Institut de Biologie StructuraleGrenoble / France

Team Poignard

Overview

The recent discovery of HIV-1 neutralising antibodies (Ac) capable of blocking replication of a large fraction of the diversity of circulating isolates, termed broad spectrum neutralising Ac (AcLS), has re-launched research into the development of an Ac-based HIV vaccine. A fraction of HIV-1 infected individuals develop AcLS responses, usually within a few years of infection. AcLS isolated from these donors target the viral glycoproteins gp120 and gp41 at regions that are highly structurally conserved despite the enormous sequence diversity. These regions include the CD4 binding site, the V3 N332 glycan region, a quaternary epitope in the V1/V2 region, the MPER region of gp41 and epitopes at the gp120/gp41 interface.

AcLS acquisition could protect against most HIV-1 strains and is therefore considered one of the priorities in the field of HIV vaccine research. However, to date, no candidate vaccine has been found to induce such responses.

Pascal Poignard’s team is focusing on the study of AcLS responses as they develop in rare HIV-infected individuals. Understanding the virus-Ac coevolution that leads to the selection of AcLS should allow the design of effective immunogens as well as the development of new vaccination strategies to prevent HIV infection.

Research topics
- HIV entry pathway and neutralisation mechanisms
- Roles of neutralising antibodies in the prevention and treatment of HIV infection
- Broad spectrum neutralising antibodies and their development : co-evolution of viral envelope glycoproteins

Key words
Human monoclonal antibodies - Neutralisation - HIV - Vaccine

Specialised techniques
- Isolation of human monoclonal antibodies
- Production of HIV envelope protein in monomeric and trimeric form
- Production/Purification of monoclonal antibodies
- HIV neutralisation testing