Skip to main content

Volume 6 Supplement 3

AIDS Vaccine 2009

P05-11. Yeast mannan genetics controls the molecular specificity of anti-carbohydrate antibodies cross-reactive to the HIV envelope


Immunologically self carbohydrates protect the human immunodeficiency virus type -1 (HIV-1) surface glycoprotein, gp120 from antibody recognition. However, one broadly neutralising antibody, 2G12, can protect against primary viral challenge by direct recognition of these "self" glycans on gp120. Immunogens capable of eliciting antibodies of similar specificity are candidates for HIV/AIDS vaccine design. The polysaccharides of common yeasts exhibit significant structural and antigenic mimicry with the immunologically "self" glycans of gp120; 2G12 also recognises yeast mannans.


Wild-type and genetically modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae was used to intravenously inoculate rabbits. Sera from these animals was subjected to gp120-binding ELISAs, carbohydrate microarray analysis, and ex vivo neutralisation assay.


Here we report that manipulation of yeast mannan biosynthesis controls the molecular specificity of cross-reactive antibodies to gp120. Carbohydrate microarray analysis of gp120-reactive sera produced following immunization by Saccharomyces cerevisiae (SCWT) revealed serum with high reactivity to "self" Man8GlcNAc2 glycans. In contrast, immunisation with S. cerevisiae deficient for the Mnn1 a1,3 mannosyl transferase gene (SCMnn1), elicited gp120-reactive antibodies directed to Man9GlcNAc2 glycans. Terminal Mana1-3 linkages that cap the common repeating (Mana1-2Man) core motif are absent in the SCMnn1 strain.


These data reveal that anti-carbohydrate antibodies that bind gp120 can be reliably elicited by microbial mimicry. The specificities of these antibodies can be controlled by genetic manipulation of mannan biosynthesis, suggesting a route towards HIV vaccine design.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Dunlop, D., Mansab, F., Doores, K. et al. P05-11. Yeast mannan genetics controls the molecular specificity of anti-carbohydrate antibodies cross-reactive to the HIV envelope. Retrovirology 6 (Suppl 3), P87 (2009).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: