Over 2 million individuals are infected with HIV type 1 (HIV-1) each year, yet an effective vaccine remains elusive. The most successful HIV-1 vaccine to date demonstrated 31% efficacy. Immune correlate analyses associated HIV-1 envelope (Env)-specific antibodies with protection, thus providing a path toward a more effective vaccine. We sought to test the antibody response from novel prime-boost vaccination with a chimpanzee-derived adenovirus (AdC) vector expressing a subtype C Env glycoprotein (gp)140 combined with either a serologically distinct AdC vector expressing gp140 of a different subtype C isolate or an alum-adjuvanted, partially trimeric gp145 from yet another subtype C isolate.
Three different prime-boost regimens were tested in mice: AdC prime-protein boost, protein prime-AdC boost, and AdC prime-AdC boost. Each regimen was tested at two different doses of AdC vector in a total of six experimental groups.
Sera were collected at various time points and evaluated by ELISA for Env-specific antibody binding, isotype, and avidity. Antibody functionality was assessed by pseudovirus neutralization assay.
Priming with AdC followed by a protein boost or sequential immunizations with two AdC vectors induced HIV-1 Env-specific binding antibodies, including those to the variable region 2, whereas priming with protein followed by an AdC boost was relatively ineffective. Antibodies that cross-neutralized tier 1 HIV-1 from different subtypes were elicited with vaccine regimens that included immunizations with protein.
Our study warrants further investigation of AdC vector and gp145 protein prime-boost vaccines and their ability to protect against acquisition in animal challenge studies.