Understanding the basis of an immune response that controls infection or provides sterilizing immunity remains a major goal in the search for effectiv vaccines or immunotherapies for HIV. Antibodies (Abs) induced by candidate vaccines to the surface envelope glycoprotein have not neutralized a broad array of primary virus isolates. For this reason, eliciting a cytotoxic cellular response has been the primary goal in most recent vaccine trials. However, this approach has not been successful in containing viral replication in vaccinees that have become HIV-infected. Antibody-dependant cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) has been shown to mediate sterilizing immunity against challenge with pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus [Hessel 2007]. In ADCC, Fc-bearing Abs bind viral epitopes coating an infected CD4+ target T cell and an Fc receptor bearing effector, most commonly natural killer cells (NKs), bind the Ab and use perforin to deliver granzymes which induce apoptosis in the target. We want to study ADCC in infected patients to understand the magnitude and characteristics of the best responses achieved by natural infection. First, we will compare ADCC mediated by the sera of a cohort of patients using a granzyme B cytotoxicity assay developed in our lab. Based on these findings, we will select the sera of patients with the most ADCC, generate monoclonal Abs (mAbs), and characterize the mAbs based on epitope specificity, affinity, potency, breadth, IgG isotype, and Fc type. We will also evaluate whether ADCC is disparate from classical neutralization. Finally, we will use microscopy to examine the synapse between effectors, Abs, and targets. The outcome of this research will provide insight into the characteristics of Abs that mediate ADCC that are likely important goals in the design of HIV vaccines or immunotherapies. Hypothesis: Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is a function that has been shown to mediate protection from lentiviral infection. We hypothesize that variations in ADCC activity of sera are dictated by the amount, specificity, and subclass of HIV-specific antibodies.
Aim 1 : Characterize the potency of sera of HIV-infected individuals in ADCC.
Aim 2 : Characterize the specificity and breadth of antibodies with ADCC activity.
Aim 3 : Characterize the structure and function of the target-effector synapse using both fixed and live cell laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and tomography.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding the role of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) in HIV could provide important insights for induction of this activity through vaccination. This project seeks to characterize the Abs that mediate ADCC and image the functional synapse formed by cellular components involved in ADCC with the goal of defining new goals for the development of HIV vaccines and therapeutics.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-J (22))
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Adger-Johnson, Diane S
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Smalls-Mantey, Adjoa; Connors, Mark; Sattentau, Quentin J (2013) Comparative efficiency of HIV-1-infected T cell killing by NK cells, monocytes and neutrophils. PLoS One 8:e74858