Factors associated with the development of cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies during human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of virology, Volume 83, Issue 2, p.757-69 (2009)


2009, Cross Reactions, env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Epitope Mapping, Epitopes, Female, HIV Antibodies, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, Male, Neutralization Tests, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute


The characterization of the cross-reactive, or heterologous, neutralizing antibody responses developed during human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and the identification of factors associated with their generation are relevant to the development of an HIV vaccine. We report that in healthy HIV-positive, antiretroviral-naïve subjects, the breadth of plasma heterologous neutralizing antibody responses correlates with the time since infection, plasma viremia levels, and the binding avidity of anti-Env antibodies. Anti-CD4-binding site antibodies are responsible for the exceptionally broad cross-neutralizing antibody responses recorded only in rare plasma samples. However, in most cases examined, antibodies to the variable regions and to the CD4-binding site of Env modestly contributed in defining the overall breadth of these responses. Plasmas with broad cross-neutralizing antibody responses were identified that targeted the gp120 subunit, but their precise epitopes mapped outside the variable regions and the CD4-binding site. Finally, although several plasmas were identified with cross-neutralizing antibody responses that were not directed against gp120, only one plasma with a moderate breadth of heterologous neutralizing antibody responses contained cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against the 4E10 epitope, which is within the gp41 transmembrane subunit. Overall, our study indicates that more than one pathway leads to the development of broad cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies during HIV infection and that the virus continuously escapes their action.