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J Virol. 2012 Dec;86(24):13152-63. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01110-12. Epub 2012 Sep 26.

Role of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope structure in the induction of broadly neutralizing antibodies.

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  • 1GIMAP EA3064, CIC CIE3 Vaccinology, Facult√© de Medicine de Saint Etienne, Universit√© de Lyon, Lyon, France.


Very soon after the discovery of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) toward human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, it became apparent that characterization of these NAbs would be an important step in finding a cure for or a vaccine to eradicate HIV-1. Since the initial description of broadly cross-clade NAbs naturally produced in HIV-1 patients, numerous studies have described new viral targets for these antibodies. More recently, studies concerning new groups of patients able to control their viremia, such as long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs) or elite controllers, have described the generation of numerous envelope-targeted NAbs. Recent studies have marked a new stage in research on NAbs with the description of antibodies obtained from a worldwide screening of HIV-positive patients. These studies have permitted the discovery of NAb families with great potential for both neutralization and neutralization breadth, such as PG, PGT, CH, and highly active agonistic anti-CD4 binding site antibodies (HAADs), of which VRC01 and its variants are members. These antibodies are able to neutralize more than 80% of circulating strains without any autoreactivity and can be rapidly integrated into clinical trials in order to test their protective potential. In this review, we will focus on new insights into HIV-1 envelope structure and their implications for the generation of potent NAbs.

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