epitopes immediately below the base of the V3 loop of gp120 as targets for the initial autologous neutralizing antibody response in two HIV-1 subtype B-infected individuals.
Epitopes that drive the initial autologous neutralizing antibody response in HIV-1-infected individuals could provide insights for vaccine design. Although highly strain specific, these epitopes are immunogenic, vulnerable to antibody attack on infectious virus, and could be involved in the ontogeny of broadly neutralizing antibody responses. To delineate such epitopes, we used site-directed mutagenesis, autologous plasma samples, and autologous monoclonal antibodies to map the amino acid changes that led to escape from the initial autologous neutralizing antibody response in two HIV-1 subtype B-infected individuals. Additional mapping of the epitopes was accomplished by using alanine scanning mutagenesis. Escape in the two individuals occurred by different pathways, but the responses in both cases appeared to be directed against the same region of gp120. In total, three amino acid positions were identified that were independently associated with autologous neutralization. Positions 295 and 332 are located immediately before and after the N- and C-terminal cysteines of the V3 loop, respectively, the latter of which affected an N-linked glycan that was critical to the neutralization epitope. Position 415 affected an N-linked glycan at position 413 in the C terminus of V4 that might mask epitopes near the base of V3. All three sites lie in close proximity on a four-stranded antiparallel sheet on the outer domain of gp120. We conclude that a region just below the base of the V3 loop, near the coreceptor binding domain of gp120, can be a target for autologous neutralization.
Tang, H; Robinson, JE; Gnanakaran, S; Li, M; Rosenberg, ES; Perez, LG; Haynes, BF; Liao, H-X; Labranche, CC; Korber, BT; Montefiori, DC
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