Gp120-alum boosting of a Gag-Pol-Env DNA/MVA AIDS vaccine: poorer control of a pathogenic viral challenge

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2003 Oct;19(10):891-900. doi: 10.1089/088922203322493067.


Envelope protein immunogens may improve DNA or live-vectored HIV vaccines by complementing antiviral cellular responses with Env antibodies. We tested this concept by administering two immunizations of alum-adjuvanted HIV-1 89.6 gp120 to macaques being primed at weeks 0 and 8 with SHIV 89.6 Gag-Pol-Env DNA and boosted at week 24 with SHIV-89.6 Gag-Pol-Env recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA). Three hundred micrograms of gp120 was delivered with the second DNA prime and the MVA booster. Eight months after vaccination, all animals were challenged intrarectally with the related, yet serologically distinct, SHIV-89.6P. The gp120 immunizations raised binding, but not neutralizing antibody for the challenge virus, and allowed testing of whether gp120 vaccines that fail to raise neutralizing antibody can improve protection. Following the second gp120 immunization, the plus-gp120 group showed >10 times higher levels of binding antibody than the minus-gp120 group. These levels fell and were overall similar in both groups at the time of challenge. Following the second challenge, both groups had similar temporal patterns and heights of binding and neutralizing antibodies. However, the plus-gp120 group had less consistent control of viremia and higher levels of plasma viral RNA for the first year postchallenge. Assays for complement-dependent enhancing antibody revealed a trend toward higher levels of activity in the plus-gp120 group. This trend did not reach significance in our animal groups of 8. We conclude that gp120 inoculations that fail to raise neutralizing antibody do not improve the efficacy of Gag-Pol-Env DNA/MVA vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Fusion Proteins, gag-pol / immunology*
  • Gene Products, env / immunology*
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / genetics
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / immunology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / pathogenicity
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology
  • Vaccinia virus / genetics
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology*


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Fusion Proteins, gag-pol
  • Gene Products, env
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120
  • Vaccines, DNA