Mosaic HIV-1 Gag antigens can be processed and presented to human HIV-specific CD8+ T cells

Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 06/2011; 186(12):6914-24. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1004231
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Polyvalent mosaic HIV immunogens offer a potential solution for generating vaccines that can elicit immune responses against genetically diverse viruses. However, it is unclear whether key T cell epitopes can be processed and presented from these synthetic Ags and recognized by epitope-specific human T cells. In this study, we tested the ability of mosaic HIV immunogens expressed by recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 26 vectors to process and present major HIV clade B and clade C CD8 T cell epitopes in human cells. A bivalent mosaic vaccine expressing HIV Gag sequences was used to transduce PBMCs from 12 HIV-1-infected individuals from the United States and 10 HIV-1-infected individuals from South Africa; intracellular cytokine staining, together with tetramer staining, was used to assess the ability of mosaic Gag Ags to stimulate pre-existing memory responses compared with natural clade B and C vectors. Mosaic Gag Ags expressed all eight clade B epitopes tested in 12 United States subjects and all 5 clade C epitopes tested in 10 South African subjects. Overall, the magnitude of cytokine production induced by stimulation with mosaic Ags was comparable to clade B and clade C Ags tested, but the mosaic Ags elicited greater cross-clade recognition. Additionally, mosaic Ags induced HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses. Our studies demonstrate that mosaic Ags express major clade B and clade C viral T cell epitopes in human cells, as well as support the evaluation of mosaic HIV-1 vaccines in humans.

18 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses play a central role in viral suppression in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. Prophylactic vaccination resulting in effective CTL responses after viral exposure would contribute to HIV control. It is important to know how CTL memory induction by vaccination affects postexposure CTL responses. We previously showed vaccine-based control of a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) challenge in a group of Burmese rhesus macaques sharing a major histocompatibility complex class I haplotype. Gag(206-216) and Gag(241-249) epitope-specific CTL responses were responsible for this control. In the present study, we show the impact of individual epitope-specific CTL induction by prophylactic vaccination on postexposure CTL responses. In the acute phase after SIV challenge, dominant Gag(206-216)-specific CTL responses with delayed, naive-derived Gag(241-249)-specific CTL induction were observed in Gag(206-216) epitope-vaccinated animals with prophylactic induction of single Gag(206-216) epitope-specific CTL memory, and vice versa in Gag(241-249) epitope-vaccinated animals with single Gag(241-249) epitope-specific CTL induction. Animals with Gag(206-216)-specific CTL induction by vaccination selected for a Gag(206-216)-specific CTL escape mutation by week 5 and showed significantly less decline of plasma viral loads from week 3 to week 5 than in Gag(241-249) epitope-vaccinated animals without escape mutations. Our results present evidence indicating significant influence of prophylactic vaccination on postexposure CTL immunodominance and cooperation of vaccine antigen-specific and non-vaccine antigen-specific CTL responses, which affects virus control. These findings provide great insights into antigen design for CTL-inducing AIDS vaccines.
    Journal of Virology 11/2011; 86(2):738-45. DOI:10.1128/JVI.06226-11 · 4.44 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Efficient monitoring of HIV-1-specific T-cells is crucial for the development of HIV-1 vaccines and immunotherapies. Currently, mainly peptides and vaccinia vectors are used for detection of HIV-1-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL), however, as HIV-1 is a variable virus, it is unknown to what extent the T-cell response against the autologous virus is under- or overestimated by using antigens from heterologous viral strains. Therefore, we established a new method for immunomonitoring of CTL using electroporation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with mRNA derived from autologous viral strains. From six HIV-1-infected patients virus derived mRNA was produced after PCR-based cloning of autologous gag (n=5) and/or nef genes (n=3) from plasma and electroporated into PBMC from patients and healthy donors. Electroporation of PBMC with mRNA resulted in efficient protein expression with good induction of γ-interferon (γ-IFN) release by specific T-cells comparable to peptide pools and better than recombinant vaccinia viruses. Three mRNA encoded autologous Gag proteins and one autologous mRNA encoded Nef protein were better recognized by autologous PBMC in comparison to heterologous mRNA encoded Gag or Nef proteins (SF2 or HXB2). However, in one case each, mRNA encoded autologous Gag or Nef, respectively, was recognized less efficiently due to the presence of CTL escape mutations. In summary, electroporation of PBMC with mRNA is a very efficient, easy and rapid method for immunomonitoring of HIV-1-specific T-cell responses against autologous viral strains. Our data demonstrate that patients' CTL responses against autologous viral strains may be under- or overestimated by using antigens from heterologous viral strains.
    Journal of immunological methods 04/2012; 380(1-2):40-55. DOI:10.1016/j.jim.2012.03.005 · 1.82 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Analyses of the breadth and specificity of virus-specific CD8(+) T cell responses associated with control of HIV have largely relied on measurement of cytokine secretion by effector T cells. These have resulted in the identification of HIV elite controllers with low or absent responses in which non-T-cell mechanisms of control have been suggested. However, successful control of HIV infection may be associated with central memory T cells, which have not been consistently examined in these individuals. Gag-specific T cells were characterized using a peptide-based cultured enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISpot). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV elite controllers (n = 10), progressors (n = 12), and antiretroviral-treated individuals (n = 9) were cultured with overlapping peptides for 12 days. Specificity was assessed by tetramer staining, functional features of expanded cells were assessed by cytokine secretion, and virus inhibition and phenotypic characteristics were assessed by cell sorting and coculture assays. After peptide stimulation, elite controllers showed a greater number of previously undetectable (new) responses compared to progressors (P = 0.0008). These responses were highly polyfunctional, with 64.5% of responses having 3 to 5 functions. Expandable epitope-specific CD8(+) T cells from elite controllers had strong virus inhibitory capacity and predominantly displayed a central memory phenotype. These data indicate that elite controllers with minimal T cell responses harbor a highly functional, broadly directed central memory T cell population that is capable of suppressing HIV in vitro. Comprehensive examination of this cell population could provide insight into the immune responses associated with successful containment of viremia.
    Journal of Virology 04/2012; 86(12):6959-69. DOI:10.1128/JVI.00531-12 · 4.44 Impact Factor
Show more


18 Reads
Available from