Author(s): Fischer W, Perkins S, Theiler J, Bhattacharya T, Yusim K, , Fischer W, Perkins S, Theiler J, Bhattacharya T, Yusim K,
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Abstract HIV-1/AIDS vaccines must address the extreme diversity of HIV-1. We have designed new polyvalent vaccine antigens comprised of sets of 'mosaic' proteins, assembled from fragments of natural sequences via a computational optimization method. Mosaic proteins resemble natural proteins, and a mosaic set maximizes the coverage of potential T-cell epitopes (peptides of nine amino acids) for a viral population. We found that coverage of viral diversity using mosaics was greatly increased compared to coverage by natural-sequence vaccine candidates, for both variable and conserved proteins; for conserved HIV-1 proteins, global coverage may be feasible. For example, four mosaic proteins perfectly matched 74\% of 9-amino-acid potential epitopes in global Gag sequences; 87\% of potential epitopes matched at least 8 of 9 positions. In contrast, a single natural Gag protein covered only 37\% (9 of 9) and 67\% (8 of 9). Mosaics provide diversity coverage comparable to that afforded by thousands of separate peptides, but, because the fragments of natural proteins are compressed into a small number of native-like proteins, they are tractable for vaccines.
This article was published in Nat Med
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research