Tracking the B-cell repertoire associated with the broadly-neutralizing antibody response in HIV-1 infection

The progression from HIV infection to AIDS occurs because the body’s immune system fails to control replication of the virus. While broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNtAb) are unable to clear an established infection, they have shown promise in providing protection against the contraction of HIV. However bNtAb have proven to be extremely difficult to generate by immunization. Marinieve Montero is studying the antigenicity and immunogenicity of the HIV-1 transmenbrane glycoprotein gp41, to which several bNtAb are directed. Her work will involve an exhaustive biochemical characterization of the gp41 protein presentation in the context of membranes, and the analysis of the bNtAb response generated after immunization of animals. The results from her study will improve the understanding of the biology of bNtAb production, and may be a valuable aid in the design of successful vaccine candidates and immunization methods.