Analysis of memory B cell responses and isolation of novel monoclonal antibodies with neutralizing breadth from HIV-1-infected individuals.


BACKGROUND: The isolation of human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that neutralize a broad spectrum of primary HIV-1 isolates and the characterization of the human neutralizing antibody B cell response to HIV-1 infection are important goals that are central to the design of an effective antibody-based vaccine. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We immortalized IgG(+) memory B cells from individuals infected with diverse clades of HIV-1 and selected on the basis of plasma neutralization profiles that were cross-clade and relatively potent. Culture supernatants were screened using various recombinant forms of the envelope glycoproteins (Env) in multiple parallel assays. We isolated 58 mAbs that were mapped to different Env surfaces, most of which showed neutralizing activity. One mAb in particular (HJ16) specific for a novel epitope proximal to the CD4 binding site on gp120 selectively neutralized a multi-clade panel of Tier-2 HIV-1 pseudoviruses, and demonstrated reactivity that was comparable in breadth, but distinct in neutralization specificity, to that of the other CD4 binding site-specific neutralizing mAb b12. A second mAb (HGN194) bound a conserved epitope in the V3 crown and neutralized all Tier-1 and a proportion of Tier-2 pseudoviruses tested, irrespective of clade. A third mAb (HK20) with broad neutralizing activity, particularly as a Fab fragment, recognized a highly conserved epitope in the HR-1 region of gp41, but showed striking assay-dependent selectivity in its activity. CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals that by using appropriate screening methods, a large proportion of memory B cells can be isolated that produce mAbs with HIV-1 neutralizing activity. Three of these mAbs show unusual breadth of neutralization and therefore add to the current panel of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies with potential for passive protection and template-based vaccine design.





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Corti, Davide, Johannes PM Langedijk, Andreas Hinz, Michael S Seaman, Fabrizia Vanzetta, Blanca M Fernandez-Rodriguez, Chiara Silacci, Debora Pinna, et al. (2010). Analysis of memory B cell responses and isolation of novel monoclonal antibodies with neutralizing breadth from HIV-1-infected individuals. PLoS One, 5(1). p. e8805. 10.1371/journal.pone.0008805 Retrieved from

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David Charles Montefiori

Professor in Surgery

Dr. Montefiori is Professor and Director of the Laboratory for HIV and COVID-19 Vaccine Research & Development in the Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Sciences at Duke University Medical Center. His major research interests are viral immunology and HIV and COVID-19 vaccine development, with a special emphasis on neutralizing antibodies.

Multiple aspects of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies are studied in his laboratory, including mechanisms of neutralization and escape, epitope diversity among the different genetic subtypes and geographic distributions of the virus, neutralizing epitopes, requirements to elicit protective neutralizing antibodies by vaccination, optimal combinations of neutralizing antibodies for immunoprophylaxis, and novel vaccine designs for HIV-1. Dr. Montefiori also directs large vaccine immune monitoring programs funded by the NIH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that operate in compliance with Good Clinical Laboratory Practices and has served as a national and international resource for standardized assessments of neutralizing antibody responses in preclinical and clinical trials of candidate HIV vaccines since 1988.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic he turned his attention to SARS-CoV-2, with a special interest in emerging variants and how they might impact transmission, vaccines and immunotherapeutics. His rapid response to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern provided some of the earliest evidence of the potential risk the variants pose to vaccines. In May 2020, his laboratory was recruited by the US Government to lead the national neutralizing antibody laboratory program for COVID-19 vaccines.

His laboratory utilizes FDA approved validated assay criteria to facilitate regulatory approvals of COVID-19 vaccines. He has published over 750 original research papers that have helped shape the scientific rationale for antibody-based vaccines.

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