[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
We developed an AIDS vaccine for Western and West-Central Africa founded on HIV-1 subtype CRF02_AG. Rhesus macaques were primed with Gag-Pol-Env-expressing plasmid DNA and boosted with a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (rMVA), expressing matched proteins. Two DNA vaccine constructs (IC1-90 and IC48) that differed by point mutations in gag and pol were compared. IC1-90 produces primarily immature (core comprises unprocessed Pr55Gag) HIV-like particles (VLPs) and IC48 produces mature VLP with processed Pr55Gag, immature VLP, and intracellular protein aggregates. Both vaccines raised significant cellular responses for Gag, Pol, and Env. Approximate twofold higher ELISPOT responses to Gag and Env epitopes were observed for IC48 animals than for IC1-90 animals at the peak post-MVA effector (P = 0.028) and late memory (P = 0.051) phases, respectively. Greater breadth for IC48-primed animals was observed than for IC1-90-primed animals at peak response (P = 0.03). Our results indicated that the vaccines elicited high frequency T cell responses and primed anti-Env antibody. They also suggest that expression of different forms of VLP has a significant effect on elicited cellular and humoral immunity.