An HIV-1/HIV-2 Chimeric Envelope Glycoprotein Generates Binding and Neutralising Antibodies against HIV-1 and HIV-2 Isolates

Nuno Taveira, Inês Figueiredo, Rita Calado, Francisco Martin, Inês Bártolo, José M. Marcelino, Pedro Borrego, Fernando Cardoso, Helena Barroso

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The development of immunogens that elicit broadly reactive neutralising antibodies (bNAbs) is the highest priority for an HIV vaccine. We have shown that a prime-boost vaccination strategy with vaccinia virus expressing the envelope glycoprotein gp120 of HIV-2 and a polypeptide comprising the envelope regions C2, V3 and C3 elicits bNAbs against HIV-2. We hypothesised that a chimeric envelope gp120 containing the C2, V3 and C3 regions of HIV-2 and the remaining parts of HIV-1 would elicit a neutralising response against HIV-1 and HIV-2. This chimeric envelope was synthesised and expressed in vaccinia virus. Balb/c mice primed with the recombinant vaccinia virus and boosted with an HIV-2 C2V3C3 polypeptide or monomeric gp120 from a CRF01_AG HIV-1 isolate produced antibodies that neutralised >60% (serum dilution 1:40) of a primary HIV-2 isolate. Four out of nine mice also produced antibodies that neutralised at least one HIV-1 isolate. Neutralising epitope specificity was assessed using a panel of HIV-1 TRO.11 pseudoviruses with key neutralising epitopes disrupted by alanine substitution (N160A in V2; N278A in the CD4 binding site region; N332A in the high mannose patch). The neutralisation of the mutant pseudoviruses was reduced or abolished in one mouse, suggesting that neutralising antibodies target the three major neutralising epitopes in the HIV-1 envelope gp120. These results provide proof of concept for chimeric HIV-1/HIV-2 envelope glycoproteins as vaccine immunogens that can direct the antibody response against neutralising epitopes in the HIV-1 and HIV-2 surface glycoproteins.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9077
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • chimeric envelope glycoproteins
  • HIV vaccine
  • neutralizing antibodies
  • neutralizing epitopes
  • vaccinia virus


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