Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS Comput Biol. 2007 Apr 27;3(4):e75.

Coping with viral diversity in HIV vaccine design.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.


The ability of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) to develop high levels of genetic diversity, and thereby acquire mutations to escape immune pressures, contributes to the difficulties in producing a vaccine. Possibly no single HIV-1 sequence can induce sufficiently broad immunity to protect against a wide variety of infectious strains, or block mutational escape pathways available to the virus after infection. The authors describe the generation of HIV-1 immunogens that minimizes the phylogenetic distance of viral strains throughout the known viral population (the center of tree [COT]) and then extend the COT immunogen by addition of a composite sequence that includes high-frequency variable sites preserved in their native contexts. The resulting COT(+) antigens compress the variation found in many independent HIV-1 isolates into lengths suitable for vaccine immunogens. It is possible to capture 62% of the variation found in the Nef protein and 82% of the variation in the Gag protein into immunogens of three gene lengths. The authors put forward immunogen designs that maximize representation of the diverse antigenic features present in a spectrum of HIV-1 strains. These immunogens should elicit immune responses against high-frequency viral strains as well as against most mutant forms of the virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center