Structural definition of an antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity response implicated in reduced risk for HIV-1 infection

Priyamvada Acharya, William D. Tolbert, Neelakshi Gohain, Xueji Wu, Lei Yu, Tongyun Liu, Wensheng Huang, Chih Chin Huang, Young Do Kwon, Robert K. Louder, Timothy S. Luongo, Jason S. McLellan, Marie Pancera, Yongping Yang, Baoshan Zhang, Robin Flinko, James S. Foulke, Mohammad M. Sajadi, Roberta Kamin-Lewis, James E. RobinsonLoïc Martin, Peter D. Kwong, Yongjun Guan, Anthony L. DeVico, George K. Lewis, Marzena Pazgier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The RV144 vaccine trial implicated epitopes in the C1 region of gp120 (A32-like epitopes) as targets of potentially protective antibody- dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) responses. A32-like epitopes are highly immunogenic, as infected or vaccinated individuals frequently produce antibodies specific for these determinants. Antibody titers, as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) against these epitopes, however, do not consistently correlate with protection. Here, we report crystal structures of CD4-stabilized gp120 cores complexed with the Fab fragments of two nonneutralizing, A32-like monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), N5-i5 and 2.2c, that compete for antigen binding and have similar antigen-binding affinities yet exhibit a 75-fold difference in ADCC potency. We find that these MAbs recognize overlapping epitopes formed by mobile layers 1 and 2 of the gp120 inner domain, including the C1 and C2 regions, but bind gp120 at different angles via juxtaposed VH and VL contact surfaces. A comparison of structural and immunological data further showed that antibody orientation on bound antigen and the capacity to form multivalent antigen-antibody complexes on target cells were key determinants of ADCC potency, with the latter process having the greater impact. These studies provide atomic-level definition of A32-like epitopes implicated as targets of protective antibodies in RV144. Moreover, these studies establish that epitope structure and mode of antibody binding can dramatically affect the potency of Fc-mediated effector function against HIV-1. These results provide key insights for understanding, refining, and improving the outcome of HIV vaccine trials, in which relevant immune responses are facilitated by A32- like elicited responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12895-12906
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number21
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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