Study of Antibody Evolution Charts Course toward HIV Vaccine
Research Led by Scientists at NIH and Partner Institutions
Mar. 3, 2014-
In an advance for HIV vaccine research, a scientific team has discovered how the immune system makes a powerful antibody that blocks HIV infection of cells
by targeting a site on the virus called V1V2. Many researchers believe that if a vaccine could elicit potent antibodies to a specific
conserved site in the V1V2 region, one of a handful of sites that remains constant on the fast-mutating virus, then the vaccine could protect
people from HIV infection. Analyses of the results of
a clinical trial of the only experimental HIV vaccine to date to have modest success in people suggest that antibodies to sites within
V1V2 were protective. The new findings point the way toward a potentially more effective vaccine that would generate V1V2-directed
HIV neutralizing antibodies.
The study was led by scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National
Institutes of Health; Columbia University; the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa ( CAPRISA ); and
the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg. They began by identifying an HIV-infected volunteer in the CAPRISA cohort who
naturally developed V1V2-directed HIV neutralizing antibodies, named CAP256-VRC26, after several months of infection. Using techniques
similar to those employed in an earlier study of HIV-antibody co-evolution , the
researchers analyzed blood samples donated by the volunteer between 15 weeks and 4 years after becoming infected. This enabled the scientists to determine
the genetic make-up of the original form of the antibody; to identify and define the structures of a number of the intermediate forms taken as the
antibody mutated toward its fullest breadth and potency; and to describe the interplay between virus and antibody that fostered the maturation
of CAP256-VRC26 to its final, most powerful HIV-fighting form.
Notably, the study revealed that after relatively few mutations, even the early intermediates of CAP256-VRC26 can neutralize a significant proportion
of known HIV strains. This improves the chances that a V1V2-directed HIV vaccine developed based on the new findings would be effective, according to the
scientists, who have begun work on a set of vaccine components designed to elicit V1V2 neutralizing antibodies and guide their maturation.
ARTICLE:NA Doria-Rose et al. Developmental pathway for potent V1V2-directed HIV-neutralizing antibodies.
Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature13036 (2014).
WHO: NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and NIAID Vaccine Research Center Director John R. Mascola, M.D., are available
CONTACT:To schedule interviews, please contact Laura S. Leifman, (301) 402-1663, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIAID conducts and supports research-at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide-to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated
diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related
materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov .
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and
is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical,
and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov/ .
For more HIV and AIDS News visit...
Positively Positive - Living with HIV/AIDS: