Monster Seminar Jam - Forces shaping the HIV proteome and a new approach to vaccine immunogen design
Dr. James L. Mullins, Virologist, Mullins Molecular Retrovirology Lan, University of Wasington
HIV vaccine immunogen design strategies have evolved over the years, culminating with recent attempts to block viral escape pathways by compressing HIV-1 information content and thereby incorporating as much antigenic diversity as feasibly possible into an immunogen. In light of HIVs propensity to mutate and thereby to ever-expand the diversity of the viral population, could it be that providing protection against a sufficient degree of global viral diversity corresponds to an insurmountable problem? Rather than maximizing antigenic diversity, we propose a vaccine composed exclusively of protein segments of the virus strictly conserved across the entire Main group of HIV-1 strains (HIV-1 M group), responsible for >95% of all HIV infections. This paradigm contends that the best way to cope with HIV-1 diversity in a vaccine may be to avoid it altogether. We argue that a successful vaccine must elicit responses against conserved regions of the viral proteome in which mutations would severely compromise or destroy the viability of the virus. At the same time, it must not elicit responses against variable, decoy elements of the virus, i.e., features that can mutate while retaining function, and which can also be immunodominant and absorb much of the adaptive host immune response.
Date and Time:
October 11, 2007,
10:30 am - 12:30 pm