A major goal of AIDS vaccine development is to design vaccination strategies that can elicit broad and potent protective antibodies. The initial viral targets of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) early after human or simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV/SIV) infection are not known. The identification of early NAb epitopes that induce protective immunity or retard the progression of disease is important for AIDS vaccine development. The aim of this study was to determine the Env residues targeted by early SIV NAbs and to assess the influence of prior vaccination on neutralizing antibody kinetics and specificity during early infection. We previously described stereotypic env sequence variations in SIVmac251-infected rhesus monkeys that resulted in viral escape from NAbs. Here, we defined the early viral targets of neutralization and determined whether the ability of serum antibody from infected monkeys to neutralize SIV was altered in the setting of prior vaccination. To localize the viral determinants recognized by early NAbs, a panel of mutant pseudoviruses was assessed in a TZM-bl reporter gene neutralization assay to define the precise changes that eliminate recognition by SIV Env-specific NAbs in 16 rhesus monkeys. Changing R420 to G or R424 to Q in V4 of Env resulted in the loss of recognition by NAbs in vaccinated monkeys. In contrast, mutations in the V1 region of Env did not alter the NAb profile. These findings indicate that early NAbs are directed toward SIVmac251 Env V4 but not the V1 region, and that this env vaccination regimen did not alter the kinetics or the breadth of NAbs during early infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science