A recent study led by MHRP researchers showed elevated B cell immune interactions with the envelope glycoprotein (Env) on the surface of HIV during the first month of HIV infection predict the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) years later. Findings were published yesterday in Cell Host & Microbe.
Determining which immunological mechanisms contribute to the development of bNAbs during HIV infection is a major goal to inform vaccine design. Gathering information from people living with HIV who produce bNAbs can provide valuable insight into mechanistic aspects of the immune system that initiate or guide bNAb development.
Using samples from MHRP’s RV217 East African acute HIV infection cohort, researchers investigated factors that were found to be important in the development of neutralization breadth. They found three key B cell determinants are associated with the development of bNAbs:
- A reduction in total peripheral B cells associates with HIV neutralization breadth.
- The initial interaction of founder virus Env with naive B cells predicts bNAb development.
- Increased B cell engagement with founder Env increases activation and differentiation.
These data demonstrate that the initial B cell interaction with the founder HIV Env is important for the development of bNAbs and provide evidence that events within HIV acute infection impact outcomes.