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      Current progress in the development of a prophylactic vaccine for HIV-1

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          Abstract

          Since its discovery and characterization in the early 1980s as a virus that attacks the immune system, there has been some success for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection. However, due to the overwhelming public health impact of this virus, a vaccine is needed urgently. Despite the tireless efforts of scientist and clinicians, there is still no safe and effective vaccine that provides sterilizing immunity. A vaccine that provides sterilizing immunity against HIV infection remains elusive in part due to the following reasons: 1) degree of diversity of the virus, 2) ability of the virus to evade the hosts’ immunity, and 3) lack of appropriate animal models in which to test vaccine candidates. There have been several attempts to stimulate the immune system to provide protection against HIV-infection. Here, we will discuss attempts that have been made to induce sterilizing immunity, including traditional vaccination attempts, induction of broadly neutralizing antibody production, DNA vaccines, and use of viral vectors. Some of these attempts show promise pending continued research efforts.

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          Most cited references 232

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          Molecular architecture of native HIV-1 gp120 trimers.

          The envelope glycoproteins (Env) of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and SIV, respectively) mediate virus binding to the cell surface receptor CD4 on target cells to initiate infection. Env is a heterodimer of a transmembrane glycoprotein (gp41) and a surface glycoprotein (gp120), and forms trimers on the surface of the viral membrane. Using cryo-electron tomography combined with three-dimensional image classification and averaging, we report the three-dimensional structures of trimeric Env displayed on native HIV-1 in the unliganded state, in complex with the broadly neutralizing antibody b12 and in a ternary complex with CD4 and the 17b antibody. By fitting the known crystal structures of the monomeric gp120 core in the b12- and CD4/17b-bound conformations into the density maps derived by electron tomography, we derive molecular models for the native HIV-1 gp120 trimer in unliganded and CD4-bound states. We demonstrate that CD4 binding results in a major reorganization of the Env trimer, causing an outward rotation and displacement of each gp120 monomer. This appears to be coupled with a rearrangement of the gp41 region along the central axis of the trimer, leading to closer contact between the viral and target cell membranes. Our findings elucidate the structure and conformational changes of trimeric HIV-1 gp120 relevant to antibody neutralization and attachment to target cells.
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            Structural definition of a conserved neutralization epitope on HIV-1 gp120

            The remarkable diversity, glycosylation and conformational flexibility of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope (Env), including substantial rearrangement of the gp120 glycoprotein upon binding the CD4 receptor, allow it to evade antibody-mediated neutralization. Despite this complexity, the HIV-1 Env must retain conserved determinants that mediate CD4 binding. To evaluate how these determinants might provide opportunities for antibody recognition, we created variants of gp120 stabilized in the CD4-bound state, assessed binding of CD4 and of receptor-binding-site antibodies, and determined the structure at 2.3 Å resolution of the broadly neutralizing antibody b12 in complex with gp120. b12 binds to a conformationally invariant surface that overlaps a distinct subset of the CD4-binding site. This surface is involved in the metastable attachment of CD4, before the gp120 rearrangement required for stable engagement. A site of vulnerability, related to a functional requirement for efficient association with CD4, can therefore be targeted by antibody to neutralize HIV-1. Supplementary information The online version of this article (doi:10.1038/nature05580) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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              Importance of the nef gene for maintenance of high virus loads and for development of AIDS.

              When rhesus monkeys were infected with a form of cloned SIVmac239 having a premature stop signal at the 93rd codon of nef, revertants with a coding codon at this position quickly and universally came to predominate in the infected animals. This suggests that there are strong selective forces for open functional forms of nef in vivo. Although deletion of nef sequences had no detectable effect on virus replication in cultured cells, deletion of nef sequences dramatically altered the properties of virus in infected rhesus monkeys. Our results indicate that nef is required for maintaining high virus loads during the course of persistent infection in vivo and for full pathologic potential. Thus, nef should become a target for antiviral drug development. Furthermore, the properties of virus with a deletion in nef suggest a means for making live-attenuated strains of virus for experimental vaccine testing.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2011
                22 December 2010
                : 5
                : 9-26
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Division of Human Gene Therapy, Departments of Medicine, Pathology, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Gene Therapy Center
                [2 ] Center for AIDS Research, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Qiana L Matthews, Division of Human Gene Therapy, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 901 19th Street South, BMR2-R534, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA, Tel +1 205 934 0573, Fax +1 205 975 7476, Email qlm@ 123456uab.edu
                Article
                dddt-5-009
                10.2147/DDDT.S6959
                3023272
                21267356
                © 2011 Gamble and Matthews, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

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