Immunogenic Display of Purified Chemically Cross Linked HIV 1 Spikes
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.
- PMID Author:
Leaman DP, Lee JH, Ward AB, Zwick MB
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