Adrian B. McDermott
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Researcher at Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
Nature Medicine, 2018-06-04
A central goal of HIV-1-vaccine research is the elicitation of antibodies capable of neutralizing diverse primary isolates of HIV-1. Here we show that focusing the immune response to exposed N-terminal residues of the fusion peptide, a critical component of the viral entry machinery and the epitope of antibodies elicited by HIV-1 infection, through immunization with fusion peptide-coupled carriers and prefusion-stabilized envelope trimers, induces cross-clade neutralizing responses. In mice, these immunogens elicited monoclonal antibodies capable of neutralizing up to 31% of a cross-clade panel of 208 HIV-1 strains. Crystal and cryo-electron microscopy structures of these antibodies revealed fusion peptide-conformational diversity as a molecular explanation for the cross-clade neutralization. Immunization of guinea pigs and rhesus macaques induced similarly broad fusion peptide-directed neutralizing responses suggesting translatability. The N terminus of the HIV-1-fusion peptide is thus a promising target of vaccine efforts aimed at eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies.
The emergence of highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) that are resistant to therapeutic antibodies highlights the need for continuing discovery of broadly reactive antibodies. We identify four receptor-binding domain targeting antibodies from three early-outbreak convalescent donors with potent neutralizing activity against 12 variants including the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 VOCs. Two of them are ultrapotent, with sub-nanomolar neutralization titers (IC50 <0.0006 to 0.0102 g/mL; IC80 < 0.0006 to 0.0251 g/mL). We define the structural and functional determinants of binding for all four VOC-targeting antibodies, and show that combinations of two antibodies decrease the in vitro generation of escape mutants, suggesting potential means to mitigate resistance development. These results define the basis of therapeutic cocktails against VOCs and suggest that targeted boosting of existing immunity may increase vaccine breadth against VOCs. One Sentence SummaryUltrapotent antibodies from convalescent donors neutralize and mitigate resistance of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.
Influenza vaccines targeting the highly-conserved stem of the hemagglutinin (HA) surface glycoprotein have the potential to protect against pandemic and drifted seasonal influenza viruses not covered by current vaccines. While HA stem-based immunogens derived from group 1 influenza A have been shown to induce intra-group heterosubtypic protection, HA stem-specific antibody lineages originating from group 2 may be more likely to possess broad cross-group reactivity. We report the structure-guided development of mammalian cell-expressed candidate vaccine immunogens based on influenza A group 2 H3 and H7 HA stem trimers displayed on self-assembling ferritin nanoparticles using an iterative, multipronged approach involving helix stabilization, loop optimization, disulfide bond addition, and side chain repacking. These immunogens were thermostable, formed uniform and symmetric nanoparticles, were recognized by cross-group-reactive broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) with nanomolar affinity, and elicited protective, homosubtypic antibodies in mice. Importantly, several immunogens were able to activate B cells expressing inferred unmutated common ancestor (UCA) versions of cross-group-reactive human bNAbs from two multi-donor classes, suggesting they could initiate elicitation of these bNAbs in humans.
A number of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) to influenza virus have been isolated, characterized and developed as potential countermeasures for seasonal influenza epidemic and pandemic. Deep characterization of these bnAbs and polyclonal sera is critical to our understanding of influenza immunity and for desgining universal influenza vaccines. However, conventional influenza virus neutralization assays with live viruses require high-containment laboratories and are difficult to standardize and roboticize. Here, we built a panel of engineered influenza viruses carrying a fluorescent reporter gene to replace an essential viral gene. This restricts virus replication to cells expressing the missing viral gene in trans, allowing it to be manipulated in a biosafety level 2 environment. Using this system, we characterize the neutralization profile of a set of published and new bnAbs with a panel consisting of 55 viruses that spans the near complete antigenic evolution of human H1N1 and H3N2 viruses, as well as pandemic viruses such as H5N1 and H7N9. Our system opens opportunities to systematically characterize influenza immunity in greater depth, including the response directed at the viral hemagglutinin stem, a major target of universal influenza vaccines.