Natural antibodies to gp41 inhibit HIV-1 replication through the recognition of two different regions, corresponding to the leucine zipper motif in the HR1 alpha-helix and to another motif within HR2 region, hosting 2F5 and 4E10 epitope. This study aimed at reproducing such protective responses through VLP vaccination. Six regions covering the alpha-helical regions of gp41 were conjugated to the surface of AP205 phage-based VLPs. Once administered in mice via systemic or mucosal route, these immunogens elicited high titers of gp41-specific IgG. Immunogenicity and HIV infectivity reduction were obtained either with HR2 regions or with peptides where aminoacid strings were added to either the C-terminus or N-terminus of core epitope in HR1 region. Antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity was induced by one of the HR2 epitopes only. These results may have relevant implications for the development of new vaccinal approaches against HIV infection.
- Neutralizing antibodies
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