Despite the rare appearance of potent HIV-neutralizing mAbs in infected individuals requiring prolonged affinity maturation, little is known regarding this process in the majority of viremic individuals. HIV-infected individuals with chronic HIV viremia have elevated numbers of nonconventional tissue-like memory (TLM) B cells that predominate in blood over conventional resting memory (RM) B cells. Accordingly, we investigated affinity maturation in these 2 memory B cell populations. Analysis of IgG-expressing TLM B cells revealed a higher number of cell divisions compared with RM B cells; however, TLM B cells paradoxically displayed significantly lower frequencies of somatic hypermutation (SHM). To assess Ab reactivity in TLM and RM B cells, single-cell cloning was performed on HIV envelope CD4–binding site–sorted (CD4bs-sorted) B cells from 3 individuals with chronic HIV viremia. Several clonal families were present among the 127 cloned recombinant mAbs, with evidence of crosstalk between TLM and RM B cell populations that was largely restricted to non-VH4 families. Despite evidence of common origins, SHM frequencies were significantly decreased in TLM-derived mAbs compared with SHM frequencies in RM-derived mAbs. However, both cell populations had lower frequencies of SHMs than did broadly neutralizing CD4bs–specific mAbs. There was a significant correlation between SHM frequencies and the HIV-neutralizing capacities of the mAbs. Furthermore, HIV neutralization was significantly higher in the RM-derived mAbs compared with that seen in the TLM-derived mAbs, and both SHM frequencies and neutralizing capacity were lowest in TLM-derived mAbs with high polyreactivity. Thus, deficiencies in memory B cells that arise during chronic HIV viremia provide insight into the inadequacy of the Ab response in viremic individuals.
Eric Meffre, Aaron Louie, Jason Bannock, Leo J.Y. Kim, Jason Ho, Cody C. Frear, Lela Kardava, Wei Wang, Clarisa M. Buckner, Yimeng Wang, Olivia R. Fankuchen, Kathleen R. Gittens, Tae-Wook Chun, Yuxing Li, Anthony S. Fauci, Susan Moir