Vertical HIV-1 Transmission in the Setting of Maternal Broad and Potent Antibody Responses.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Despite the worldwide availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART), approximately 150,000 pediatric HIV infections continue to occur annually. ART can dramatically reduce HIV mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), but inconsistent drug access and adherence, as well as primary maternal HIV infection during pregnancy and lactation are major barriers to eliminating vertical HIV transmission. Thus, immunologic strategies to prevent MTCT, such as an HIV vaccine, will be required to attain an HIV-free generation. A primary goal of HIV vaccine research has been to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) given the ability of passive bnAb immunization to protect against sensitive strains, yet we previously observed that HIV-transmitting mothers have more plasma neutralization breadth than nontransmitting mothers. Additionally, we have identified infant transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses that escape maternal bnAb responses. In this study, we examine a cohort of postpartum HIV-transmitting women with neutralization breadth to determine if certain maternal bnAb specificities drive the selection of infant T/F viruses. Using HIV pseudoviruses that are resistant to neutralizing antibodies targeting common bnAb epitopes, we mapped the plasma bnAb specificities of this cohort. Significantly more transmitting women with plasma bnAb activity had a mappable plasma bnAb specificity (six of seven, or 85.7%) compared to that of nontransmitting women with plasma bnAb activity (7 of 21, or 33.3%, P = 0.029 by 2-sided Fisher exact test). Our study suggests that having multispecific broad activity and/or uncommon epitope-specific bnAbs in plasma may be associated with protection against the vertical HIV transmission in the setting of maternal bnAb responses. IMPORTANCE As mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV plays a major part in the persistence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and bnAb-based passive and active vaccines are a primary strategy for HIV prevention, research in this field is of great importance. While previous MTCT research has investigated the neutralizing antibody activity of HIV-infected women, this is, to our knowledge, the largest study identifying differences in bnAb specificity of maternal plasma between transmitting and nontransmitting women. Here, we show that among HIV-infected women with broad and potent neutralization activity, more postpartum-transmitting women had a mappable plasma broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) specificity, compared to that of nontransmitting women, suggesting that the nontransmitting women more often have multispecific bnAb responses or bnAb responses that target uncommon epitopes. Such responses may be required for protection against vertical HIV transmission in the setting of maternal bnAb responses.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tu, JJ; Kumar, A; Giorgi, EE; Eudailey, J; LaBranche, CC; Martinez, DR; Fouda, GG; Moreau, Y; Thomas, A; Montefiori, D; Gao, F; Sagar, M; Permar, SR

Published Date

  • June 8, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 96 / 11

Start / End Page

  • e0023122 -

PubMed ID

  • 35536018

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9175633

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-5514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/jvi.00231-22


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States