The HIV-1 envelope protein gp120 is both the target of neutralizing antibodies and a major focus of vaccine efforts; however how it is delivered to B cells to elicit an antibody response is unknown. Here, we show that following local gp120 injection lymph node (LN) SIGN-R1+ sinus macrophages located in interfollicular pockets and underlying SIGN-R1+ macrophages form a cellular network that rapidly captures gp120 from the afferent lymph. In contrast, two other antigens, phycoerythrin and hen egg lysozyme, were not captured by these cells. Intravital imaging of mouse LNs revealed persistent, but transient interactions between gp120 bearing interfollicular network cells and both trafficking and LN follicle resident gp120 specific B cells. The gp120 specific, but not the control B cells repetitively extracted gp120 from the network cells. Our findings reveal a specialized LN antigen delivery system poised to deliver gp120 and likely other pathogen derived glycoproteins to B cells.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (LIR-15) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
- Michel Nussenzweig, Rockefeller University, United States
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