Use of network theory to define optimal HIV immune targets: Implications for immunologic control and immunogen design

Viral diversity remains a major challenge to HIV vaccine development. By applying concepts rooted in network theory to viral protein structure, we have developed an algorithm that identifies amino acid residues critical to the structure and function of HIV proteins. Functional data from persons who control HIV without medications demonstrate preferential CD8+ T cell recognition of highly networked residues predicted by the algorithm. Application of this knowledge to inform a rational T cell-based vaccine for HIV will be discussed.