Cellular and humoral immune responses to alphavirus replicon vaccines expressing cytomegalovirus pp65, IE1, and gB proteins.
Development of vaccines against cytomegalovirus (CMV) is an important public health priority. We used a propagation-defective, single-cycle RNA replicon vector system derived from an attenuated strain of an alphavirus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, to produce virus-like replicon particles (VRP) expressing various combinations of pp65, IE1, or gB proteins of human CMV. Protein expression in VRP-infected cells was highest with single-promoter replicons expressing pp65, IE1, a pp65/IE1 fusion protein, or the extracellular domain of gB and with double-promoter replicons expressing pp65 and IE1. Protein expression was lower with double- and triple-promoter replicons expressing gB, especially the full-length form of gB. BALB/c mice immunized with VRP expressing gB developed high titers of neutralizing antibody to CMV, and mice immunized with VRP expressing pp65, IE1, or a pp65/IE1 fusion protein developed robust antigen-specific T-cell responses as measured by gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunospot assay. Three overlapping immunodominant pp65 peptides contained a nine-amino-acid sequence (LGPISGHVL) that matches the consensus binding motif for a major histocompatibility complex H2-D(d) T-cell epitope. These data provide the basis for further development and clinical evaluation of an alphavirus replicon vaccine for CMV expressing the pp65, IE1, and gB proteins.
Reap, EA; Dryga, SA; Morris, J; Rivers, B; Norberg, PK; Olmsted, RA; Chulay, JD
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