Isolation of mAbs elicited by vaccination provides opportunities to define the development of effective immunity. Ab responses elicited by current HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) immunogens display narrow neutralizing activity with limited capacity to block infection by tier 2 viruses. Intense work in the field suggests that improved Env immunogens are forthcoming, and it is therefore important to concurrently develop approaches to investigate the quality of vaccine-elicited responses at a higher level of resolution. In this study, we cloned a representative set of mAbs elicited by a model Env immunogen in rhesus macaques and comprehensively characterized their genetic and functional properties. The mAbs were genetically diverse, even within groups of Abs targeting the same subregion of Env, consistent with a highly polyclonal response. mAbs directed against two subdeterminants of Env, the CD4 binding site and V region 3, could in part account for the neutralizing activity observed in the plasma of the animal from which they were cloned, demonstrating the power of mAb isolation for a detailed understanding of the elicited response. Finally, through comparative analyses of mAb binding and neutralizing capacity of HIV-1 using matched Envs, we demonstrate complex relationships between epitope recognition and accessibility, highlighting the protective quaternary packing of the HIV-1 spike relative to vaccine-induced mAbs.
Copyright © 2015 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.