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The immunogenicity of HIV-1 envelope (Env) trimers is generally poor. We used the clinically relevant ConM SOSIP trimer to compare the ability of different adjuvants (squalene emulsion, ISCOMATRIX, GLA-LSQ, and MPLA liposomes) to support neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses in rabbits. The trimers were administered as free proteins or on nanoparticles. The rank order for the adjuvants was ISCOMATRIX > SE > GLA-LSQ ~ MPLA liposomes > no adjuvant. Stronger NAb responses were elicited when the ConM SOSIP trimers were presented on ferritin nanoparticles. We also found that the GLA-LSQ adjuvant induced an unexpectedly strong antibody response to the ferritin core of the nanoparticles. This "off-target" effect may have compromised its ability to induce the more desired antitrimer antibodies. In summary, both adjuvants and nanoparticle display can improve the magnitude of the antibody response to SOSIP trimers but the best combination of trimer presentation and adjuvant can only be identified experimentally.

Original publication




Journal article


NPJ vaccines

Publication Date





Department of Medical Microbiology, Amsterdam Institute for Infection and Immunity, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.