Journal of virology 2017 07 12() pii 10.1128/JVI.00411-17
The RV144 HIV vaccine trial included a recombinant HIV glycoprotein 120 (gp120) construct fused to a small portion of herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) glycoprotein D (gD), such that the first 40 amino acids of gp120 were replaced by the signal sequence and the first 27 amino acids of the mature form of gD. This region of gD contains most of the binding site for HVEM, an HSV receptor important for virus infection of epithelial cells and lymphocytes. RV144 induced antibodies to HIV that were partially protective against infection as well as antibodies to HSV. We derived monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) from peripheral blood B cells of recipients of the RV144 HIV vaccine and showed that these antibodies neutralized HSV1 infection in cells expressing HVEM, but not the other major virus receptor- nectin-1. The MAbs mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), and mice that received the MAbs and then challenged by corneal inoculation with HSV-1 had reduced eye disease, shedding, and latent infection. To our knowledge this is the first description of MAbs derived from human recipients of a vaccine that specifically target the HVEM binding site of gD. In summary, we found that monoclonal antibodies derived from humans vaccinated with the HVEM binding domain of HSV-1 gD (a) neutralized HSV-1 infection in a cell receptor-specific manner, (b) mediated ADCC, and (c) reduced ocular disease in virus-infected mice.IMPORTANCE Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) causes cold sores, neonatal herpes, and is a leading cause of blindness. Despite many trials, no HSV vaccine is approved. Nectin-1 and HVEM are the two major cellular receptors for HSV. These receptors are expressed at different levels in various tissues and the role of each receptor in HSV pathogenesis is not well understood. We derived human monoclonal antibodies from persons who received the HIV RV144 vaccine that contained the HVEM binding domain of HSV-1 gD fused to HIV gp120. These antibodies were able to specifically neutralize HSV-1 infection in vitro via HVEM. Furthermore, we showed for the first time that HVEM-specific HSV-1 neutralizing antibodies protect mice from HSV-1 eye disease, indicating the critical role of HVEM in HSV-1 ocular infection.