Vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies directed in part to the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) V2 domain were unable to protect rhesus monkeys from SIV experimental challenge.
The potential of the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) variable 2 (V2) domain as an effective region to boost SIV-neutralizing antibodies and to protect against live SIV challenge was tested in rhesus macaques. In this study, two rhesus macaques were primed with vaccinia virus recombinants expressing the surface glycoprotein gp140 of SIVmac and were given booster injections with the SIVmac V2 domain presented by a highly immunogenic carrier, the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). The two vaccinated macaques exhibited SIV-neutralizing antibodies after primer injections that were enhanced by the V2/HBsAg injections. Part of these SIV-neutralizing antibodies were directed specifically to the V2 region, as shown by neutralization-blocking experiments. However, despite having consistent SIV-neutralizing antibody titers, animals were not protected against homologous challenge with BK28, the molecular clone of SIVmac251. No SIV envelope-specific cellular cytotoxic response was detected throughout the immunization protocol, suggesting that neutralizing antibodies directed to SIV envelope gp140 and especially to the V2 domain were unable on their own to protect against SIV challenge. Furthermore, the vaccinees seemed to have higher viral loads than control animals after challenge, raising the question of whether neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccination and directed to the SIV envelope selected viral escape mutants, as shown previously in SIV-infected macaques. This mechanism is certainly worthy of intensive investigation and raises some concern for SIV envelope-targeted immunization.
Schlienger, K; Montefiori, DC; Mancini, M; Rivière, Y; Tiollais, P; Michel, ML
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