[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The threat of a smallpox-based bioterrorist event or a human monkeypox outbreak has heightened the importance of new, safe vaccine approaches for these pathogens to complement older poxviral vaccine platforms. As poxviruses are large, complex viruses, they present technological challenges for simple recombinant vaccine development where a multicomponent mixtures of vaccine antigens are likely important in protection. We report that a synthetic, multivalent, highly concentrated, DNA vaccine delivered by a minimally invasive, novel skin electroporation microarray can drive polyvalent immunity in macaques, and offers protection from a highly pathogenic monkeypox challenge. Such a diverse, high-titer antibody response produced against 8 different DNA-encoded antigens delivered simultaneously in microvolumes has not been previously described. These studies represent a significant improvement in the efficiency of the DNA vaccine platform, resulting in immune responses that mimic live viral infections, and would likely have relevance for vaccine design against complex human and animal pathogens.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 01/2011; 203(1):95-102. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA vaccines have undergone important enhancements in their design, formulation, and delivery process. Past literature supports that DNA vaccines are not as immunogenic in nonhuman primates as live vector systems. The most potent recombinant vector system for induction of cellular immune responses in macaques and humans is adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5), an important benchmark for new vaccine development. Here, we performed a head-to-head evaluation of the Merck Ad5 SIV vaccine and an optimized electroporation (EP) delivered SIV DNA vaccine in macaques. Animals receiving the Ad5 vaccine were immunized three times, whereas the DNA-vaccinated animals were immunized up to four times based on optimized protocols. We observed significant differences in the quantity of IFNgamma responses by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISpot), greater proliferative capacity of CD8(+) T cells, and increased polyfunctionality of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in the DNA-vaccinated group. Importantly, Ad5 immunizations failed to boost following the first immunization, whereas DNA responses were continually boosted with all four immunizations demonstrating a major advantage of these improved DNA vaccines. These optimized DNA vaccines induce very different immune phenotypes than traditional Ad5 vaccines, suggesting that they could play an important role in vaccine research and development.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA vaccination is a novel immunization strategy that has great potential for the development of vaccines and immune therapeutics. This strategy has been highly effective in mice, but is less immunogenic in non-human primates and in humans. Enhancing DNA vaccine potency remains a challenge. It is likely that antigen-presenting cells (APCs), and especially dendritic cells (DCs), play a significant role in the presentation of the vaccine antigen to the immune system. A new study reports the synergistic recruitment, expansion and activation of DCs in vivo by high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein. Such combinational strategies for delivering vaccine in a single, simple platform will hypothetically bolster the cellular immunity in vivo. Here, we combined plasmid encoding human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) Gag and Env with an HMGB1 plasmid as a DNA adjuvant in BALB/c mice (by intramuscular immunization via electroporation), and humoral and cellular responses were measured. Co-administration of this potent immunostimulatory adjuvant strongly enhanced the cellular interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and humoral immune response compared with that obtained in mice immunized with vaccine only. Our results show that co-immunization with HMGB1 can have a strong adjuvant activity, driving strong cellular and humoral immunity that may be an effective immunological adjuvant in DNA vaccination against HIV-1.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic viral infection is characterized by the functional impairment of virus-specific T-cell responses. Recent evidence has suggested that the inhibitory receptor programmed death 1 (PD-1) is specifically upregulated on antigen-specific T cells during various chronic viral infections. Indeed, it has been reported that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific T cells express elevated levels of PD-1 and that this expression correlates with the viral load and inversely with CD4(+) T-cell counts. More importantly, antibody blockade of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway was sufficient to both increase and stimulate virus-specific T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. However, the mechanisms that mediate HIV-induced PD-1 upregulation are not known. Here, we provide evidence that the HIV type 1 (HIV-1) accessory protein Nef can transcriptionally induce the expression of PD-1 during infection in vitro. Nef-induced PD-1 upregulation requires its proline-rich motif and the activation of the downstream kinase p38. Further, inhibition of Nef activity by p38 MAPK inhibitor effectively blocked PD-1 upregulation, suggesting that p38 MAPK activation is an important initiating event in Nef-mediated PD-1 expression in HIV-1-infected cells. These data demonstrate an important signaling event of Nef in HIV-1 pathogenesis.
Journal of Virology 10/2008; 82(23):11536-44. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA vaccines are a promising technology. Historically, however, the ability of DNA vaccines to induce high response rates and strong immune responses, especially antibody responses, in non-human primates and human clinical trials has proven suboptimal. Here, we performed a pilot study in rhesus macaques to evaluate whether we could improve the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines through the use of adjuvant technology and improved delivery systems. The study consisted of four groups of animals that received: DNA by intramuscular (IM) injection, DNA with plasmid-encoded IL-12 by IM injection, DNA by IM injection with in vivo electroporation (EP), and DNA with IL-12 by IM EP. Each group was immunized three times with optimized HIV gag and env constructs. Vaccine immunogenicity was assessed by IFNgamma ELISpot, CFSE proliferation, polyfunctional flow cytometry, and antibody ELISA. Similar to previous studies, use of IL-12 as an adjuvant increased the gag and env-specific cellular responses. The use of EP to enhance plasmid delivery resulted in dramatically higher cellular as well as humoral responses. Interestingly, the use of EP to administer the DNA and IL-12 adjuvant combination resulted in the induction of higher, more efficient responses such that a 10-fold increase in antigen-specific IFNgamma(+) cells compared to IM DNA immunization was observed after a single immunization. In addition to increases in the magnitude of IFNgamma production in the initial and memory responses, the combined approach resulted in enhancements in the proliferative capacity of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells and the amount of polyfunctional cells capable of producing IL-2 and TNFalpha in addition to IFNgamma. These data suggest that adjuvant and improved delivery methods may be able to overcome previous immunogenicity limitations in DNA vaccine technology.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enhancing the expression of DNA vaccines requires that specific conditions of delivery are optimized. We describe experiments using adaptive constant-current electroporation (EP) in mice and pigs examining parameters such as target muscle, delay between plasmid delivery and onset of EP pulses and DNA vaccine formulation; our studies show that concentrated formulations result in better expression and immunogenicity. Furthermore, various conditions of EP that limit the amount of muscle damage were measured. The results of these studies will help to advance the success of DNA vaccines in animals into success in human clinical trials.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging arbovirus and is an important human pathogen. Infection of humans by CHIKV can cause a syndrome characterized by fever, headache, rash, nausea, vomiting, myalgia, arthralgia and occasionally neurological manifestations such as acute limb weakness. It is also associated with a fatal haemorrhagic condition. CHIKV is geographically distributed from Africa through Southeast Asia and South America, and its transmission to humans is mainly through the Aedes aegypti species mosquitoes. The frequency of recent epidemics in the Indian Ocean and La Reunion islands suggests that a new vector perhaps is carrying the virus, as A. aegypti are not found there. In fact, a relative the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, may be the culprit which has raised concerns in the world health community regarding the potential for a CHIK virus pandemic. Accordingly steps should be taken to develop methods for the control of CHIKV. Unfortunately, currently there is no specific treatment for Chikungunya virus and there is no vaccine currently available. Here we present data of a novel consensus-based approach to vaccine design for CHIKV, employing a DNA vaccine strategy. The vaccine cassette was designed based on CHIKV capsid- and envelope-specific consensus sequences with several modifications, including codon optimization, RNA optimization, the addition of a Kozak sequence, and a substituted immunoglobulin E leader sequence. The expression of capsid, envelope E1 and E1 was evaluated using T7-coupled transcription/translation and immunoblot analysis. A recently developed, adaptive constant-current electroporation technique was used to immunize C57BL/6 mice with an intramuscular injection of plasmid coding for the CHIK-Capsid, E1 and E2. Analysis of cellular immune responses, including epitope mapping, demonstrates that electroporation of these constructs induces both potent and broad cellular immunity. In addition, antibody ELISAs demonstrate that these synthetic immunogens are capable of inducing high titer antibodies capable of recognizing native antigen. Taken together, these data support further study of the use of consensus CHIK antigens in a potential vaccine cocktail.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an effort to improve DNA vaccine immune potency electroporation has emerged as a method of delivery of plasmids to target tissues. However, few studies have examined the use of this technology to deliver plasmid vaccines to the skin. Here we studied the effect of electroporation on DNA vaccine potency and gene delivery using skin as a target tissue in larger animal species. Using a pig model, we determined that high plasmid concentrations resulted in improved gene expression for plasmid GFP delivered by the intradermal/subcutaneous (ID/SQ) route. In a macaque model, we observed higher cellular and humoral responses to an HIV DNA vaccine, which included plasmid-encoded IL-12, with electroporation compared to ID/SQ injection alone. The induced responses were TH1 mediated. These results support that skin electroporation may have importance as an immunization approach in larger animal models.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cell-mediated immune profile induced by a recombinant DNA vaccine was assessed in the simian/HIV (SHIV) and macaque model. The vaccine strategy included coimmunization of a DNA-based vaccine alone or in combination with an optimized plasmid encoding macaque IL-15 (pmacIL-15). We observed strong induction of vaccine-specific IFN-gamma-producing CD8(+) and CD4(+) effector T cells in the vaccination groups. Animals were subsequently challenged with 89.6p. The vaccine groups were protected from ongoing infection, and the IL-15 covaccinated group showed a more rapidly controlled infection than the group treated with DNA vaccine alone. Lymphocytes isolated from the group covaccinated with pmacIL-15 had higher cellular proliferative responses than lymphocytes isolated from the macaques that received SHIV DNA alone. Vaccine antigen activation of lymphocytes was also studied for a series of immunological molecules. Although mRNA for IFN-gamma was up-regulated after antigen stimulation, the inflammatory molecules IL-8 and MMP-9 were down-regulated. These observed immune profiles are potentially reflective of the ability of the different groups to control SHIV replication. This study demonstrates that an optimized IL-15 immune adjuvant delivered with a DNA vaccine can impact the cellular immune profile in nonhuman primates and lead to enhanced suppression of viral replication.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2007; 104(47):18648-53. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present era of increasing resistance of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to antiviral drugs, exploration of adjunct therapies directed at immune responses in combination with antiretroviral drugs may be of value for the treatment of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. In this study, we designed a model for immune therapy using SIVmac251 infection in rhesus macaques. We explored the outcomes of primary infection on viral loads and the resulting T-cell immune responses in primates. The SIV-infected rhesus macaque model exhibited features similar to those observed in HIV-1 infection of humans. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) segregation with viral loads were found to associate with viral containment and hence the duration of the disease-free latency period. Thus a better understanding of the relative roles of MHC class I allele in control of viral replication may provide important information for prophylactic or therapeutic vaccine designs. Mamu-A01 is significantly associated with higher immune response and control of viral replication. This allele is frequent in rhesus macaques of Indian origin (22%). Interestingly, Mamu-B01 (26% animals) was associated with lower immune responses and higher viral loads. Another allele, A08 was also predominantly present in 37% of the animals in this study. We observed higher viral replication in individual SIV-infected rhesus monkeys that did not demonstrate strong cellular immune responses. The results are important for understanding SIV disease progression in different MHC Mamu alleles and also for improving the interpretation and quality of pre-clinical studies in rhesus monkeys.
Journal of Medical Primatology 09/2006; 35(4-5):202-9. · 1.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-1 specific cellular immune responses play a significant part in controlling HIV-1 viral replication and are an important component of an HIV-1 vaccine induced immune response. We reported earlier that recombinant DNA vaccine delivered intramuscularly, and recombinant Listeria monocytogenes, delivered orally induced CD8+ and CD4+ T cell immune responses in rhesus macaques and that this vaccine protocol showed partial protection against an SIV239 challenge. In this paper, we have analyzed the SIV antigen-specific immune responses at the time of challenge and during the subsequent infection course. We find that the immune status of the animals, as measured by the frequency of antigen-specific IFN-gamma secreting peripheral blood mononuclear cells, at the time of challenge correlates more strongly with viral loads at set point than peak viral loads. The correlation between the immune response and viral load was strongest early, as viral set-point was just being established and disintegrates overtime. This study demonstrates the cellular immune response to SIV at the time of challenge of a nonhuman primate is able to impact on viral set-point following SIV239 challenge. Further, this study demonstrates that as virus replicates the T cell immune response to SIV antigens induced by the vaccine is modulated by antigen encountered by immune cells during viral replication.