HIV-1 Vaccines Based on Antibody Identification, B Cell Ontogeny, and Epitope Structure

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HIV-1 vaccine development has been stymied by an inability to induce broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies to the envelope (Env) trimer, the sole viral antigen on the virion surface. Antibodies isolated from HIV-1-infected donors, however, have been shown to recognize all major exposed regions of the prefusion-closed Env trimer, and an emerging understanding of the immunological and structural characteristics of these antibodies and the epitopes they recognize is enabling new approaches to vaccine design. Antibody lineage-based design creates immunogens that activate the naive ancestor-B cell of a target antibody lineage and that mature intermediate-B cells toward effective neutralization, with proof of principle achieved with select HIV-1-neutralizing antibody lineages in human-gene knock-in mouse models. Epitope-based vaccine design involves the engineering of sites of Env vulnerability as defined by the recognition of broadly neutralizing antibodies, with cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies elicited in animal models. Both epitope-based and antibody lineage-based HIV-1 vaccine approaches are being readied for human clinical trials.

Kwong and Mascola review vaccine approaches to overcome the formidable challenge of eliciting effective antibodies against HIV-1. The structural and immunological information provided by analysis of infection-elicited broadly neutralizing antibodies provides a framework for antibody-to-vaccine approaches of vaccine design.

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