Virus-Like Particles Displaying Trimeric Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) Envelope gp160 Enhance the Breadth of DNA/Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara SIV Vaccine-Induced Antibody Responses in Rhesus Macaques.
UNLABELLED: The encouraging results of the RV144 vaccine trial have spurred interest in poxvirus prime-protein boost human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine modalities as a strategy to induce protective immunity. Because vaccine-induced protective immunity is critically determined by HIV envelope (Env) conformation, significant efforts are directed toward generating soluble trimeric Env immunogens that assume native structures. Using the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-macaque model, we tested the immunogenicity and efficacy of sequential immunizations with DNA (D), modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) (M), and protein immunogens, all expressing virus-like particles (VLPs) displaying membrane-anchored trimeric Env. A single VLP protein boost displaying trimeric gp160 adjuvanted with nanoparticle-encapsulated Toll-like receptor 4/7/8 (TLR4/7/8) agonists, administered 44 weeks after the second MVA immunization, induced up to a 3-fold increase in Env-specific IgG binding titers in serum and mucosa. Importantly, the VLP protein boost increased binding antibody against scaffolded V1V2, antibody-dependent phagocytic activity against VLP-coated beads, and antibody breadth and neutralizing antibody titers against homologous and heterologous tier 1 SIVs. Following 5 weekly intrarectal SIVmac251 challenges, two of seven DNA/MVA and VLP (DM+VLP)-vaccinated animals were completely protected compared to productive infection in all seven DM-vaccinated animals. Vaccinated animals demonstrated stronger acute viral pulldown than controls, but a trend for higher acute viremia was observed in the DM+VLP group, likely due to a slower recall of Gag-specific CD8 T cells. Our findings support immunization with VLPs containing trimeric Env as a strategy to augment protective antibody but underscore the need for optimal engagement of CD8 T cells to achieve robust early viral control. IMPORTANCE: The development of an effective HIV vaccine remains a global necessity for preventing HIV infection and reducing the burden of AIDS. While this goal represents a formidable challenge, the modest efficacy of the RV144 trial indicates that multicomponent vaccination regimens that elicit both cellular and humoral immune responses can prevent HIV infection in humans. However, whether protein immunizations synergize with DNA prime-viral vector boosts to enhance cellular and humoral immune responses remains poorly understood. We addressed this question in a nonhuman primate model, and our findings show benefit for sequential protein immunization combined with a potent adjuvant in boosting antibody titers induced by a preceding DNA/MVA immunization. This promising strategy can be further developed to enhance neutralizing antibody responses and boost CD8 T cells to provide robust protection and viral control.
Iyer, SS; Gangadhara, S; Victor, B; Shen, X; Chen, X; Nabi, R; Kasturi, SP; Sabula, MJ; Labranche, CC; Reddy, PBJ; Tomaras, GD; Montefiori, DC; Moss, B; Spearman, P; Pulendran, B; Kozlowski, PA; Amara, RR
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