Identification and specificity of broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV

Immunol Rev. 2017 Jan;275(1):11-20. doi: 10.1111/imr.12484.


Beginning in 2009, studies of the humoral responses of HIV-positive individuals have led to the identification of scores, if not hundreds, of antibodies that are both broadly reactive and potently neutralizing. This development has provided renewed impetus toward an HIV vaccine and led directly to the development of novel immunogens. Advances in identification of donors with the most potent and broad anti-HIV serum neutralizing responses were crucial in this effort. Equally, development of methods for the rapid generation of human antibodies from these donors was pivotal. Primarily these methods comprise single B-cell culture coupled to high-throughput neutralization screening and flow cytometry-based sorting of single B cells using HIV envelope protein baits. In this review, the advantages and disadvantages of these methodologies are discussed in the context of the specificities targeted by individual antibodies and the need for further improvements to evaluate HIV vaccine candidates.

Keywords: HIV; B cells; monoclonal antibody isolation; neutralization.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Epitopes / metabolism*
  • HIV Antibodies / metabolism
  • HIV Antigens / immunology
  • HIV Antigens / metabolism*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Epitopes
  • HIV Antibodies
  • HIV Antigens
  • Viral Envelope Proteins