Major advances in donor identification, antigen probe design, and experimental methods to clone pathogen-specific antibodies have led to an exponential growth in the number of newly characterized broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) that recognize the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. Characterization of these bnAbs has defined new epitopes and novel modes of recognition that can result in potent neutralization of HIV-1. However, the translation of envelope recognition profiles in biophysical assays into an understanding of in vivo activity has lagged behind, and identification of subjects and mAbs with potent antiviral activity has remained reliant on empirical evaluation of neutralization potency and breadth. To begin to address this discrepancy between recombinant protein recognition and virus neutralization, we studied the fine epitope specificity of a panel of CD4-binding site (CD4bs) antibodies to define the molecular recognition features of functionally potent humoral responses targeting the HIV-1 envelope site bound by CD4. Whereas previous studies have used neutralization data and machine-learning methods to provide epitope maps, here, this approach was reversed, demonstrating that simple binding assays of fine epitope specificity can prospectively identify broadly neutralizing CD4bs–specific mAbs. Building on this result, we show that epitope mapping and prediction of neutralization breadth can also be accomplished in the assessment of polyclonal serum responses. Thus, this study identifies a set of CD4bs bnAb signature amino acid residues and demonstrates that sensitivity to mutations at signature positions is sufficient to predict neutralization breadth of polyclonal sera with a high degree of accuracy across cohorts and across clades.
Hao D. Cheng, Sebastian K. Grimm, Morgan S.A. Gilman, Luc Christian Gwom, Devin Sok, Christopher Sundling, Gina Donofrio, Gunilla B. Karlsson Hedestam, Mattia Bonsignori, Barton F. Haynes, Timothy P. Lahey, Isaac Maro, C. Fordham von Reyn, Miroslaw K. Gorny, Susan Zolla-Pazner, Bruce D. Walker, Galit Alter, Dennis R. Burton, Merlin L. Robb, Shelly J. Krebs, Michael S. Seaman, Chris Bailey-Kellogg, Margaret E. Ackerman
Accurate HIV-1 incidence estimation is critical to the success of HIV-1 prevention strategies. Current assays are limited by high false recent rates (FRRs) in certain populations and a short mean duration of recent infection (MDRI). Dynamic early HIV-1 antibody response kinetics were harnessed to identify biomarkers for improved incidence assays. We conducted retrospective analyses on circulating antibodies from known recent and longstanding infections and evaluated binding and avidity measurements of Env and non-Env antigens and multiple antibody forms (i.e., IgG, IgA, IgG3, IgG4, dIgA, and IgM) in a diverse panel of 164 HIV-1–infected participants (clades A, B, C). Discriminant function analysis identified an optimal set of measurements that were subsequently evaluated in a 324-specimen blinded biomarker validation panel. These biomarkers included clade C gp140 IgG3, transmitted/founder clade C gp140 IgG4 avidity, clade B gp140 IgG4 avidity, and gp41 immunodominant region IgG avidity. MDRI was estimated at 215 day or alternatively, 267 days. FRRs in untreated and treated subjects were 5.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Thus, computational analysis of dynamic HIV-1 antibody isotype and antigen interactions during infection enabled design of a promising HIV-1 recency assay for improved cross-sectional incidence estimation.
Kelly E. Seaton, Nathan A. Vandergrift, Aaron W. Deal, Wes Rountree, John Bainbridge, Eduard Grebe, David A. Anderson, Sheetal Sawant, Xiaoying Shen, Nicole L. Yates, Thomas N. Denny, Hua-Xin Liao, Barton F. Haynes, Merlin L. Robb, Neil Parkin, Breno R. Santos, Nigel Garrett, Matthew A. Price, Denise Naniche, Ann C. Duerr, The CEPHIA group, Sheila Keating, Dylan Hampton, Shelley Facente, Kara Marson, Alex Welte, Christopher D. Pilcher, Myron S. Cohen, Georgia D. Tomaras
IL-7 regulates homeostatic mechanisms that maintain the overall size of the T cell pool throughout life. We show that, under steady-state conditions, IL-7 signaling is principally mediated by activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 5 (STAT5). In contrast, under lymphopenic conditions, there is a modulation of STAT1 expression resulting in an IL-7–dependent STAT1 and STAT5 activation. Consequently, the IL-7–induced transcriptome is altered with enrichment of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). Moreover, STAT1 overexpression was associated with reduced survival in CD4+ T cells undergoing lymphopenia-induced proliferation (LIP). We propose a model in which T cells undergoing LIP upregulate STAT1 protein, “switching on” an alternate IL-7–dependent program. This mechanism could be a physiological process to regulate the expansion and size of the CD4+ T cell pool. During HIV infection, the virus could exploit this pathway, leading to the homeostatic dysregulation of the T cell pools observed in these patients.
Cecile Le Saout, Megan A. Luckey, Alejandro V. Villarino, Mindy Smith, Rebecca B. Hasley, Timothy G. Myers, Hiromi Imamichi, Jung-Hyun Park, John J. O’Shea, H. Clifford Lane, Marta Catalfamo
Biological aging is associated with immune activation (IA) and declining immunity due to systemic inflammation. It is widely accepted that HIV infection causes persistent IA and premature immune senescence despite effective antiretroviral therapy and virologic suppression; however, the effects of combined HIV infection and aging are not well defined. Here, we assessed the relationship between markers of IA and inflammation during biological aging in HIV-infected and -uninfected populations. Antibody response to seasonal influenza vaccination was implemented as a measure of immune competence and relationships between IA, inflammation, and antibody responses were explored using statistical modeling appropriate for integrating high-dimensional data sets. Our results show that markers of IA, such as coexpression of HLA antigen D related (HLA-DR) and CD38 on CD4+ T cells, exhibit strong associations with HIV infection but not with biological age. Certain variables that showed a strong relationship with aging, such as declining naive and CD38+ CD4 and CD8+ T cells, did so regardless of HIV infection. Interestingly, the variable of biological age was not identified in a predictive model as significantly impacting vaccine responses in either group, while distinct IA and inflammatory variables were closely associated with vaccine response in HIV-infected and -uninfected populations. These findings shed light on the most relevant and persistent immune defects during virological suppression with antiretroviral therapy.
Lesley R. de Armas, Suresh Pallikkuth, Varghese George, Stefano Rinaldi, Rajendra Pahwa, Kristopher L. Arheart, Savita Pahwa
BACKGROUND. HIV-infected individuals, even well controlled with combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), have systemic inflammation and comorbidities. Substance P (SP) is an undecapeptide, which mediates neurotransmission and inflammation through its cognate neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R). Plasma SP levels are elevated in HIV-infected individuals. The FDA-approved antiemetic aprepitant, an NK1R antagonist, has anti-HIV effects and antiinflammatory actions. We evaluated the safety, pharmacokinetics, and antiinflammatory properties of aprepitant in HIV-positive individuals receiving cART. METHODS. We conducted a phase 1B study of 12 HIV-positive individuals on a ritonavir-containing regimen (HIV viral load less than 40 copies/ml and CD4 > 400 cells/μl). Participants received open-label aprepitant 375 mg per day for 28 days and were followed for an additional 30 days. Changes in plasma levels of proinflammatory markers were assessed using flow cytometry, ELISA, luminex, and SOMAscan assays. RESULTS. The mean peak aprepitant plasma concentration was 30.7 ± 15.3 μg/ml at day 14 and 23.3 ± 12.3 μg/ml at day 28. Aprepitant treatment resulted in decreased plasma SP levels and affected 176 plasma proteins (56 after FDR) and several metabolic pathways, including inflammation and lipid metabolism. No change in soluble CD163 was observed. Aprepitant treatment was associated with a moderate increases in total and HDL cholesterol and affected select hematologic and metabolic markers, which returned to baseline levels 30 days after aprepitant treatment was stopped. There were 12 mild and 10 moderate adverse events (AE). CONCLUSIONS. Aprepitant is safe and well tolerated. The antiinflammatory properties of aprepitant make it a possible adjunctive therapy for comorbid conditions associated with HIV infection. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02154360). FUNDING. This research was funded by NIH UO1 MH090325, P30 MH097488, and PO1 MH105303.
Sergei Spitsin, Pablo Tebas, Jeffrey S. Barrett, Vasiliki Pappa, Deborah Kim, Deanne Taylor, Dwight L. Evans, Steven D. Douglas
Eradication of the HIV-1 latent reservoir represents the current paradigm to developing a cure for AIDS. HIV-1 has evolved multiple mechanisms to evade CD8 T cell responses, including HIV-1 Nef–mediated downregulation of MHC-I from the surface of infected cells. Nef transcripts and protein are detectable in samples from aviremic donors, suggesting that Nef expression in latently HIV-1–infected CD4 T cells protects them from immune-mediated clearance. Here, we tested 4 small molecule inhibitors of HIV-1 Nef in an in vitro primary CD4 T cell latency model and measured the ability of autologous ex vivo or HIV-1 peptide–expanded CD8 T cells to recognize and kill latently infected cells as a function of inhibitor treatment. Nef inhibition enhanced cytokine secretion by autologous CD8 T cells against latently HIV-1–infected targets in an IFN-γ release assay. Additionally, CD8 T cell–mediated elimination of latently HIV-1–infected cells was significantly enhanced following Nef blockade, measured as a reduction in the frequency of infected cells and Gag protein in cultures following viral outgrowth assays. We demonstrate for the first time to our knowledge that Nef blockade, in combination with HIV-specific CD8 T cell expansion, might be a feasible strategy to target the HIV-1 latent reservoir that should be tested further in vivo.
Shariq Mujib, Aamir Saiyed, Saleh Fadel, Ardalan Bozorgzad, Nasra Aidarus, Feng Yun Yue, Erika Benko, Colin Kovacs, Lori A. Emert-Sedlak, Thomas E. Smithgall, Mario A. Ostrowski
Promising therapeutic approaches for eradicating HIV include transcriptional activation of provirus from latently infected cells using latency-reversing agents (LRAs) and immune-mediated clearance to purge reservoirs. Accurate detection of cells capable of producing viral antigens and virions, and the measurement of clearance of infected cells, is essential to assessing therapeutic efficacy. Here, we apply enhanced methodology extending the sensitivity limits for the rapid detection of subfemtomolar HIV gag p24 capsid protein in CD4+ T cells from ART-suppressed HIV+ individuals, and we show viral protein induction following treatment with LRAs. Importantly, we demonstrate that clinical administration of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis; vorinostat and panobinostat) induced HIV gag p24, and ex vivo stimulation produced sufficient viral antigen to elicit immune-mediated cell killing using anti-gp120/CD3 bispecific antibody. These findings extend beyond classical nucleic acid endpoints, which are confounded by the predominance of mutated, defective proviruses and, of paramount importance, enable assessment of cells making HIV protein that can now be targeted by immunological approaches.
Guoxin Wu, Michael Swanson, Aarthi Talla, Donald Graham, Julie Strizki, Daniel Gorman, Richard J.O. Barnard, Wade Blair, Ole S. Søgaard, Martin Tolstrup, Lars Østergaard, Thomas A. Rasmussen, Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, Nancie M. Archin, David M. Margolis, Daria J. Hazuda, Bonnie J. Howell
Gut-associated lymphoid tissues are enriched in CCR6+ Th17-polarized CD4+ T cells that contribute to HIV-1 persistence during antiretroviral therapy (ART). This raises the need for Th17-targeted immunotherapies. In an effort to identify mechanisms governing HIV-1 permissiveness/persistence in gut-homing Th17 cells, we analyzed the transcriptome of CCR6+ versus CCR6– T cells exposed to the gut-homing inducer retinoic acid (RA) and performed functional validations in colon biopsies of HIV-infected individuals receiving ART (HIV+ART). Although both CCR6+ and CCR6– T cells acquired gut-homing markers upon RA exposure, the modulation of unique sets of genes coincided with preferential HIV-1 replication in RA-treated CCR6+ T cells. This molecular signature included the upregulation of HIV-dependency factors acting at entry/postentry levels, such as the CCR5 and PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 signaling pathways. Of note, mTOR expression/phosphorylation was distinctively induced by RA in CCR6+ T cells. Consistently, mTOR inhibitors counteracted the effect of RA on HIV replication in vitro and viral reactivation in CD4+ T cells from HIV+ART individuals via postentry mechanisms independent of CCR5. Finally, CCR6+ versus CCR6– T cells infiltrating the colons of HIV+ART individuals expressed unique molecular signatures, including higher levels of CCR5, integrin β7, and mTOR phosphorylation. Together, our results identify mTOR as a druggable key regulator of HIV permissiveness in gut-homing CCR6+ T cells.
Delphine Planas, Yuwei Zhang, Patricia Monteiro, Jean-Philippe Goulet, Annie Gosselin, Nathalie Grandvaux, Thomas J. Hope, Ariberto Fassati, Jean-Pierre Routy, Petronela Ancuta
The direct link between sustained type I interferon (IFN-I) signaling and HIV-1–induced immunopathogenesis during chronic infection remains unclear. Here we report studies using a monoclonal antibody to block IFN-α/β receptor 1 (IFNAR1) signaling during persistent HIV-1 infection in humanized mice (hu-mice). We discovered that, during chronic HIV-1 infection, IFNAR blockade increased viral replication, which was correlated with elevated T cell activation. Thus, IFN-Is suppress HIV-1 replication during the chronic phase but are not essential for HIV-1–induced aberrant immune activation. Surprisingly, IFNAR blockade rescued both total human T cell and HIV-specific T cell numbers despite elevated HIV-1 replication and immune activation. We showed that IFNAR blockade reduced HIV-1–induced apoptosis of CD4+ T cells. Importantly, IFNAR blockade also rescued the function of human T cells, including HIV-1–specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. We conclude that during persistent HIV-1 infection, IFN-Is suppress HIV-1 replication, but contribute to depletion and dysfunction of T cells.
Liang Cheng, Haisheng Yu, Guangming Li, Feng Li, Jianping Ma, Jingyun Li, Liqun Chi, Liguo Zhang, Lishan Su
Humoral immunity is critical for viral control, but the identity and mechanisms regulating human antiviral B cells are unclear. Here, we characterized human B cells expressing T-bet and analyzed their dynamics during viral infections. T-bet+ B cells demonstrated an activated phenotype, a distinct transcriptional profile, and were enriched for expression of the antiviral immunoglobulin isotypes IgG1 and IgG3. T-bet+ B cells expanded following yellow fever virus and vaccinia virus vaccinations and also during early acute HIV infection. Viremic HIV-infected individuals maintained a large T-bet+ B cell population during chronic infection that was associated with increased serum and cell-associated IgG1 and IgG3 expression. The HIV gp140–specific B cell response was dominated by T-bet–expressing memory B cells, and we observed a concomitant biasing of gp140-specific serum immunoglobulin to the IgG1 isotype. These findings suggest that T-bet induction promotes antiviral immunoglobulin isotype switching and development of a distinct T-bet+ B cell subset that is maintained by viremia and coordinates the HIV Env–specific humoral response.
James J. Knox, Marcus Buggert, Lela Kardava, Kelly E. Seaton, Michael A. Eller, David H. Canaday, Merlin L. Robb, Mario A. Ostrowski, Steven G. Deeks, Mark K. Slifka, Georgia D. Tomaras, Susan Moir, M. Anthony Moody, Michael R. Betts
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