Immunogenic Display of Purified Chemically Cross-Linked HIV-1 Spikes.

TitleImmunogenic Display of Purified Chemically Cross-Linked HIV-1 Spikes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLeaman DP, Lee J H, Ward AB, Zwick MB
JournalJ Virol
Volume89
Issue13
Pagination6725-45
Date Published07/01/2015
ISSN1098-5514
Abstract

UNLABELLED: HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) spikes are prime vaccine candidates, at least in principle, but suffer from instability, molecular heterogeneity and a low copy number on virions. We anticipated that chemical cross-linking of HIV-1 would allow purification and molecular characterization of trimeric Env spikes, as well as high copy number immunization. Broadly neutralizing antibodies bound tightly to all major quaternary epitopes on cross-linked spikes. Covalent cross-linking of the trimer also stabilized broadly neutralizing epitopes, although surprisingly some individual epitopes were still somewhat sensitive to heat or reducing agent. Immunodepletion using non-neutralizing antibodies to gp120 and gp41 was an effective method for removing non-native-like Env. Cross-linked spikes, purified via an engineered C-terminal tag, were shown by negative stain EM to have well-ordered, trilobed structure. An immunization was performed comparing a boost with Env spikes on virions to spikes cross-linked and captured onto nanoparticles, each following a gp160 DNA prime. Although differences in neutralization did not reach statistical significance, cross-linked Env spikes elicited a more diverse and sporadically neutralizing antibody response against Tier 1b and 2 isolates when displayed on nanoparticles, despite attenuated binding titers to gp120 and V3 crown peptides. Our study demonstrates display of cross-linked trimeric Env spikes on nanoparticles, while showing a level of control over antigenicity, purity and density of virion-associated Env, which may have relevance for Env based vaccine strategies for HIV-1.

IMPORTANCE: The envelope spike (Env) is the target of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies, which a successful vaccine will need to elicit. However, native Env on virions is innately labile, as well as heterogeneously and sparsely displayed. We therefore stabilized Env spikes using a chemical cross-linker and removed non-native Env by immunodepletion with non-neutralizing antibodies. Fixed native spikes were recognized by all classes of known broadly neutralizing antibodies but not by non-neutralizing antibodies and displayed on nanoparticles in high copy number. An immunization experiment in rabbits revealed that cross-linking Env reduced its overall immunogenicity; however, high-copy display on nanoparticles enabled boosting of antibodies that sporadically neutralized some relatively resistant HIV-1 isolates, albeit at a low titer. This study describes the purification of stable and antigenically correct Env spikes from virions that can be used as immunogens.

DOI10.1128/JVI.03738-14
Alternate JournalJ. Virol.
PubMed ID25878116
PubMed Central IDPMC4468504
Grant ListR01 AI093287 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
R01 AI098602 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
UM1 AI100663 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
CHAVI-ID: 
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