Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Evades Vaccine-Elicited Antibody Responses to V2 Region

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An effective AIDS vaccine should elicit protective antibody responses against HIV/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection. We recently reported that mucosal priming with a replicating modified vaccinia Tiantan virus (MVTTgpe)-based vaccine regimen induces durable protection against pathogenic SIVmac239 infection in rhesus monkeys. Here, we aim to conduct a comprehensive analysis on antigenic determinants recognized by specific antibody responses generated by vaccination and SIVmac239 infection.


A novel yeast surface displayed antigen library of entire SIVmac239 envelope (Env) glycoprotein was established and validated to map the major antigenic determinants (MAD) in monkey sera elicited by vaccination and infection. MAD-directed antibody responses were further analyzed for correlation of protection.

Results and Conclusions:

The yeast surface displayed library allows the mapping of SIV-specific linear and conformational MAD. The MVTTgpe-based regimen induces antibodies targeting mainly to 6 antigenic domains covering the entire gp160. Critically, this regimen induced a uniquely predominant antibody response against a distinct MAD in variable region 2 (V2) as compared with the Ad5gpe-based vaccine and SIVmac239 infection. This MAD was associated with a higher titer of anti-V2 antibody responses, which was inversely correlated with peak and set-point viral loads. Unexpectedly, the pathogenic SIVmac239 challenge evaded the vaccine-elicited anti-V2 antibody response. Instead of recalling B-cell memory responses to the V2 MAD, viral infection directed anti-V1V2 antibodies primarily to V1 region. Moreover, the anti-V1V2 antibody responses diminished significantly in infected macaques after they enter the stage of simian AIDS. Our findings have critical implications to AIDS vaccine efforts with focus on V2 region.

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