DNA prime/protein boost vaccination elicits robust humoral response in rhesus macaques using oligomeric simian immunodeficiency virus envelope and Advax delta inulin adjuvant

J Gen Virol. 2017 Aug;98(8):2143-2155. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000863. Epub 2017 Jul 31.


The partial success of the RV144 trial underscores the importance of envelope-specific antibody responses for an effective HIV-1 vaccine. Oligomeric HIV-1 envelope proteins delivered with a potent adjuvant are expected to elicit strong antibody responses with broad neutralization specificity. To test this hypothesis, two SIV envelope proteins were formulated with delta inulin-based adjuvant (Advax) and used to immunize nonhuman primates. Oligomeric gp140-gp145 from SIVmac251 and SIVsmE660 was purified to homogeneity. Oligomers showed high-affinity interaction with CD4 and were highly immunogenic in rabbits, inducing Tier 2 SIV-neutralizing antibodies. The immunogenicity of an oligomeric Env DNA prime and protein boost together with Advax was evaluated in Chinese rhesus macaques. DNA administration elicited antibodies to both envelopes, and titres were markedly enhanced following homologous protein boosts via intranasal and intramuscular routes. Strong antibody responses were detected against the V1 and V2 domains of gp120. During peak immune responses, a low to moderate level of neutralizing activity was detected against Tier 1A/1B SIV isolates, with a moderate level noted against a Tier 2 isolate. Increased serum antibody affinity to SIVmac251 gp140 and generation of Env-specific memory B cells were observed in the immunized macaques. Animals were subjected to low-dose intravaginal challenge with SIVmac251 one week after the last protein boost. One out of three immunized animals was protected from infection. Although performed with a small number of macaques, this study demonstrates the utility of oligomeric envelopes formulated with Advax in eliciting broad antibody responses with the potential to provide protection against SIV transmission.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • DNA, Viral / administration & dosage
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / immunology*
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / administration & dosage
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / genetics
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Inulin / administration & dosage
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Rabbits
  • SAIDS Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • SAIDS Vaccines / genetics
  • SAIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / genetics
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology*
  • Vaccination


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral
  • HIV Antibodies
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120
  • SAIDS Vaccines
  • Inulin