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Antibody Responses to Immunization With HCV Envelope Glycoproteins as a Baseline for B cell-Based Vaccine Development

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  • Fang Chen
  • Kenna Nagy
  • Deborah Chavez
  • Shelby Willis
  • Ryan McBride
  • Erick Giang
  • Andrew Honda
  • Jens Bukh
  • Phillip Ordoukhanian
  • Jiang Zhu
  • Sharon Frey
  • Robert Lanford
  • Mansun Law
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Background & Aims: We investigated antibody responses to hepatitis C virus (HCV) antigens E1 and E2 and the relevance of animal models for vaccine development. We compared antibody responses to vaccination with recombinant E1E2 complex in healthy volunteers, non-human primates (NHPs), and mice. Methods: We analyzed 519 serum samples from participants in a phase 1 vaccine trial ( identifier NCT00500747) and compared them with serum or plasma samples from C57BL/6J mice (n = 28) and rhesus macaques (n = 4) immunized with the same HCV E1E2 antigen. Blood samples were collected at different time points and analyzed for antibody binding, neutralizing activity, and epitope specificity. Monoclonal antibodies from the immunized NHPs were isolated from single plasmablasts and memory B cells, and their immunogenetic properties were characterized. Results: Antibody responses of the volunteers, NHPs, and mice to the non-neutralizing epitopes on the E1 N-terminus and E2 hypervariable region 1 did not differ significantly. Antibodies from volunteers and NHPs that neutralized heterologous strains of HCV primarily interacted with epitopes in the antigen region 3. However, the neutralizing antibodies were not produced in sufficient levels for broad neutralization of diverse HCV isolates. Broadly neutralizing antibodies similar to the human V H1-69 class antibody specific for antigen region 3 were produced in the immunized NHPs. Conclusions: In an analysis of vaccinated volunteers, NHPs, and mice, we found that recombinant E1E2 vaccine antigen induces high-antibody titers that are insufficient to neutralize diverse HCV isolates. Antibodies from volunteers and NHPs bind to the same neutralizing epitopes for virus neutralization. NHPs can therefore be used as a preclinical model to develop HCV vaccines. These findings also provide useful baseline values for development of vaccines designed to induce production of neutralizing antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1058-1071.e6
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • AR3, Animal Model, HVR1, mAb, Immunogenicity, Vaccine, Viral Envelope Proteins/immunology, Immunization, Humans, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Macaca mulatta, Hepatitis C Antigens/immunology, B-Lymphocytes/immunology, Viral Hepatitis Vaccines/immunology, Animals, Hepatitis C Antibodies/immunology, Mice, Hepacivirus/immunology, Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology, Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology, Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic, Hepatitis C/immunology, Disease Models, Animal

ID: 58540664