Successful development of an effective HIV vaccine hasn't occurred yet partly as a consequence of the antigenic variation deployed by HIV-1 to escape the immune system. Our laboratory is dedicated to develop a single peptide synthesis approach to create multivalent peptides representing hypervariable epitopes of the gp120 envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1. Our previous study showed that our HIV HECs are potent immunogens that activate both humoral and cellular arms of the acquired immune response and that these responses are broadly reactive, recognizing epitopes from divergent strains of HIV-1. To detect the long term duration of memory response induced by HIV HECs, two rhesus macaques were immunized at weeks 0 and 8 and euthanized two weeks after a third immunization at week 393 (more than 8 years later). Antibody response to individual components of HIV HEC immunogens and HIV HEC-induced cross-reactive antibody response were determined by an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). The antibody titer to individual HIV HEC components and a mixture of the five peptides was greater than 1:5000 dilution. Antibodies from HIV HEC-immunized macaques recognized HIV HEC analogs representing the monovalent epitopes of five variable regions of gp120 from subtype B HIV-1 MN, HIV-1 RF and HIV-1 SF2 isolates with an antibody titer greater than 1: 500 dilution. Moreover, lymphocytes from lymph nodes of HIV HEC-immunized macaques showed T cell proliferative responses specific to HIV HEC individual components and to the five HIV HEC peptides combined. Our results clearly show that in these two macaques, HIV HECs induced strong, long-lasting anamnestic immune responses 8 years after immunization.
- Hypervariable epitope constructs (HECs)
- Long term immunological memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy