Immunogens based on the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) Envelope (Env) glycoprotein have to date failed to elicit potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies against diverse HIV-1 strains. An understudied area in the development of HIV-1 Env-based vaccines is the impact of various adjuvants on the stability of the Env immunogen and the magnitude of the induced humoral immune response. We hypothesize that optimal adjuvants for HIV-1 gp140 Env trimers will be those with high potency but also those that preserve structural integrity of the immunogen and those that have a straightforward path to clinical testing. In this report, we systematically evaluate the impact of 12 adjuvants on the stability and immunogenicity of a clade C (CZA97.012) HIV-1 gp140 trimer in guinea pigs and a subset in non-human primates. Oil-in-water emulsions (GLA-emulsion, Ribi, Emulsigen) resulted in partial aggregation and loss of structural integrity of the gp140 trimer. In contrast, alum (GLA-alum, Adju-Phos, Alhydrogel), TLR (GLA-aqueous, CpG, MPLA), ISCOM (Matrix M) and liposomal (GLA-liposomes, virosomes) adjuvants appeared to preserve trimer integrity as measured by size exclusion chromatography. However, multiple classes of adjuvants similarly augmented Env-specific binding and neutralizing antibody responses in guinea pigs and non-human primates.
Keywords: Adjuvants; Env; HIV-1.
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