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Current HIV Research


ISSN (Print): 1570-162X
ISSN (Online): 1873-4251

Research Article

Evaluation of HIV-1 Regulatory and Structural Proteins as Antigen Candidate in Mice and Humans

Author(s): Narges Farahani Khojasteh, Mehrshad Fekri, Samaneh Hemmati Shabani, Alireza Milani, Kazem Baesi and Azam Bolhassani*

Volume 19, Issue 3, 2021

Published on: 25 November, 2020

Page: [225 - 237] Pages: 13

DOI: 10.2174/1570162X18999201125212131

Price: $65


Background: The diagnosis of HIV infection is important among different groups. Moreover, combination antiretroviral therapy is used to treat HIV-1, but it cannot eradicate the infection. Thus, the development of therapeutic vaccines, along with antiretroviral therapy, is recommended. This study evaluates the values of four HIV proteins as antigen candidates in therapeutic vaccine design as well as a possible diagnostic marker for HIV infection in humans.

Methods: In this study, the HIV-1 Tat and Rev regulatory proteins and structural Gp120 and p24 proteins were generated in E. coli expression system. Their immunogenicity was evaluated in BALB/ c mice using homologous and heterologous prime/boost strategies. Moreover, the detection of anti- HIV IgG antibodies against these recombinant proteins was assessed in untreated (Naïve/ HIV-infected), treated, and drug-resistant patients compared to the healthy (control) group as a possible diagnostic marker for HIV infection.

Results: In humans, our results showed that among HIV-1 proteins, anti-Gp120 antibody was not detected in treated individuals compared to the healthy (control) group. The levels of anti-Gp120 antibody were significantly different between the treated group and Naïve as well as drug-resistant subjects. Moreover, the level of anti-p24 antibody was significantly lower in the treated group than the Naive group. In mice, the results of immunization indicated that the Rev antigen could significantly induce IgG2a, IgG2b, and IFN-γ secretion aimed at Th1 response as well as Granzyme B generation as CTL activity in comparison with other antigens. Furthermore, the heterologous DNA prime/ protein boost regimen was more potent than the homologous regimen for stimulation of cellular immunity.

Conclusion: Briefly, the levels of both anti-Gp120 and anti-p24 antibodies can be considered for the diagnosis of the HIV-infected individuals in different groups compared to the healthy group. Moreover, among four recombinant proteins, Rev elicited Th1 cellular immunity and CTL activity in mice as an antigen candidate in therapeutic vaccine development.

Keywords: HIV-1, regulatory protein, structural protein, drug resistance, immune responses, diagnosis.

Graphical Abstract
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