The group around CBNS CI Professor Stephen Kent published a paper on the capacity of new-generation broadly neutralizing antibodies (BnAbs) in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The paper is titled Fc-dependent functions are redundant to efficacy of anti-HIV antibody PGT121 in macaques and is co-authored by CBNS members Thakshila Amarasena, Dr Adam Wheatley and CBNS CI Professor Stephen Kent.
A considerable body of evidence suggests that Fc-dependent functions improve the capacity of broadly neutralizing antibodies (BnAbs) to protect against and control HIV-1 infection. This phenomenon, however, has not been formally tested in robust cell-associated macaque simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) models with newer-generation BnAbs. We studied both the WT BnAb PGT121 and a LALA mutant of PGT121 (which has impaired Fc-dependent functions) for their ability to protect pigtail macaques from an i.v. high-dose cell-associated SHIVSF162P3 challenge. We found that both WT and LALA PGT121 completely protected all 12 macaques studied. Further, partial depletion of NK cells, key mediators of Fc-dependent functions, did not abrogate the protective efficacy of PGT121 in 6 macaques. Additionally, in animals with established SHIVSF162P3 infection, SHIV viremia levels were equally rapidly reduced by LALA and WT PGT121. Our studies suggest that the potent neutralizing capacity of PGT121 renders the Fc-dependent functions of the Ab at least partially redundant. These findings have implications for Ab-mediated protection from and control of HIV-1 infection.