Nature communications 2017 11 178(1) 1601 doi 10.1038/s41467-017-01640-y
Oligomannose-type glycans are among the major targets on the gp120 component of the HIV envelope protein (Env) for broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). However, attempts to elicit oligomannose-specific nAbs by immunizing with natural or synthetic oligomannose have so far not been successful, possibly due to B cell tolerance checkpoints. Here we design and synthesize oligomannose mimetics, based on the unique chemical structure of a recently identified bacterial lipooligosaccharide, to appear foreign to the immune system. One of these mimetics is bound avidly by members of a family of oligomannose-specific bnAbs and their putative common germline precursor when presented as a glycoconjugate. The crystal structure of one of the mimetics bound to a member of this bnAb family confirms the antigenic resemblance. Lastly, immunization of human-antibody transgenic animals with a lead mimetic evokes nAbs with specificities approaching those of existing bnAbs. These results provide evidence for utilizing antigenic mimicry to elicit oligomannose-specific bnAbs to HIV-1.