Infection by discordant strains of HIV-1 markedly enhances the neutralizing antibody response against heterologous virus

Rebecca L.R. Powell, Thompson Kinge, Phillipe N. Nyambi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

High-risk cohorts in East Africa and the United States show rates of dual HIV-1 infection - the concomitant or sequential infection by two HIV-1 strains - of 50% to 100% of those of primary infection, and our normal-risk HIV-positive cohort in Cameroon exhibits a rate of dual infection of 11% per year, signifying that these infections are not exceptional. Little is known regarding the effect of dual infections on host immunity, despite the fact that they provide unique opportunities to investigate how the immune response is affected when challenged with diverse HIV-1 antigens. Using heterologous primary isolates, we have shown here that dual HIV-1 infection by genetically distant strains correlates with significantly increased potency and breadth of the anti-HIV-1 neutralizing antibody response. When the neutralization capacities of sequential plasma obtained before and after the dual infection of 4 subjects were compared to those of matched plasma obtained from 23 singly infected control subjects, a significant increase in the neutralization capacity of the sequential sample was found for 16/28 dually infected plasma/virus pairs, while only 4/159 such combinations for the control subjects exhibited a significant increase (P < 0.0001). Similarly, there was a significant increase in the plasma dilution capable of neutralizing 50% of virus (IC50) for 18/24 dually infected plasma/virus pairs, while 0/36 controls exhibited such an increase (P < 0.0001). These results demonstrate that dual HIV-1 infection broadens and strengthens the anti-HIV-1 immune response, suggesting that vaccination schemes that include polyvalent, genetically divergent immunogens may generate highly protective immunity against any HIV-1 challenge strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9415-9426
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume84
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes

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