The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) poses a serious risk to global public health. The development of a safe and effective vaccine could stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Much of the research focusedon HIV-1 prevention through vaccination is aimed at developing immunogens and immunization strategiesto induce the formation of antibodies with neutralizing activity against a broad range of HIV-1 isolates (bNAbs). The objective of this study was to develop immunogens capable of targeting an immune response to MPER, one of the regions of bNAb binding in Env. Two immunogens carrying MPER fragments on their scaffolds (protein YkuJ Bacillus subtilis and artificial polypeptide TBI) were constructed. Circular dichroism spectroscopy was used to show that the secondary structure of the immunogens was consistent with their theoretical models. The antigenic structure of the MPER-TBI and YkuJ-MPER proteins was characterized using bNAbs that recognize HIV-1 MPER (2F5, 4E10, and 10E8). The rabbit model made it possible to show the immunogenicity of the constructed recombinant proteins. The resulting serum was found to be cross-reactive with immunogens carrying MPER. The constructs designed and characterizedin this study can be used for targeting the humoral immune response to MPER, which is known to be oneof the sites of HIV-1 vulnerability.
- Neutralizing antibody epitopes
- Recombinant immunogens