HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibodies with Limited Hypermutation from an Infant

Cell. 2016 Jun 30;166(1):77-87. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.05.055. Epub 2016 Jun 23.


HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) develop in a subset of infected adults and exhibit high levels of somatic hypermutation (SHM) due to years of affinity maturation. There is no precedent for eliciting highly mutated antibodies by vaccination, nor is it practical to wait years for a desired response. Infants develop broad responses early, which may suggest a more direct path to generating bnAbs. Here, we isolated ten neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) contributing to plasma breadth of an infant at ∼1 year post-infection, including one with cross-clade breadth. The nAbs bind to envelope trimer from the transmitted virus, suggesting that this interaction may have initiated development of the infant nAbs. The infant cross-clade bnAb targets the N332 supersite on envelope but, unlike adult bnAbs targeting this site, lacks indels and has low SHM. The identification of this infant bnAb illustrates that HIV-1-specific neutralization breadth can develop without prolonged affinity maturation and extensive SHM.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / genetics*
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Epitopes
  • HIV Antibodies / blood
  • HIV Antibodies / genetics*
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / immunology
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear
  • Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin*


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Epitopes
  • HIV Antibodies
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120