Maternal antibodies to gp120 V3 sequence do not correlate with protection against vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus.
Robertson CA., Mok JY., Froebel KS., Simmonds P., Burns SM., Marsden HS., Graham S.
A retrospective study of sera from mothers infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) was undertaken to investigate whether the titers or affinities of antibodies against the third hypervariable region (V3 loop) of gp120 correlated with transmission of the virus from mother to child. The cohort comprised 7 mothers who transmitted HIV-1 to their children and 20 who did not. Sera were screened for reactivity against two synthetic peptides, one encompassing the entire V3 loop of gp120 (amino acids 297-330) and the other containing an immunodominant epitope from gp41 (amino acids 596-614). Doubling dilutions of sera were tested to obtain antibody titers against both peptides: Anti-gp41 titers were used to normalize the anti-V3 titers. Maternal sera were also screened for the presence of high-affinity antibodies against the V3 peptide. No differences were observed in either titers or affinities of maternal antibodies to the V3 sequence from transmitters and nontransmitters.