Vaccines (Basel) 2021 Jul 6;9(7). Epub 2021 Jul 6.
Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Molecular Microbiology (Virology), University of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.
Stabilization of the HIV-1 Envelope glycoprotein trimer (Env) in its native pre-fusion closed conformation is regarded as one of several requirements for the induction of neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses, which, in turn, will most likely be a prerequisite for the development of an efficacious preventive vaccine. Here, we systematically analyzed how the stepwise stabilization of a clade C consensus (ConC) Env immunogen impacts biochemical and biophysical protein traits such as antigenicity, thermal stability, structural integrity, and particle size distribution. The increasing degree of conformational rigidification positively correlates with favorable protein characteristics, leading to optimized homogeneity of the protein preparations, increased thermal stability, and an overall favorable binding profile of structure-dependent broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) and non-neutralizing antibodies (non-nAbs). Read More