A major step toward an HIV-1 vaccine is an immunogen capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies. Envelope glycoprotein (Env) mimetics, such as the NFL and SOSIP designs, generate native-like, well-ordered trimers and elicit tier 2 homologous neutralization (SOSIPs). We reasoned that the display of well-ordered trimers by high-density, particulate array would increase B cell activation compared to soluble trimers. Here, we present the design of liposomal nanoparticles displaying well-ordered Env spike trimers on their surface. Biophysical analysis, cryo- and negative stain electron microscopy, as well as binding analysis with a panel of broadly neutralizing antibodies confirm a high-density, well-ordered trimer particulate array. The Env-trimer-conjugated liposomes were superior to soluble trimers in activating B cells ex vivo and germinal center B cells in vivo. In addition, the trimer-conjugated liposomes elicited modest tier 2 homologous neutralizing antibodies. The trimer-conjugated liposomes represent a promising initial lead toward the development of more effective HIV vaccine immunogens.
Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.