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Vaccine. 2002 Nov 22;21(1-2):89-97.

Synthetic AIDS vaccine by targeting HIV receptor.

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United Biomedical Inc., 25 Davids Drive, Hauppauge, NY 11788, USA.


A class of synthetic peptide immunogens for the cell surface HIV receptor complex has been developed to elicit antibodies that block viral entry by inhibiting gp120-CD4 interaction. These peptides extend our HIV receptor-directed approach from passive immunotherapy with mAb B4 (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 96 (1999) 10367) to active immunization by a synthetic peptide-based vaccine. A peptide site from CD4 was identified as a B cell epitope capable of mimicking a susceptible site on the HIV receptor complex, and then rendered immunogenic. An effective target antigenic site (B cell epitope) for the cell surface HIV receptor complex was selected by epitope mapping from among diverse CD4 and chemokine receptor peptides. It is a cyclized sequence modified from the CDR2-like domain of CD4 (AA 39-66), that was predicted to produce steric hindrance of the discontinuous recognition site of mAb B4. The immunogenicity of the targeted epitope was augmented by tandem combination with promiscuous T helper cell epitopes (Th). The antibody response to this class of immunogens attained sufficient concentrations and affinities of the correct specificity to block the interactions of HIV env glycoprotein with the cellular receptor, and prevent infection. The polyclonal antibodies generated against these fusion constructs in multiple animal species neutralized a broad array of HIV-1 primary isolates from clades A to E. Despite eliciting antibodies to the key CD4 immunomodulatory molecule, the site-specific and chemically defined immunogens displayed no overt immunotoxicity in baboons and have potential for the immunotherapy and immunoprophylaxis of HIV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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