HIV-specific Fc effector function early in infection predicts the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies

PLoS Pathog. 2018 Apr 9;14(4):e1006987. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006987. eCollection 2018 Apr.


While the induction of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) is a major goal of HIV vaccination strategies, there is mounting evidence to suggest that antibodies with Fc effector function also contribute to protection against HIV infection. Here we investigated Fc effector functionality of HIV-specific IgG plasma antibodies over 3 years of infection in 23 individuals, 13 of whom developed bNAbs. Antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP), complement deposition (ADCD), cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and cellular trogocytosis (ADCT) were detected in almost all individuals with levels of activity increasing over time. At 6 months post-infection, individuals with bNAbs had significantly higher levels of ADCD and ADCT that correlated with antibody binding to C1q and FcγRIIa respectively. In addition, antibodies from individuals with bNAbs showed more IgG subclass diversity to multiple HIV antigens which also correlated with Fc polyfunctionality. Germinal center activity represented by CXCL13 levels and expression of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) was found to be associated with neutralization breadth, Fc polyfunctionality and IgG subclass diversity. Overall, multivariate analysis by random forest classification was able to group bNAb individuals with 85% sensitivity and 80% specificity based on the properties of their antibody Fc early in HIV infection. Thus, the Fc effector function profile predicted the development of neutralization breadth in this cohort, suggesting that intrinsic immune factors within the germinal center provide a mechanistic link between the Fc and Fab of HIV-specific antibodies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology*
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity / immunology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • HIV Antibodies / blood
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • HIV Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin G