The HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein C3/V4 Region Defines a Prevalent Neutralization Epitope following Immunization

Cell Rep. 2019 Apr 9;27(2):586-598.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.03.039.


Despite recent progress in engineering native trimeric HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) mimics as vaccine candidates, Env trimers often induce vaccine-matched neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses. Understanding the specificities of autologous NAb responses and the underlying molecular mechanisms restricting the neutralization breadth is therefore informative to improve vaccine efficacy. Here, we delineate the response specificity by single B cell sorting and serum analysis of guinea pigs immunized with BG505 SOSIP.664 Env trimers. Our results reveal a prominent immune target containing both conserved and strain-specific residues in the C3/V4 region of Env in trimer-vaccinated animals. The defined NAb response shares a high degree of similarity with the early NAb response developed by a naturally infected infant from whom the HIV virus strain BG505 was isolated and later developed a broadly NAb response. Our study describes strain-specific responses and their possible evolution pathways, thereby highlighting the potential to broaden NAb responses by immunogen re-design.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization / methods*
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology*


  • Epitopes
  • Glycoproteins
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus