Research Hones in on Antibodies’ Interaction With HIV Surface

Experiments hone in on areas to target for a potential HIV vaccine.

Four antibodies targeted a single spot on HIV’s surface, called the V2 apex, so focusing research on this particular area of HIV could lead to vaccines that could potentially neutralize the HIV virus, according to findings published recently in the journal Immunity.

Raiees Andrabi, PhD, worked with senior study author Dennis R. Burton, Phd, of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and colleagues at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California to modify viruses and engineer proteins in the series of experiments. They noted that the V2 apex is the location on the HIV virus surface where 4 prototype antibodies recognized the virus on approximately 90% of strains. 

Two of the antibodies used their basic germline structure and did not need to mutate to bind to the V2 apex, which should result in HIV patients’ immune systems to immediately respond to infection, they explained..

“The combination of designed immunogens and immunization strategies based on the type of data presented here together with empirical evaluation of immunogens in animal systems, particularly those expressing human antibody repertoires such as humanized or knockin mice (Jardine et al., 2015, Lee et al., 2014), is most likely to be successful in inducing HIV broadly-neutralizing antibodies,” the researchers wrote.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


1. Andrabi R, Voss JE, Liang CH et al. Identification of common features in prototype broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV envelope V2 apex to facilitate vaccine design. Immun. 2015;43(5):959-973.