Studying HIV-infected individuals who control HIV replication (elite controllers [ECs]) enables exploration of effective anti-HIV immunity. HIV Env-specific and non- Env-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) may contribute to protection from progressive HIV infection, but the evidence is limited. We recruited 22 ECs and matched them with 44 viremic subjects. HIV Env- and Vpu-specific ADCC responses in sera were studied using a novel enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based dimeric recombinant soluble FcγRIIIa (rsFcγRIIIa)-binding assay, surface plasmon resonance, antibody-dependent natural killer (NK) cell activation assays, and ADCC-mediated killing assays. ECs had higher levels of HIV Env-specific antibodies capable of binding FcγRIIIa, activating NK cells, and mediating granzyme B activity (all P < 0.01) than viremic subjects. ECs also had higher levels of antibodies against a C-terminal 13-mer Vpu peptide capable of mediating FcγRIIIa binding and NK cell activation than viremic subjects (both P < 0.05). Our data associate Env-specific and Vpu epitope-specific ADCC in effective immune responses against HIV among ECs. Our findings have implications for understanding the role of ADCC in HIV control.
- Elite controller