Claudia J Dembek

Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung DZIF, Brunswyck, Lower Saxony, Germany

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Publications (14)40.13 Total impact

  • Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie 01/2015; 53(01). DOI:10.1055/s-0034-1397217 · 1.67 Impact Factor
  • Claudia Dembek, Ulrike Protzer
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    ABSTRACT: A mouse model for persistent HBV infection is essential for the development of a therapeutic vaccine against HBV. Because HBV cannot infect mouse hepatocytes, even if the HBV receptor is introduced, surrogate models are used. A suitable model needs to establish persistent HBV replication and must allow the establishment of HBV-specific adaptive cellular and humoral immune responses. Therefore, an immunocompetent mouse model is needed in which one can break HBV-specific tolerance and ideally eliminate the HBV transcription template. The most widely used model for chronic HBV infection is the HBV transgenic mouse. Although HBV replicates from an integrated transgene, HBV-specific immune tolerance can be broken upon adequate immune stimulation because antigen expression only starts shortly before birth. Alternative mouse models of chronic HBV infection are generated by introducing HBV genomes either using viral vectors or using hydrodynamic injection. In these alternative models, the HBV transcription template is introduced into a proportion of hepatocytes and stays extra-chromosomal. It thus mimics the natural HBV transcription template, the HBV cccDNA in humans. Unlike an HBV transgene, however, it can be cleared upon appropriate treatment or immune stimulation. Human hepatocyte chimeric mice in which murine hepatocytes are widely replaced by human hepatocytes represent another important mouse model for persistent HBV infection. These mice are susceptible for HBV infection, but need to be severely immune deficient to accept human hepatocytes. In conclusion, a variety of mouse models for persistent HBV infection are available suitable for preclinical efficacy evaluations of therapeutic vaccination strategies against HBV.
    Medical Microbiology and Immunology 12/2014; 204(1). DOI:10.1007/s00430-014-0378-6 · 2.43 Impact Factor
  • Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie 01/2014; 52(01). DOI:10.1055/s-0033-1361031 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Polyfunctional CD4 or CD8 T cells are proposed to represent a correlate of immune control for persistent viruses as well as for vaccine mediated protection against infection. A well-suited methodology to study complex functional phenotypes of antiviral T cells is the combined staining of intracellular cytokines and phenotypic marker expression using polychromatic flow cytometry. In this study we analyzed the effect of an overnight resting period at 37°C on the quantity and functionality of HIV-1, EBV, CMV, HBV and HCV specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses in a cohort of 21 individuals. We quantified total antigen specific T cells by multimer staining and used 10-color intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) to determine IFNγ, TNFα, IL2 and MIP1β production. After an overnight resting significantly higher numbers of functionally active T cells were detectable by ICS for all tested antigen specificities, whereas the total number of antigen specific T cells determined by multimer staining remained unchanged. Overnight resting shifted the quality of T-cell responses towards polyfunctionality and increased antigen sensitivity of T cells. Our data suggest that the observed effect is mediated by T cells rather than by antigen presenting cells. We conclude that overnight resting of PBMC prior to ex vivo analysis of antiviral T-cell responses represents an efficient method to increase sensitivity of ICS-based methods and has a prominent impact on the functional phenotype of T cells.
    PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e76215. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0076215 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Cytometry Part A 02/2013; 83A(2). DOI:10.1002/cyto.a.22233 · 3.07 Impact Factor
  • Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie 01/2013; 51(01). DOI:10.1055/s-0032-1332172 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Therapeutic vaccines are currently being developed for chronic hepatitis B and C. As an alternative to long-term antiviral treatment or to support only partially effective therapy, they should activate the patient's immune system effectively to fight and finally control the virus. A paradigm of therapeutic vaccination is the potent induction of T-cell responses against key viral antigens - besides activation of a humoral immune response. We have evaluated the potential of a novel vaccine formulation comprising particulate hepatitis B surface (HBsAg) and core antigen (HBcAg), and the saponin-based ISCOMATRIX™ adjuvant for its ability to stimulate T and B cell responses in C57BL/6 mice and its ability to break tolerance in syngeneic HBV transgenic (HBVtg) mice. In C57BL/6 mice, the vaccine induced multifunctional HBsAg- and HBcAg-specific CD8+ T cells detected by staining for IFNγ, TNFα and IL-2, as well as high antibody titers against both antigens. Vaccination of HBVtg animals induced potent HBsAg- and HBcAg-specific CD8+ T-cell responses in spleens and HBcAg-specific CD8+ T-cell responses in livers as well as anti-HBs seroconversion two weeks post injection. Vaccination further reduced HBcAg expression in livers of HBVtg mice without causing liver damage. In summary, this study demonstrates therapeutic efficacy of a novel vaccine formulation in a mouse model of immunotolerant, chronic HBV infection.
    Vaccine 01/2013; 31(8). DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.12.074 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several correlates of HIV control have been described; however their predictive values remain unclear, since most studies have been performed in cross-sectional settings. We evaluated the cause and consequence relationship between quality of HIV-specific T-cell response and viral load dynamic in a temporal perspective. HIV-1-specific T-cell responses were monitored over 7 years in a patient that following treatment interruption maintained a stable/low viral set point for 3.1 years before control of viral replication was lost and antiretroviral therapy restarted. We observed that high frequencies of HIV-1-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells were unable to prevent loss of viral control. Gradual loss of functionality was observed in these responses, characterized by early loss of IL-2, viral load-dependent decrease of IFN-γ and CD154 expression as well as increase of MIP-1β production. Terminally differentiated HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells expressing CD45RA were lost independently of viral load and preceded the loss-of-control phase of HIV infection. By describing qualitative changes in HIV-1-specific T-cell responses that coincide with loss of viral control, we identified specific correlates of disease progression and putative markers of viral control. Our findings suggest including the markers IL-2, IFN-γ, MIP-1β, CD154 and CD45RA into monitoring of HIV-specific T-cell-responses to prospectively determine correlates of protection from disease-progression.
    Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology 07/2012; 55(2):114-20. DOI:10.1016/j.jcv.2012.06.017 · 3.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Therapeutic vaccines are currently developed for chronic viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpesvirus and hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) virus infections. As an alternative to antiviral treatment or to support only partially effective therapy a therapeutic vaccine shall activate the patient's immune system to fight and finally control or ideally even eliminate the virus. Whereas the success of prophylactic vaccination is based on rapid neutralization of the invading pathogen by antibodies, virus control and elimination of infected cells require T cells. Therefore, induction of a multi-specific and multifunctional T-cell response against key viral antigens is a paradigm of therapeutic vaccination - besides activation of a humoral immune response to limit virus spread. In this review, we describe options to develop a therapeutic vaccine for chronic viral infections using HBV as a promising example.
    Microbial Biotechnology 09/2011; 5(2):270-82. DOI:10.1111/j.1751-7915.2011.00303.x · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several vaccination trials are evaluating the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) as a delivery vector in various clinical settings. In this paper, we present the reevaluation of a therapeutic vaccination trial in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-infected individuals treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy using MVA-expressing HIV-1 nef. Immunogenicity of MVA-nef was assessed using multicolor flow cytometry. Vaccine-induced polyfunctionality and proliferative capacity, which are associated with nonprogressive HIV-1 infection, were detectable by combining two immune assays. By means of short-term polychromatic intracellular cytokine staining, we observed a significant increase in polyfunctional Nef-specific CD4 T cells expressing interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-2 and CD154 after vaccination, whereas changes in the quality of CD8 T-cell response could not be observed. Only the additional use of a long-term polychromatic Carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE)-based proliferation assay revealed vaccine-induced Nef-specific CD8, as well as CD4 T cells with proliferative capacity. The correlation between vaccine-induced IL-2 production by CD4 T cells and the increase in proliferating Nef-specific CD8 T cells suggests a causal link between these two functions. These results highlight the importance of combining sophisticated immunomonitoring tools to unravel concealed effects of immunological interventions and support the use of the poxvirus-derived MVA vector to stimulate highly functional HIV-1-specific T-cell responses. However, the clinical benefit of these functional T cells remains to be determined.
    Gene therapy 11/2010; 17(11):1372-83. DOI:10.1038/gt.2010.90 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Long-term survival of HIV-1 infected individuals is usually achieved by continuous administration of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). An exception to this scenario is represented by HIV-1 infected nonprogressors (NP) which maintain relatively high circulating CD4+ T cells without clinical symptoms for several years in the absence of ART. Several lines of evidence indicate an important role of the T-cell response in the modulation of HIV-1 infection during the acute and chronic phase of the disease. We analyzed the functional and the differentiation phenotype of Nef- and Tat-specific CD8+ T cells in a cohort of HIV-1 infected NP in comparison to progressors, ART-treated seropositive individuals and individuals undergoing a single cycle of ART interruption. We observed that a distinctive feature of NP is the presence of Nef-specific CD45RA+ CD8+ T cells secreting MIP-1beta but not IFN-gamma. This population was present in 7 out of 11 NP. CD45RA+ IFN-gammaneg MIP-1beta+ CD8+ T cells were not detected in HIV-1 infected individuals under ART or withdrawing from ART and experiencing a rebounding viral replication. In addition, we detected Nef-specific CD45RA+ IFN-gammaneg MIP-1beta+ CD8+ T cells in only 1 out of 10 HIV-1 infected individuals with untreated progressive disease. The novel antigen-specific CD45RA+ IFN-gammaneg MIP-1beta+ CD8+ T cell population represents a new candidate marker of long-term natural control of HIV-1 disease progression and a relevant functional T-cell subset in the evaluation of the immune responses induced by candidate HIV-1 vaccines.
    AIDS Research and Therapy 07/2010; 7:20. DOI:10.1186/1742-6405-7-20 · 1.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we report a novel strategy for the induction of CD8(+) T cell adaptive immune response against viral and tumor antigens. This approach relies on high levels of incorporation in HIV-1 VLPs of a mutant of HIV-1 Nef (Nef(mut)) which can act as anchoring element for foreign proteins. By in vitro assay, we found that VLP-associated Nef(mut) is efficiently cross-presented by antigen presenting cells. Inoculation in mice of VLPs incorporating the HPV-16 E7 protein fused to Nef(mut) led to an anti-E7 CD8(+) T cell response much stronger than that elicited by E7 recombinant protein inoculated with incomplete Freund's adjuvant and correlating with well-detectable anti-E7 CTL activity. Most relevantly, mice immunized with Nef(mut)-E7 VLPs developed a protective immune response against tumors induced by E7 expressing tumor cells. These results make Nef(mut) VLPs a promising candidate for new vaccine strategies focused on the induction of CD8(+) T cell immunity.
    Virology 10/2009; 395(1):45-55. DOI:10.1016/j.virol.2009.09.012 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    Retrovirology 01/2009; DOI:10.1186/1742-4690-6-S3-P313 · 4.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: T-cell mediated immunity likely plays an important role in controlling HIV-1 infection and progression to AIDS. Several candidate vaccines against HIV-1 aim at stimulating cellular immune responses, either alone or together with the induction of neutralizing antibodies, and assays able to measure CD8 and CD4 T-cell responses need to be implemented. At present, the IFN-gamma-based ELISPOT assay is considered the gold standard and it is broadly preferred as primary assay for detection of antigen-specific T-cell responses in vaccine trials. However, in spite of its high sensitivity, the measurement of the sole IFN-gamma production provides limited information on the quality of the immune response. On the other hand, the introduction of polychromatic flow-cytometry-based assays such as the intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) strongly improved the capacity to detect several markers on a single cell level. The cumulative analysis of 275 samples from 31 different HIV-1 infected individuals using an ICS staining procedure optimized by our laboratories revealed that, following antigenic stimulation, IFN-gamma producing T-cells were also producing MIP-1beta whereas T-cells characterized by the sole production of IFN-gamma were rare. Since the analysis of the combination of two functions decreases the background and the measurement of the IFN-gamma+ MIP-1beta+ T-cells was equivalent to the measurement of the total IFN-gamma+ T-cells, we adopted the IFN-gamma+ MIP-1beta+ data analysis system to evaluate IFN-gamma-based, antigen-specific T-cell responses. Comparison of our ICS assay with ELISPOT assays performed in two different experienced laboratories demonstrated that the IFN-gamma+ MIP-1beta+ data analysis system increased the sensitivity of the ICS up to levels comparable to the sensitivity of the ELISPOT assay. The IFN-gamma+ MIP-1beta+ data evaluation system provides a clear advantage for the detection of low magnitude HIV-1-specific responses. These results are important to guide the choice for suitable highly sensitive immune assays and to build reagent panels able to accurately characterize the phenotype and function of responding T-cells. More importantly, the ICS assay can be used as primary assay to evaluate HIV-1-specific responses without losing sensitivity in comparison to the ELISPOT assay.
    AIDS Research and Therapy 11/2008; 5:22. DOI:10.1186/1742-6405-5-22 · 1.84 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

66 Citations
40.13 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung DZIF
      Brunswyck, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 2009–2013
    • Helmholtz Zentrum München
      • Institute of Virology
      München, Bavaria, Germany
    • Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung
      Leipzig, Saxony, Germany