B cell clonal lineage alterations upon recombinant HIV-1 envelope immunization of rhesus macaques.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


PLoS pathogens, Volume 14, Issue 6, p.e1007120 (2018)


Bioinformatics Core Facility, Genomics Core Facility


Broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibodies (bNAbs) isolated from infected subjects display protective potential in animal models. Their elicitation by immunization is thus highly desirable. The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) is the sole viral target of bnAbs, but is also targeted by binding, non-neutralizing antibodies. Env-based immunogens tested so far in various animal species and humans have elicited binding and autologous neutralizing antibodies but not bNAbs (with a few notable exceptions). The underlying reasons for this are not well understood despite intensive efforts to characterize the binding specificities of the elicited antibodies; mostly by employing serologic methodologies and monoclonal antibody isolation and characterization. These approaches provide limited information on the ontogenies and clonal B cell lineages that expand following Env-immunization. Thus, our current understanding on how the expansion of particular B cell lineages by Env may be linked to the development of non-neutralizing antibodies is limited. Here, in addition to serological analysis, we employed high-throughput BCR sequence analysis from the periphery, lymph nodes and bone marrow, as well as B cell- and antibody-isolation and characterization methods, to compare in great detail the B cell and antibody responses elicited in non-human primates by two forms of the clade C HIV Env 426c: one representing the full length extracellular portion of Env while the other lacking the variable domains 1, 2 and 3 and three conserved N-linked glycosylation sites. The two forms were equally immunogenic, but only the latter elicited neutralizing antibodies by stimulating a more restricted expansion of B cells to a narrower set of IGH/IGK/IGL-V genes that represented a small fraction (0.003-0.02%) of total B cells. Our study provides new information on how Env antigenic differences drastically affect the expansion of particular B cell lineages and supports immunogen-design efforts aiming at stimulating the expansion of cells expressing particular B cell receptors.