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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 28;110(22):9019-24. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301456110. Epub 2013 May 9.

Vaccine-induced plasma IgA specific for the C1 region of the HIV-1 envelope blocks binding and effector function of IgG.

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Duke Human Vaccine Institute, and Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Analysis of correlates of risk of infection in the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial demonstrated that plasma IgG against the HIV-1 envelope (Env) variable region 1 and 2 inversely correlated with risk, whereas HIV-1 Env-specific plasma IgA responses directly correlated with risk. In the secondary analysis, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) was another inverse correlate of risk, but only in the presence of low plasma IgA Env-specific antibodies. Thus, we investigated the hypothesis that IgA could attenuate the protective effect of IgG responses through competition for the same Env binding sites. We report that Env-specific plasma IgA/IgG ratios are higher in infected than in uninfected vaccine recipients in RV144. Moreover, Env-specific IgA antibodies from RV144 vaccinees blocked the binding of ADCC-mediating mAb to HIV-1 Env glycoprotein 120 (gp120). An Env-specific monomeric IgA mAb isolated from an RV144 vaccinee also inhibited the ability of natural killer cells to kill HIV-1-infected CD4(+) T cells coated with RV144-induced IgG antibodies. We show that monomeric Env-specific IgA, as part of postvaccination polyclonal antibody response, may modulate vaccine-induced immunity by diminishing ADCC effector function.

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