Inhibitory Effect of Individual or Combinations of Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies and Antiviral Reagents against Cell-Free and Cell-to-Cell HIV-1 Transmission.
UNLABELLED: To date, most therapeutic and vaccine candidates for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are evaluated preclinically for efficacy against cell-free viral challenges. However, cell-associated HIV-1 is suggested to be a major contributor to sexual transmission by mucosal routes. To determine if neutralizing antibodies or inhibitors block cell-free and cell-associated virus transmission of diverse HIV-1 strains with different efficiencies, we tested 12 different antibodies and five inhibitors against four green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled HIV-1 envelope (Env) variants from transmitted/founder (T/F) or chronic infection isolates. We evaluated antibody/inhibitor-mediated virus neutralization using either TZM-bl target cells, in which infectivity was determined by virus-driven luciferase expression, or A3R5 lymphoblastoid target cells, in which infectivity was evaluated by GFP expression. In both the TZM-bl and A3R5 assays, cell-free virus or infected CD4+ lymphocytes were used as targets for neutralization. We further hypothesized that the combined use of specific neutralizing antibodies targeting HIV-1 Env would more effectively prevent cell-associated virus transmission than the use of individual antibodies. The tested antibody combinations included two gp120-directed antibodies, VRC01 and PG9, or VRC01 with the gp41-directed antibody 10E8. Our results demonstrated that cell-associated virus was less sensitive to neutralizing antibodies and inhibitors, particularly using the A3R5 neutralization assay, and the potencies of these neutralizing agents differed among Env variants. A combination of different neutralizing antibodies that target specific sites on gp120 led to a significant reduction in cell-associated virus transmission. These assays will help identify ideal combinations of broadly neutralizing antibodies to use for passive preventive antibody administration and further characterize targets for the most effective neutralizing antibodies/inhibitors. IMPORTANCE: Prevention of the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) remains a prominent goal of HIV research. The relative contribution of HIV-1 within an infected cell versus cell-free HIV-1 to virus transmission remains debated. It has been suggested that cell-associated virus is more efficient at transmitting HIV-1 and more difficult to neutralize than cell-free virus. Several broadly neutralizing antibodies and retroviral inhibitors are currently being studied as potential therapies against HIV-1 transmission. The present study demonstrates a decrease in neutralizing antibody and inhibitor efficiencies against cell-associated compared to cell-free HIV-1 transmission among different strains of HIV-1. We also observed a significant reduction in virus transmission using a combination of two different neutralizing antibodies that target specific sites on the outermost region of HIV-1, the virus envelope. Therefore, our findings support the use of antibody combinations against both cell-free and cell-associated virus in future candidate therapy regimens.
Gombos, RB; Kolodkin-Gal, D; Eslamizar, L; Owuor, JO; Mazzola, E; Gonzalez, AM; Korioth-Schmitz, B; Gelman, RS; Montefiori, DC; Haynes, BF; Schmitz, JE
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