Engineering antibody-like inhibitors to prevent and treat HIV-1 infection

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Here we discuss recently developed HIV-1 entry inhibitors that can target multiple epitopes on the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env), with an emphasis on eCD4-Ig. Some of these inhibitors are more potent and broader than any single antibody characterized to date. We also discuss the use of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors as a platform for long-term expression of these inhibitors.

Recent findings

Much of the exterior of HIV-1 Env can be targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). Recent studies combine the variable regions or Fabs from different bNAbs, often with the receptor-mimetic components, to create broad, potent, and hard-to-escape inhibitors. rAAV vectors can express these inhibitors for years in vivo, highlighting their ability to prevent or treat HIV-1 infection.

Summary

By targeting multiple epitopes on Env, bispecific and antibody-like inhibitors can be broader and more potent than bNAbs. These inhibitors can provide long-term protection from, and perhaps suppression of, HIV-1 if they are administered by a delivery platform, like rAAV vectors, but only after rAAV limitations are addressed.

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