Broadly neutralizing antibodies PG9 and PG16 effectively neutralize 70 to 80% of circulating HIV-1 isolates. In this study, the neutralization abilities of PG9 and PG16 were further enhanced by bioconjugation with aplaviroc, a small-molecule inhibitor of virus entry into host cells. A novel air-stable diazonium hexafluorophosphate reagent that allows for rapid, tyrosine-selective functionalization of proteins and antibodies under mild conditions was used to prepare a series of aplaviroc-conjugated antibodies, including b12, 2G12, PG9, PG16, and CD4-IgG. The conjugated antibodies blocked HIV-1 entry through two mechanisms: by binding to the virus itself and by blocking the CCR5 receptor on host cells. Chemical modification did not significantly alter the potency of the parent antibodies against nonresistant HIV-1 strains. Conjugation did not alter the pharmacokinetics of a model IgG in blood. The PG9-aplaviroc conjugate was tested against a panel of 117 HIV-1 strains and was found to neutralize 100% of the viruses. PG9-aplaviroc conjugate IC50s were lower than those of PG9 in neutralization studies of 36 of the 117 HIV-1 strains. These results support this new approach to bispecific antibodies and offer a potential new strategy for combining HIV-1 therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science