Regional clustering of shared neutralization determinants on primary isolates of clade C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 from South Africa.
Clade C is one of the most prevalent genetic subtypes of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in the world today and one of the least studied with respect to neutralizing antibodies. Most information on HIV-1 serology as it relates to neutralization is derived from clade B. Clade C primary isolates of HIV-1 from South Africa and Malawi were shown here to resemble clade B isolates in their resistance to inhibition by soluble CD4 and their sensitivity to neutralization by human monoclonal antibody immunoglobulin G1b12 and, to a lesser extent, 2F5. Unlike clade B isolates, however, all 16 clade C isolates examined resisted neutralization by 2G12. Infection with clade C HIV-1 in a cohort of female sex workers in South Africa generated antibodies that neutralized the autologous clade C isolate and T-cell-line-adapted (TCLA) strains of clade B. Neutralization of clade B TCLA strains was much more sensitive to the presence of autologous gp120 V3 loop peptides compared to the neutralization of clade C isolates in most cases. Thus, the native structure of gp120 on primary isolates of clade C will likely pose a challenge for neutralizing antibody induction by candidate HIV-1 vaccines much the same as it has for clade B. The autologous neutralizing antibody response following primary infection with clade C HIV-1 in South Africa matured slowly, requiring at least 4 to 5 months to become detectable. Once detectable, extensive cross-neutralization of heterologous clade C isolates from South Africa was observed, suggesting an unusual degree of shared neutralization determinants at a regional level. This high frequency of cross-neutralization differed significantly from the ability of South African clade C serum samples to neutralize clade B isolates but did not differ significantly from results of other combinations of clade B and C reagents tested in checkerboard assays. Notably, two clade C serum samples obtained after less than 2 years of infection neutralized a broad spectrum of clade B and C isolates. Other individual serum samples showed a significant clade preference in their neutralizing activity. Our results suggest that clades B and C are each comprised of multiple neutralization serotypes, some of which are more clade specific than others. The clustering of shared neutralization determinants on clade C primary HIV-1 isolates from South Africa suggests that neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccines will have less epitope diversity to overcome at a regional level.
Bures, R; Morris, L; Williamson, C; Ramjee, G; Deers, M; Fiscus, SA; Abdool-Karim, S; Montefiori, DC
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