Towards a Prophylactic HIV Vaccine

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Talar Tokatlian, Dan Kulp, Andrew Mutafyan, Chris Jones, Michael Zhang, Erik Georgeson, Michael Kubitz, Dong Soo Yun, William Schief, and Darrell Irvine

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The HIV envelope protein complex is the only exposed target on the viral membrane for binding by neutralizing antibodies. It is generally thought that the presentation of envelope proteins in a highly ordered and multivalent form on nanoparticles may contribute to the development of strong and durable neutralizing antibody responses upon immunization. In this multi-lab, multi-disciplinary collaboration, we have engineered lipid-based nanoparticles that display clinically relevant envelope proteins (termed SOSIP). The oriented coupling of SOSIP proteins to the surface of these nanoparticles not only mimics the natural display of envelope proteins on the HIV virus, but also biases antibodies to target to certain desirable sites on the proteins. This is a highly translatable nanoparticle platform with the potential to serve as the basis for a prophylactic HIV vaccine.