V2p and V2i antibodies (Abs) that are specific for epitopes in the V1V2 region of the HIV gp120 envelope (Env) do not effectively neutralize HIV but mediate Fc-dependent anti-viral activities that have been correlated with protection from, or control of HIV, SIV and SHIV infections. Here, we describe a novel molecular toolbox that allows the discrimination of antigenically and functionally distinct polyclonal V2 Ab responses. We identify different patterns of V2 Ab induction by SHIV infection and three separate vaccine regimens that aid in fine-tuning an optimized immunization protocol for inducing V2p and V2i Abs. We observe no, or weak and sporadic V2p and V2i Abs in non-vaccinated SHIV-infected NHPs, but strong V2p and/or V2i Ab responses after immunization with a V2-targeting vaccine protocol. The V2-focused vaccination is superior to both natural infection and to immunization with whole Env constructs for inducing functional V2p- and V2i-specific responses. Strikingly, levels of V2-directed Abs correlate inversely with Abs specific for peptides of V3 and C5. These data demonstrate that a V1V2-targeting vaccine has advantages over the imprecise targeting of SIV/SHIV infections and of whole Env-based immunization regimens for inducing a more focused functional V2p- and V2i-specific Ab response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)