Antibody recognition of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoprotein is hindered by the densely-packed host glycans that coat the surface of Env. Antibodies that interact with Env glycans have the potential to develop broad HIV- 1 reactivity and neutralization. However, host glycans are poorly immunogenic, presenting a challenge for eliciting glycan-reactive neutralizing antibodies. In the first term of our grant, we defined a new type of neutralizing HIV-1 antibody that bound the glycans that shield the HIV-1 envelope. These antibodies were isolated from multiple vaccinated macaques and simian-human immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques. Distinct from known glycan-dependent HIV-1 antibodies, these antibodies exhibited the ability to form I-shaped and Y-shaped IgG molecules, and bound to glycans via a deep cavity formed by the heavy chain variable region. We termed this type of antibody Fab-dimerized glycan (FDG) antibodies, since the dimerization of the Fabs generated the I-shaped conformation. Vaccine-induced FDG antibodies broadly neutralize HIV-1 when the virus glycosylation is restricted to Man9GlcNAc2?these are termed Type I FDG antibodies. Type II FDG antibodies are similar to Type I, except they do not require Man9GlcNAc2 enrichment for neutralization of the autologous virus that initiated the antibody lineage. Additionally, Type III FDG antibodies from infected macaques bind to more glycosylation sites than Type I vaccine-induced FDG antibodies, and exhibit broad HIV-1 neutralizing activity irrespective of the type of glycan present on HIV-1 envelope. The scientific premise of this work is that the development of FDG antibody HIV-1 neutralization breadth is dependent upon antibody recognition of multiple Env glycosylation sites, and antibody recognition of diverse glycans at each Env glycosylation site. The goal of this study will be to guide antibody affinity maturation and selection from Type I FDG antibodies to Type III FDG antibodies. We have designed structural and antigenic mimics of the glycosylated region of Env targeted by these antibodies, and arrayed 24 copies of this glycopeptide on a protein nanoparticle. We propose to isolate FDG antibodies from vaccinated macaques whose serum suggests their antibodies are developing into Type III broadly neutralizing FDG antibodies (Aim 1); determine the common genetic or biochemical features between Type I and Type III FDG antibodies that contribute to the development of neutralization breadth (Aim 2); and elicit Type III FDG antibodies in macaques with Env minimal immunogen nanoparticles (Aim 3). This work is significant because it will define a path for reproducibly eliciting HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies, and it will define promiscuous glycan recognition as the mechanism by which neutralization breadth occurs for FDG antibodies. This approach would have great impact on the field as it will demonstrate an alternative vaccine approach for the induction of HIV-1 bnAbs that does not require targeting and shepherding rare precursors of broadly neutralizing antibodies.

Public Health Relevance

During HIV-1 replication, its proteins are covered in sugar molecules derived from the infected cell. The dense coat of host sugar molecules covers the virus-specific targets on the viral protein, allowing HIV-1 to circumvent proteins made by the immune system called antibodies. We have found a novel subset of antibodies, with an atypical shape, that are able to recognize the HIV-1 envelope protein via the dense shield of sugar molecules that normally inhibits antibody recognition. These antibodies, when found in macaques infected with the macaque version of HIV-1, exhibited broad inhibitory activity against HIV-1 infection. This type of antibody could be part of an effective antibody response if elicited by vaccination. Using these antibodies as a template, we developed a vaccine that focuses the immune response against the sugars on HIV-1 proteins. We will test whether our vaccine that presents only the appropriate type and number of sugar molecules can elicit broad and potent inhibitory antibodies in macaques.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
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HIV Immunopathogenesis and Vaccine Development Study Section (HIVD)
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Miller, Nancy R
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Duke University
Schools of Medicine
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Saunders, Kevin O; Santra, Sampa; Parks, Robert et al. (2018) Immunogenicity of NYVAC Prime-Protein Boost Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Envelope Vaccination and Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus Challenge of Nonhuman Primates. J Virol 92:
Alam, S Munir; Aussedat, Baptiste; Vohra, Yusuf et al. (2017) Mimicry of an HIV broadly neutralizing antibody epitope with a synthetic glycopeptide. Sci Transl Med 9:
Williams, Wilton B; Zhang, Jinsong; Jiang, Chuancang et al. (2017) Initiation of HIV neutralizing B cell lineages with sequential envelope immunizations. Nat Commun 8:1732
Bonsignori, Mattia; Kreider, Edward F; Fera, Daniela et al. (2017) Staged induction of HIV-1 glycan-dependent broadly neutralizing antibodies. Sci Transl Med 9:
Saunders, Kevin O; Nicely, Nathan I; Wiehe, Kevin et al. (2017) Vaccine Elicitation of High Mannose-Dependent Neutralizing Antibodies against the V3-Glycan Broadly Neutralizing Epitope in Nonhuman Primates. Cell Rep 18:2175-2188
Saunders, Kevin O; Verkoczy, Laurent K; Jiang, Chuancang et al. (2017) Vaccine Induction of Heterologous Tier 2 HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibodies in Animal Models. Cell Rep 21:3681-3690