Influences on the design and purification of soluble, recombinant native-like HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein trimers
env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Soluble, recombinant multimeric proteins based on the HIV-1 env gene are current candidate immunogens for vaccine trials in humans. These proteins are generally designed to mimic the native trimeric envelope glycoprotein (Env) that is the target of virus-neutralizing antibodies on the surfaces of virions. The underlying hypothesis is that an Env-mimetic protein may be able to induce antibodies that can neutralize the virus broadly and potently enough for a vaccine to be protective. Multiple different designs for Env-mimetic trimers have been put forth. Here, we used the CZA97.012 and 92UG037.8 env genes to compare some of these designs and determine which ones best mimic virus-associated Env trimers. We conclude that the most widely used versions of CZA97.012 and 92UG037.8 oligomeric Env proteins do not resemble the trimeric Env glycoprotein on HIV-1 viruses, which has implications for the design and interpretation of ongoing or proposed clinical trials of these proteins.