target other epitopes on HIV or other pathogens.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5040827PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2016.08.016DOI Listing
September 2016

Chemical Cross-Linking Stabilizes Native-Like HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein Trimer Antigens.

J Virol 2016 01 28;90(2):813-28. Epub 2015 Oct 28.

The Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, The University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01942-15DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702668PMC
January 2016

The Carbomer-Lecithin Adjuvant Adjuplex Has Potent Immunoactivating Properties and Elicits Protective Adaptive Immunity against Influenza Virus Challenge in Mice.

Clin Vaccine Immunol 2015 Sep 1;22(9):1004-12. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

The Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, The University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

The continued discovery and development of adjuvants for vaccine formulation are important to safely increase potency and/or reduce the antigen doses of existing vaccines and tailor the adaptive immune response to newly developed vaccines. Adjuplex is a novel adjuvant platform based on a purified lecithin and carbomer homopolymer. Here, we analyzed the adjuvant activity of Adjuplex in mice for the soluble hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein of influenza A virus. The titration of Adjuplex revealed an optimal dose of 1% for immunogenicity, eliciting high titers of HA-specific IgG but inducing no significant weight loss. At this dose, Adjuplex completely protected mice from an otherwise lethal influenza virus challenge and was at least as effective as the adjuvants monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) and alum in preventing disease. Adjuplex elicited balanced Th1-/Th2-type immune responses with accompanying cytokines and triggered antigen-specific CD8(+) T-cell proliferation. The use of the peritoneal inflammation model revealed that Adjuplex recruited dendritic cells (DCs), monocytes, and neutrophils in the context of innate cytokine and chemokine secretion. Adjuplex neither triggered classical maturation of DCs nor activated a pathogen recognition receptor (PRR)-expressing NF-κB reporter cell line, suggesting a mechanism of action different from that reported for classical pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-activated innate immunity. Taken together, these data reveal Adjuplex to be a potent and well-tolerated adjuvant with application for subunit vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/CVI.00736-14DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4550664PMC
September 2015

Humoral responses to HIVconsv induced by heterologous vaccine modalities in rhesus macaques.

Immun Inflamm Dis 2015 Jun 11;3(2):82-93. Epub 2015 Mar 11.

Nuffield Department of Medicine, The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus Research Building, Roosevelt Drive Oxford, OX3 7DQ, UK ; Nuffield Department of Medicine, MRC Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, The John Radcliffe Oxford, OX3 9DS, UK.

Vaccines delivering T cell immunogen HIVconsv vectored by plasmid DNA, non-replicating simian adenovirus and non-replicating modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) are under clinical evaluation in phase I/IIa trials in UK, Europe, and Africa. While these vaccines aim to induce effector T cell responses specific for HIV-1, we here characterized the humoral responses induced by HIVconsv administration to macaques using six different vaccine modalities: plasmid DNA, human adenovirus serotype 5, simian adenovirus serotype 63, MVA, Semliki Forest virus replicons, and adjuvanted overlapping synthetic long peptides (SLP). We found that only the SLP formulation, but none of the genetic vaccine platforms induced antibodies recognizing linear HIVconsv epitopes, median 32/46 SLP.HIVconsv peptides. These antibodies bound to 15-mer and SLP peptides, recombinant gp120 and trimeric gp140 of HIV-1 Bal, YU2, JRFL, and UG037, but failed to react with HIV-1 Bal and IIIB virions and HIV-1 Bal- and IIIB-infected human cells, and consequently failed to induce neutralizing antibodies. The HIVconsv immunogen contains conserved regions derived from Gag, Pol, Vif, and Env proteins of HIV-1, and antibodies induced by the SLP.HIVconsv vaccination resulted in positive signals in routine HIV-1 tests. Thus, only HIVconsv delivered by SLP resulted in seroconversion, an observation that provides important guidance for recruiting volunteers into future clinical trials. Furthermore, our data confirms that vaccine delivery by SLP induces humoral as well as cellular immune responses and could be considered for inclusion in future vaccine regimens where this is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/iid3.52DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444151PMC
June 2015

Comparison of neutralizing antibody responses elicited from highly diverse polyvalent heterotrimeric HIV-1 gp140 cocktail immunogens versus a monovalent counterpart in rhesus macaques.

PLoS One 2014 9;9(12):e114709. Epub 2014 Dec 9.

MRC Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom.

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.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0114709PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4260879PMC
January 2016

Vaccinia virus virulence factor N1 can be ubiquitylated on multiple lysine residues.

J Gen Virol 2014 Sep 8;95(Pt 9):2038-2049. Epub 2014 Jun 8.

Department of Virology, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK.

Ubiquitylation is a covalent post-translational modification that regulates protein stability and is involved in many biological functions. Proteins may be modified with mono-ubiquitin or ubiquitin chains. Viruses have evolved multiple mechanisms to perturb the cell ubiquitin system and manipulate it to their own benefit. Here, we report ubiquitylation of vaccinia virus (VACV) protein N1. N1 is an inhibitor of the nuclear factor NF-κB and apoptosis that contributes to virulence, has a Bcl-2-like fold, and is highly conserved amongst orthopoxviruses. The interaction between N1 and ubiquitin occurs at endogenous protein levels during VACV infection and following ectopic expression of N1. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that N1 is covalently ubiquitylated, and heterodimers of ubiquitylated and non-ubiquitylated N1 monomers were identified, suggesting that ubiquitylation does not inhibit N1 dimerization. Studies with other VACV Bcl-2 proteins, such as C6 or B14, revealed that although these proteins also interact with ubiquitin, these interactions are non-covalent. Finally, mutagenesis of N1 showed that ubiquitylation occurs in a conventional lysine-dependent manner at multiple acceptor sites because only an N1 allele devoid of lysine residues remained unmodified. Taken together, we described a previously uncharacterized modification of the VACV protein N1 that provided a new layer of complexity to the biology of this virulence factor, and provided another example of the intricate interplay between poxviruses and the host ubiquitin system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/vir.0.065664-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4135091PMC
September 2014

Boosting of HIV-1 neutralizing antibody responses by a distally related retroviral envelope protein.

J Immunol 2014 Jun 14;192(12):5802-12. Epub 2014 May 14.

Department of Medicine Huddinge, Center for Infectious Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet, S-14186 Stockholm, Sweden;

Our knowledge of the binding sites for neutralizing Abs (NAb) that recognize a broad range of HIV-1 strains (bNAb) has substantially increased in recent years. However, gaps remain in our understanding of how to focus B cell responses to vulnerable conserved sites within the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env). In this article, we report an immunization strategy composed of a trivalent HIV-1 (clade B envs) DNA prime, followed by a SIVmac239 gp140 Env protein boost that aimed to focus the immune response to structurally conserved parts of the HIV-1 and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Envs. Heterologous NAb titers, primarily to tier 1 HIV-1 isolates, elicited during the trivalent HIV-1 env prime, were significantly increased by the SIVmac239 gp140 protein boost in rabbits. Epitope mapping of Ab-binding reactivity revealed preferential recognition of the C1, C2, V2, V3, and V5 regions. These results provide a proof of concept that a distally related retroviral SIV Env protein boost can increase pre-existing NAb responses against HIV-1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1301898DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112278PMC
June 2014

High-multiplicity HIV-1 infection and neutralizing antibody evasion mediated by the macrophage-T cell virological synapse.

J Virol 2014 Feb 4;88(4):2025-34. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Macrophage infection is considered to play an important role in HIV-1 pathogenesis and persistence. Using a primary cell-based coculture model, we show that monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) efficiently transmit a high-multiplicity HIV-1 infection to autologous CD4(+) T cells through a viral envelope glycoprotein (Env) receptor- and actin-dependent virological synapse (VS), facilitated by interactions between ICAM-1 and LFA-1. Virological synapse (VS)-mediated transmission by MDM results in high levels of T cell HIV-1 integration and is 1 to 2 orders of magnitude more efficient than cell-free infection. This mode of cell-to-cell transmission is broadly susceptible to the activity of CD4 binding site (CD4bs) and glycan or glycopeptide epitope-specific broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (bNMAbs) but shows resistance to bNMAbs targeting the Env gp41 subunit membrane-proximal external region (MPER). These data define for the first time the structure and function of the macrophage-to-T cell VS and have important implications for bNMAb activity in HIV-1 prophylaxis and therapy. IMPORTANCE The ability of HIV-1 to move directly between contacting immune cells allows efficient viral dissemination with the potential to evade antibody attack. Here, we show that HIV-1 spreads from infected macrophages to T cells via a structure called a virological synapse that maintains extended contact between the two cell types, allowing transfer of multiple infectious events to the T cell. This process allows the virus to avoid neutralization by a class of antibody targeting the gp41 subunit of the envelope glycoproteins. These results have implications for viral spread in vivo and the specificities of neutralizing antibody elicited by antibody-based vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.03245-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3911534PMC
February 2014

Cell-to-cell spread of HIV-1 and evasion of neutralizing antibodies.

Vaccine 2013 Dec 17;31(49):5789-97. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RE, United Kingdom.

Cell-to-cell spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) between immune cells was first observed over 20 years ago. During this time, the question of whether this infection route favours viral evasion of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) targeting the virus envelope glycoprotein (Env) has been repeatedly investigated, but with conflicting results. A clearer picture has formed in the last few years as more broadly neutralizing antibodies have been isolated and we gain further insight into the mechanisms of HIV-1 transmission at virological and infectious synapses. Nevertheless consensus is still lacking, a situation which may be at least partly explained by variability in the experimental approaches used to study the activity of NAbs in the cell-to-cell context. In this review we focus on the most critical question concerning the activity of NAbs against cell-to-cell transmission: is NAb inhibition of cell-to-cell HIV-1 quantitatively or qualitatively different from cell-free infection? Overall, data consistently show that NAbs are capable of blocking HIV-1 infection at synapses, supporting the concept that cell-to-cell infection occurs through directed transfer of virions accessible to the external environment. However, more recent findings suggest that higher concentrations of certain NAbs might be needed to inhibit synaptic infection, with important potential implications for prophylactic vaccine development. We discuss several mechanistic explanations for this relative and selective loss of activity, and highlight gaps in knowledge that are still to be explored.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.10.020DOI Listing
December 2013

Development of prophylactic vaccines against HIV-1.

Retrovirology 2013 Jul 17;10:72. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

The Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, The University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RE, UK.

The focus of most current HIV-1 vaccine development is on antibody-based approaches. This is because certain antibody responses correlated with protection from HIV-1 acquisition in the RV144 phase III trial, and because a series of potent and broad spectrum neutralizing antibodies have been isolated from infected individuals. Taken together, these two findings suggest ways forward to develop a neutralizing antibody-based vaccine. However, understanding of the correlates of protection from disease in HIV-1 and other infections strongly suggests that we should not ignore CTL-based research. Here we review recent progress in the field and highlight the challenges implicit in HIV-1 vaccine design and some potential solutions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1742-4690-10-72DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3722125PMC
July 2013