Effects of Adjuvants on HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein SOSIP Trimers .

TitleEffects of Adjuvants on HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein SOSIP Trimers .
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsOzorowski G, Cupo A, Golabek M, LoPiccolo M, Ketas TA, Cavallary M, Cottrell CA, Klasse PJ, Ward AB, Moore JP
JournalJ Virol
Date Published2018 07 01
KeywordsAdjuvants, Immunologic, AIDS Vaccines, Antibodies, Neutralizing, env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Epitopes, HEK293 Cells, HIV Antibodies, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Protein Multimerization

Native-like, soluble, recombinant SOSIP trimers of various designs and based on several genes of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are being tested as immunogens in different animal models. These experiments almost always involve coformulating the trimers with an adjuvant to boost the magnitude of the immune responses. One factor relevant to the choice of an adjuvant is that it should not physically damage the immunogen or impede its ability to present relevant epitopes. As examples, an adjuvant formulation that includes harsh detergents could disrupt the structural integrity of a trimer, and any charged compounds in the formulation could bind to countercharged regions of the trimer and physically occlude nearby epitopes. While a few adjuvants have been tested for their potential effects on SOSIP trimers , there has been no systematic study. Here, we have assessed how nine different adjuvants of various compositions affect SOSIP trimers of the BG505 and B41 genotypes. We used negative-stain electron microscopy, thermal denaturation, and gel electrophoresis to evaluate effects on trimer integrity and immunoassays to measure effects on the presentation of various epitopes. We conclude that most of the tested adjuvants are benign from these perspectives, but some raise grounds for concern. An acidified alum formulation is highly disruptive to trimer integrity, and a DNA-based polyanionic CpG oligodeoxynucleotide adjuvant binds to trimers and occludes the trimer apex epitope for the PGT145 neutralizing antibody. The methods described here should be generalizable to protein subunit vaccines targeting various pathogens. Adjuvant formulations increase the magnitude of immune responses to vaccine antigens. They are critically important for formulation of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) vaccines intended to induce antibody production, as Env proteins are otherwise only very weakly immunogenic. The HIV-1 vaccine field now uses the well-defined structures of trimeric Env glycoproteins, like SOSIPs, to present multiple known epitopes for broad and potent neutralizing human antibodies in a native-like conformation. Successful adjuvant formulations must not disrupt how the trimers are folded, as that could adversely affect their performance as immunogens. We studied whether the various adjuvants most commonly used in animal experiments affect the integrity of two different SOSIP trimers Most adjuvant classes are not problematic, but an aluminum sulfate formulation is highly damaging, as it exposes trimers to acidic pH and a nucleic acid-based adjuvant can bind to the trimer and block access to a key neutralizing epitope.

Alternate JournalJ. Virol.
PubMed ID29669838
PubMed Central IDPMC6002727
Grant ListP01 AI110657 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States

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