Epitope-targeted HIV vaccine design seeks to focus antibody responses to broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) sites by sequential immunization. A chimpanzee simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) envelope (Env) shares a single bnAb site, the variable loop 2 (V2)-apex, with HIV, suggesting its possible utility in an HIV immunization strategy. Here, we generate a chimpanzee SIV Env trimer, MT145K, which displays selective binding to HIV V2-apex bnAbs and precursor versions, but no binding to other HIV specificities. We determine the structure of the MT145K trimer by cryo-EM and show that its architecture is remarkably similar to HIV Env. Immunization of an HIV V2-apex bnAb precursor Ab-expressing knockin mouse with the chimpanzee MT145K trimer induces HIV V2-specific neutralizing responses. Subsequent boosting with an HIV trimer cocktail induces responses that exhibit some virus cross-neutralization. Overall, the chimpanzee MT145K trimer behaves as expected from design both in vitro and in vivo and is an attractive potential component of a sequential immunization regimen to induce V2-apex bnAbs.
Keywords: HIV envelope trimer; HIV vaccine; V2-apex bnAb site; broadly neutralizing antibodies; chimpanzee SIV envelope trimer; glycan shield; human immunodeficiency virus; immunization strategies; simian immunodeficiency virus.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.