Multiple antibody effector functions arise in HIV-1 infection that could be harnessed to protect against infection or clear the persistent reservoir. Here, we have investigated the genetic and functional memory B cell and antibody landscape present during early infection in six individuals infected with either subtype A, C, or an A/C recombinant HIV-1. These individuals demonstrated varying levels of plasma autologous neutralization (nAb) against the transmitted/founder envelope (T/F Env) pseudovirus and non-neutralizing Fc-mediated effector function (nnFc) antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) against the T/F Env gp120 protein at ~7 months after infection. Genetic analysis of the immunoglobulin heavy (VH) and light (VL) chain variable domain gene segments from 352 autologous T/F Env gp120-specific single B cells recovered at this same 7-month time-point revealed an over-representation of the VH1-69 germline in five of six individuals. A defining feature of the VH1-69 utilizing gp120-specific antibodies was their significantly more hydrophobic complementarity-determining region-2 (CDRH2) regions compared to other VH CDRH2 sequences from each individual. While none of the VH1-69 antibodies possessed strong neutralizing activity against virions pseudotyped with the autologous T/F Env, almost a third were capable of mediating high ADCC activity, as assayed by intracellular granzyme B activity in CEM.NKr.CCR5 target cells coated with autologous T/F Env gp120. High ADCC mediating VH1-69 antibodies exhibited shorter complementarity-determining region-3 (CDRH3) lengths and a more neutral isoelectric point than antibodies lacking this function. In the individual that developed the highest autologous ADCC responses, the high granzyme B producing antibodies bound to surface expressed envelope in the absence of CD4 and were not enhanced by the addition of soluble CD4. Overall, VH1-69 utilizing antibodies are commonly induced against gp120 in diverse HIV-1 infections and a subset of these antibodies can mediate ADCC functions, serving as a bridge between the innate and adaptive immune response to HIV-1.
Keywords: HIV-1; VH1-69; gp120; neutralization; non-neutralizing Fc-mediated effector function.