Activity of broadly neutralizing antibodies, including PG9, PG16, and VRC01, against recently transmitted subtype B HIV-1 variants from early and late in the epidemic.
Euler Z., Bunnik EM., Burger JA., Boeser-Nunnink BDM., Grijsen ML., Prins JM., Schuitemaker H.
For the development of a neutralizing antibody-based human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine, it is important to characterize which antibody specificities are most effective against currently circulating HIV-1 variants. We recently reported that HIV-1 has become more resistant to antibody neutralization over the course of the epidemic, and we here explore whether this increased neutralization resistance is also observed for the newly identified broadly neutralizing antibodies (BrNAbs) PG9, PG16, and VRC01. Furthermore, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the neutralizing sensitivity of currently circulating recently transmitted subtype B viruses to the currently most known BrNAbs. Virus variants isolated less than 6 months after seroconversion from individuals who seroconverted between 2003 and 2006 (n = 21) were significantly more resistant to neutralization by VRC01 than viruses from individuals who seroconverted between 1985 and 1989 (n = 14). In addition, viruses from contemporary seroconverters tended to be more resistant to neutralization by PG16, which coincided with the presence of more mutations at positions in the viral envelope that may potentially influence neutralization by this antibody. Despite this increased neutralization resistance, all recently transmitted viruses from contemporary seroconverters were sensitive to at least one BrNAb at concentrations of ≤5 μg/ml, with PG9, PG16, and VRC01 showing the greatest breadth of neutralization at lower concentrations. These results suggest that a vaccine capable of eliciting multiple BrNAb specificities will be necessary for protection of the population against HIV-1 infection.