• Authors: Ringe RP. et al.
  • Year: 2020
  • Journal: J Virol 94 e01883-19
  • Applications: in vitro / DNA / FectoCHO Expression System


We covalently attached human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Env SOSIP trimers to iron oxide nanoparticles (IO-NPs) to create a particulate immunogen for neutralizing antibody (NAb) induction. The attached trimers, ?20 per particle, retained native-like antigenicity, judged by reactivity with NAbs and non-NAbs. Bivalent (BG505 and B41) trimer IO-NPs were made, as were IO-NPs displaying B41 trimers carrying a PADRE T-cell helper epitope (TCHE). We immunized mice with B41 soluble or IO-NP trimers after PADRE peptide priming. After two immunizations, IO-NP presentation and the TCHE tag independently and substantially increased anti-trimer antibody responses, but titer differences waned after two further doses. Notable and unexpected findings were that autologous NAbs to the N289 glycan hole epitope were consistently induced in mice given soluble but not IO-NP trimers. Various recombinant mannose binding lectins (MBLs) and MBLs in sera of both murine and human origin bound to soluble and IO-NP trimers. MBL binding occluded the autologous NAb epitope on the B41 IO-NP trimers, which may contribute to its poor immunogenicity. The exposure of a subset of broadly active NAb epitopes was also impaired by MBL binding, which could have substantial implications for the utility of trimer-bearing nanoparticles in general and perhaps also for soluble Env proteins.IMPORTANCE Recombinant trimeric SOSIP proteins are vaccine components intended to induce neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) that prevent cells from infection by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). A way to increase the strength of antibody responses to these proteins is to present them on the surface of nanoparticles (NPs). We chemically attached about 20 SOSIP trimers to NPs made of iron oxide (IO). The resulting IO-NP trimers had appropriate properties when we studied them in the laboratory but, unexpectedly, were less able to induce NAbs than nonattached trimers when used to immunize mice. We found that mannose binding lectins, proteins naturally present in the serum of mice and other animals, bound strongly to the soluble and IO-NP trimers, blocking access to antibody epitopes in a way that may impede the development of NAb responses. These findings should influence how trimer-bearing NPs of various designs are made and used.