Author(s): Xie JM, Pestano GA, Samms M, Lee SK, Guyden J, , Xie JM, Pestano GA, Samms M, Lee SK, Guyden J,
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Abstract Previous studies have shown that the African strains of HIV-1 mostly cluster with the subtypes A, C or D based on phylogenetic analysis of the ENV nucleotide sequences. In the present investigation we have examined the immunogenic potential of full length gp120 derived from the Ugandan HIV-1 subtype A isolate, AUG06c, using computer-based prediction methods and a plasmid-mediated immunization technique. Computer-assisted analysis of the amino acid residues identified 15 potential B-cell epitopes in gp120 of AUG06c. Despite marked variation in the primary sequences, these epitopes were shown to correspond well to analogous sites in gp120 derived from the subtype B reference clones, MN and IIIBBH10. The relative positions of the epitopes indicated that E9[V3], E14[C3] and E15[V5] correspond to the previously defined principal neutralizing determinant (PND) located in the V3 loop, the CD4 binding site and gp120 "immunodominant" region, respectively. Intramuscular inoculation of BALB/c mice with the ENV clones from AUG06c or from the subtype C clone, CUG045 elicited antibodies which react with the homologous but not with the heterologous PND peptide in ELISA. However, cocktail inoculation with the ENV plasmids from AUG06c and CUG045 elicited antibodies which reacted with both peptides. Antibody response to the other predicted epitopes of AUG06c was not as strong as the response to the PND peptide. The response of the mice to DNA-mediated immunization was further tested in a proliferation assay. Spleen cells derived from the immunized mice exhibited a strong proliferative response to homologous and heterologous PND peptides in [3H]thymidine incorporation assay. DNA-mediated immunization with rgp120 of AUG06c appears to elicit cellular immune response of relatively broad specificity.
This article was published in Vaccine
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research