Immune Systems Rather than Antigenic Epitopes Elicit and Produce Protective Antibodies Against HIV
It is common parlance to refer to viral antigens and their epitopes as immunogens capable of producing antibodies (Abs) against the virus that harbours them. Words have an insiduous capacity to fashion our thinking and terms like immunogen and immunogenicity do suggest that epitopes are able to generate immune responses, although they only trigger in the host a series of reactions with B-cell receptors that eventually leads to the immune system (IS) producing a variety of antibodies. Although everyone in the field is well aware that antigens are different from immunogens, it seems that in many cases investigators do not use appropriate experimental tools for studying and controlling the immunogenicity of proteins rather than their antigenicity.
- Van Regenmortel MHV. An outdated notion of antibody specificity is one of the major detrimental assumptions of the structure-based reverse vaccinology paradigm, which prevented it from developing an effective HIV-1 vaccine. Front Immunol. 2014b;5:593. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.1014.00593.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Xiao X, Chen W, Feng Y, Zhu Z, Prabakaran P, Wang Y, Zhang MY, Longo NS, Dimitrov DS. Germline-like predecessors of broadly neutralizing antibodies lack measurable binding to HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins: implications for evasion of immune responses and design of vaccine immunogens. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009;390:404–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar