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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Although IgA is the most abundantly produced immunoglobulin in humans, its role in preventing HIV-1 acquisition, which occurs mostly via mucosal routes, remains unclear. In our passive mucosal immunizations of rhesus macaques (RMs), the anti-HIV-1 neutralizing monoclonal antibody (nmAb) HGN194, given either as dimeric IgA1 (dIgA1) or dIgA2 intrarectally (i.r.), protected 83% or 17% of the RMs against i.r. simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) challenge, respectively. Data from the RV144 trial implied that vaccine-induced plasma IgA counteracted the protective effector mechanisms of IgG1 with the same epitope specificity. We thus hypothesized that mucosal dIgA2 might diminish the protection provided by IgG1 mAbs targeting the same epitope.To test our hypothesis, we administered HGN194 IgG1 intravenously (i.v.) either alone or combined with i.r. HGN194 dIgA2. We enrolled SHIV-exposed, persistently aviremic RMs protected by previously administered nmAbs; RM anti-human IgG responses were undetectable. However, low-level SIV Gag-specific proliferative T-cell responses were found. These animals resemble HIV-exposed, uninfected humans, in which local and systemic cellular immune responses have been observed.HGN194 IgG1 and dIgA2 used alone and the combination of the two neutralized the challenge virus equally well in vitro. All RMs given only i.v. HGN194 IgG1 became infected. In contrast, all RMs given HGN194 IgG1. +. dIgA2 were completely protected against high-dose i.r. SHIV-1157ipEL-p challenge. These data imply that combining suboptimal defenses at the mucosal and systemic levels can completely prevent virus acquisition. Consequently, active vaccination should focus on defense-in-depth, a strategy that seeks to build up defensive fall-back positions well behind the fortified frontline.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2086 - 2095