A vaccine against CCR5 protects a subset of macaques upon intravaginal challenge with simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac251.
As an alternative to targeting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), we have developed vaccines targeting CCR5, a self-protein critically involved in HIV replication and pathogenesis. By displaying peptides derived from CCR5 at high density on the surface of virus-like particles, we can efficiently induce high-titer IgG antibodies against this self-molecule. Here, we investigated whether prophylactic immunization of rhesus macaques with a particle-based vaccine targeting two regions of macaque CCR5 could prevent or suppress vaginal infection with highly virulent SIVmac251. Twelve macaques were vaccinated with a bacteriophage Qß-based vaccine targeting macaque CCR5 (Qß.CCR5). Six control animals were immunized with the Qß platform alone. All animals immunized with Qß.CCR5 developed high-titer anti-CCR5 antibody responses. Macaques were vaginally challenged with a high dose of SIVmac251. The mean peak viral RNA levels in the vaccinated groups were 30-fold lower than in the control group (10(6.8) versus 10(8.3) copies/ml plasma). Three of the 12 vaccinated macaques dramatically suppressed simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) replication: peak viral loads were low (10(3) to 10(4) RNA copies/ml), and SIV RNA became undetectable from 6 weeks onward. No viral RNA or DNA could be detected in colon and lymph node biopsy specimens collected 13 months after challenge. In vivo depletion of CD8(+) cells failed to induce a viral rebound. However, once anti-CCR5 antibody responses had waned, the 3 animals became infected after intravaginal and/or intravenous rechallenge. In conclusion, vaccination against CCR5 was associated with dramatic suppression of virus replication in a subset (25%) of macaques. These data support further research of vaccination against CCR5 to combat HIV infection.
Van Rompay, KKA; Hunter, Z; Jayashankar, K; Peabody, J; Montefiori, D; LaBranche, CC; Keele, BF; Jensen, K; Abel, K; Chackerian, B
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