Measuring HIV neutralization in a luciferase reporter gene assay

Methods Mol Biol. 2009;485:395-405. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-170-3_26.


Neutralizing antibody (NAb) assays for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are used to study the immune response in infected individuals, to examine monoclonal antibodies and viral diversity, and to judge the potential value of candidate vaccine immunogens in preclinical and clinical trials. An important aspect of these efforts is an ability to achieve and document equivalent assay performance across multiple laboratories. Recent advances in assay technology have led to major improvements in how HIV NAbs are measured. Stable cell lines containing HIV Tat-regulated reporter genes are now available that permit rapid, sensitive and reproducible measurements of virus neutralization after a single round of infection in a high throughput format.Moreover, these assays may be used with molecularly cloned Env-pseudotyped viruses for greater reagent stability and traceability.A luciferase (Luc) reporter gene assay performed in TZM-bl (JC53bl-13) cells was recently optimized and many of its performance parameters have been validated. This assay has become the main endpoint neutralization assay used by the NIH-sponsored HIV Vaccine Trials Network and by a growing number of laboratories worldwide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Genes, Reporter*
  • HIV / immunology*
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / metabolism*
  • Neutralization Tests / methods*
  • Neutralization Tests / standards


  • HIV Antibodies
  • Luciferases