BackgroundAntibodies (Abs) produced during HIV-1 infection rarely neutralize a broad range of viral isolates; only eight broadly-neutralizing (bNt) monoclonal (M)Abs have been isolated. Yet, to be effective, an HIV-1 vaccine may have to elicit the essential features of these MAbs. The V genes of all of these bNt MAbs are highly somatically mutated, and the VH genes of five of them encode a long (≥20 aa) third complementarity-determining region (CDR-H3). This led us to question whether long CDR-H3s and high levels of somatic mutation (SM) are a preferred feature of anti-HIV bNt MAbs, or if other adaptive immune responses elicit them in general.Methodology and Principal FindingsWe assembled a VH-gene sequence database from over 700 human MAbs of known antigen specificity isolated from chronic (viral) infections (ChI), acute (bacterial and viral) infections (AcI), and systemic autoimmune diseases (SAD), and compared their CDR-H3 length, number of SMs and germline VH-gene usage. We found that anti-HIV Abs, regardless of their neutralization breadth, tended to have long CDR-H3s and high numbers of SMs. However, these features were also common among Abs associated with other chronic viral infections. In contrast, Abs from acute viral infections (but not bacterial infections) tended to have relatively short CDR-H3s and a low number of SMs, whereas SAD Abs were generally intermediate in CDR-H3 length and number of SMs. Analysis of VH gene usage showed that ChI Abs also tended to favor distal germline VH-genes (particularly VH1-69), especially in Abs bearing long CDR-H3s.Conclusions and SignificanceThe striking difference between the Abs produced during chronic vs. acute viral infection suggests that Abs bearing long CDR-H3s, high levels of SM and VH1-69 gene usage may be preferentially selected during persistent infection.
Breden F, Lepik C, Longo NS, Montero M, Lipsky PE, et al. (2011) Comparison of Antibody Repertoires Produced by HIV-1 Infection, Other Chronic and Acute Infections, and Systemic Autoimmune Disease. PLoS ONE 6(3): e16857. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016857
Comparison of Antibody Repertoires Produced by HIV-1 Infection, Other Chronic and Acute Infections, and Systemic Autoimmune Disease
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