Elicitation of Neutralizing Antibody Responses to HIV-1 Immunization with Nanoparticle Vaccine Platforms.


A leading strategy for developing a prophylactic HIV-1 vaccine is the elicitation of antibodies that can neutralize a large fraction of circulating HIV-1 variants. However, a major challenge that has limited the effectiveness of current vaccine candidates is the extensive global diversity of the HIV-1 envelope protein (Env), the sole target for HIV-neutralizing antibodies. To address this challenge, various strategies incorporating Env diversity into the vaccine formulation have been proposed. Here, we assessed the potential of two such strategies that utilize a nanoparticle-based vaccine platform to elicit broadly neutralizing antibody responses. The nanoparticle immunogens developed here consisted of different formulations of Envs from strains BG505 (clade A) and CZA97 (clade C), attached to the N-termini of bacterial ferritin. Single-antigen nanoparticle cocktails, as well as mosaic nanoparticles bearing both Env trimers, elicited high antibody titers in mice and guinea pigs. Furthermore, serum from guinea pigs immunized with nanoparticle immunogens achieved autologous, and in some cases heterologous, tier 2 neutralization, although significant differences between mosaic and single-antigen nanoparticles were not observed. These results provide insights into the ability of different vaccine strategies for incorporating Env sequence diversity to elicit neutralizing antibodies, with implications for the development of broadly protective HIV-1 vaccines.