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J Virol. 2007 Jun;81(12):6187-96. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Neutralizing antibody responses in acute human immunodeficiency virus type 1 subtype C infection.

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AIDS Virus Research Unit, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Private Bag X4, Sandringham 2131, Johannesburg, South Africa.


The study of the evolution and specificities of neutralizing antibodies during the course of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection may be important in the discovery of possible targets for vaccine design. In this study, we assessed the autologous and heterologous neutralization responses of 14 HIV-1 subtype C-infected individuals, using envelope clones obtained within the first 2 months postinfection. Our data show that potent but relatively strain-specific neutralizing antibodies develop within 3 to 12 months of HIV-1 infection. The magnitude of this response was associated with shorter V1-to-V5 envelope lengths and fewer glycosylation sites, particularly in the V1-V2 region. Anti-MPER antibodies were detected in 4 of 14 individuals within a year of infection, while antibodies to CD4-induced (CD4i) epitopes developed to high titers in 12 participants, in most cases before the development of autologous neutralizing antibodies. However, neither anti-MPER nor anti-CD4i antibody specificity conferred neutralization breadth. These data provide insights into the kinetics, potency, breadth, and epitope specificity of neutralizing antibody responses in acute HIV-1 subtype C infection.

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