We describe the development and potential use of various designs of recombinant HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein trimers that mimic the structure of the virion-associated spike, which is the target for neutralizing antibodies. The goal of trimer development programs is to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies with the potential to intervene against multiple circulating HIV-1 strains. Among the topics we address are the designs of various constructs; how native-like trimers can be produced and purified; the properties of such trimers in vitro and their immunogenicity in various animals; and the immunization strategies that may lead to the eventual elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibodies. In summary, native-like trimers are a now a platform for structure- and immunology-based design improvements that could eventually yield immunogens of practical value for solving the long-standing HIV-1 vaccine problem.
Keywords: Env trimers; HIV-1 vaccines; neutralizing antibodies.
© 2017 The Authors. Immunological Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.