[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. We explored the concept of heterologous prime/boost-vaccination using two therapeutic vaccines, currently in clinical development, aiming at treating chronically infected hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients: prime with a DNA-based vaccine expressing HCV genotype-1a NS3/4A-proteins (ChronVac-C) and boost with a Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara-vaccine expressing genotype-1b NS3/4/5B-proteins (MVATG16643).Methods. Two ChronVac-C immunizations four-weeks apart were delivered intramuscularly in combination with in vivo electroporation, and subsequently 5 or 12 weeks later boosted by three weekly subcutaneous injections of MVATG16643. Two mouse strains were utilized and we evaluated quality, magnitude and functionality of the T-cells induced.Results. DNA-prime/MVA-boost regimen induced significantly higher levels of IFNγ- or IL-2-ELISpot responses compared to each vaccine alone, independent of the time of analysis and the time-interval between vaccinations. Both CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell responses were improved and the spectrum of epitopes recognized. A significant increase in polyfunctional IFNγ/TNFα/CD107+ CD8(+) T-cells was detected following ChronVacC/MVATG16643-vaccination (from 3% to 25%) and prime/boost was the only regimen that activated quadrifunctional T-cells (IFNγ/TNFα/CD107/IL-2+). In vivo functional protective capacity of DNA-prime/MVA-boost was demonstrated in a Listeria-NS3-1a challenge model.Conclusion. We provide a proof-of-concept that immunogenicity of two HCV therapeutic vaccines can be improved using their combination, which merits further clinical development.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 06/2013; · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Improving vaccine immunogenicity by developing new adjuvant formulations has long been a goal of vaccinologists. It has previously been shown that a natural mix of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) from chicken eggs promotes mature dendritic cell (DC) generation in vitro and primes antigen-specific immune responses in mice. In the present study, we dissected the adjuvant potentials of five individual LPC components found in the chicken egg mixture. In vitro analyses of the impact of the individual components on the maturation of human DCs were performed by means of phenotypic analysis, chemokine secretion analysis, and analysis of the ability of mature DC to stimulate T lymphocytes. Two components, C16:0-LPC and C18:0-LPC, were identified to be capable of the upregulation of expression of CD86, HLA-DR, and CD40 on in vitro-cultured monocyte-derived DCs from healthy donors. Both induced the release of chemokines to high concentrations (macrophage inflammatory protein 1, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1) or moderate concentrations (interleukin-8 [IL-8], gamma interferon-inducible protein 10). In addition, C16:0-LPC engaged naïve T cells to produce gamma interferon. This suggests that C16:0-LPC and C18:0-LPC have the capacity to promote, at least in vitro, a Th1-oriented response. The intravenous injection of C16:0-LPC or C18:0-LPC into mice resulted in the detectable secretion of IL-6 and IL-5 in sera. Both LPC components were tested for their capacities to act as adjuvants for two selected immunogens: the hepatitis B virus surface antigen and the hepatitis C virus NS3 helicase. The secretion of specific IgG1 was observed with either or both C16:0-LPC and C18:0-LPC, depending on the immunogen tested, and was observed at an efficiency comparable to that of alum. These data identify C16:0-LPC and C18:0-LPC as the active components of the LPC natural mixture. Although discrepancies between the results of the in vitro and in vivo analyses existed, studies with animals suggest that these components can trigger significant and specific humoral-mediated immunity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiepitope-based vaccines against hepatitis C virus (HCV) were designed in the form of three minigenes encompassing four domains of the NS3, NS4 and NS5B proteins that contain multiple class I/II restricted epitopes. The polyEp-WT minigene encodes all four domains in fusion, the polyEp-C minigene encodes the same fusion but optimised for mammalian translation and the polyEp-E3 minigene has an additional endoplasmic reticulum targeting sequence. Whereas the minigenes vectorised by DNA were poorly immunogenic, adenovirus vectorisation induced strong and broader IFNgamma-ELISpot and CTL responses in HLA-A2 transgenic mice. In addition, polyEp-WT and polyEp-E3 responses were found cross-reactive in a recombinant Listeria-NS3-based surrogate challenge. This study illustrates the potency of vectorised minigenes in the field of HCV vaccine development.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We designed and evaluated in HLA-class I transgenic mouse models a hepatitis C virus (HCV) T cell-based MVA vectored vaccine expressing three viral antigens known to be targets of potent CD8+- and CD4+-mediated responses. An accelerated (3 week-based) vaccination induced specific CD8+ T cells harboring two effector functions (cytolytic activity - both in vitro and in vivo- and production of IFNgamma) as well as specific CD4+ T cells recognizing all three vaccine antigens. Responses were long lasting (6 months), boostable by a fourth MVA vaccination and in vivo cross-reactive as demonstrated in a surrogate Listeria-based challenge assay. This candidate vaccine has now moved into clinical trials.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) Core has been implicated in immune-mediated mechanisms associated with the development of chronic hepatic diseases. Discovery of different alternative reading frame proteins (ARFPs) expressed from the HCV Core coding sequence challenges properties assigned to Core. This study was designed to evaluate the immunomodulatory functions of Core and ARFPs in monocytes, dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages (Mphi) and hepatocytes, cells that are all capable of supporting HCV replication. THP-1 cells, monocyte-derived Mphi and DCs, and Huh7 cells were infected by using adenoviruses (Ad) encoding Core, CE1E2 and a Core sequence modified so that the Core protein is wild type, but no ARFPs are expressed (CDeltaARFP). THP-1 cells and DCs infected with Ad encoding Core or CE1E2 produced significant levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, MCP-1 and MIP-1beta, whereas production of these chemokines with AdCDeltaARFP was reduced or abolished. Similar effects on IL-8 production were observed in Huh7 cells and on IL-6 and MIP-1beta in Mphi. Wild-type Core sequence, but not CDeltaARFP, could trans-activate the IL-8 promoter and this activation was not associated with activation of p38/p42-44MAPK. This study illustrates, for the first time, the critical importance of ARFP expression in immunomodulatory functions attributed to Core expression and suggests a potential involvement of ARFP in mechanisms associated with HCV pathogenesis.
Journal of General Virology 05/2007; 88(Pt 4):1149-62. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Broad immune responses, in particular specific for the NS3 protein and mediated by both CD8+ and CD4+T lymphocytes, are thought to play a critical role in the control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. In this study, we searched for novel HLA-B*0702 NS3 restricted epitopes following an optimized NS3NS4 immunization protocol in transgenic mice expressing HLA-B*0702 molecule. Combining predicted and overlapping peptides, we identified two novel epitopes, WPA10 (aa 1111-1120) and LSP10 (aa 1153-1162), which triggered significant IFN-gamma-producing T cell frequencies and high CTL responses. Both epitopes were shown to be immunogenic when used as synthetic peptides to immunize mice. The relevance of these epitopes to humans was demonstrated, as both were able in vitro to recall specific IFN-gamma and IL10-producing cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of HCV infected patients. Such epitopes enlarge the pool of NS3-specific CD8+T cell epitopes available to perform immunomonitoring of HCV infection and to develop vaccines.
Microbes and Infection 09/2006; 8(9-10):2432-41. · 2.92 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To develop a vaccine against hepatitis C virus, we synthesized four long peptides from nonstructural proteins NS3, NS4 and NS5B containing HLA-class I and class II epitopes mainly inducing responses in natural infection. In HLA-A2.1 transgenic mice, the four peptides primed higher CTL responses to 6:7 minimal HLA-A2 epitopes than those induced by the minimal epitopes. HLA-A2.1/HLA-DR1 transgenic mice immunized with one peptide, containing a class II epitope implicated in viral resolution, developed IFNgamma-producing CD4+-T and CD8+-T cells. These peptides recalled HCV-specific IFNgamma-producing cells from HCV-infected patients' PBMC. This support the selection of these domains for inclusion in a vaccine formulation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon-gamma (IFN gamma)-producing CD8+ T cells have been shown to play a key role in the control or eradication of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. In particular, T cells specific of the non-structural protein 3 (NS3) are often associated with control of viremia. The aim of the study was to identify novel HLA-A2 restricted CD8+ T cell epitopes specific of NS3 using a combination of comprehensive approaches. HLA-A2.1 transgenic mice were immunized with a DNA vaccine optimized for NS3 specific epitope presentation and induced CD8+ T cell reactivity was screened using 42 algorithm-predicted peptides as well as a library of 78 overlapping 15-mer peptides spanning the whole protein. Three epitopes mapping within the NS3 protease (GLL: aa 1038-1047) or helicase (ATL: aa 1260-1268 and TLH: aa 1617-1625) were identified. These epitopes, which display similar and high in vitro binding capacities to soluble HLA-A2 molecules, are able to induce either cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and/or IFN gamma-producing T cells. Comparative in vitro target cell sensitization studies revealed a higher immunogenicity of the GLL peptide as compared with both ATL and TLH peptides. This peptide was capable to recall in vitro HCV-specific IFN gamma and IL-10-producing T cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of chronically infected patients. These data increase the pool of NS3-specific CD8+ T cell epitopes available to analyze HCV associated immunity and could contribute to the design and evaluation of candidate vaccines.
Journal of Medical Virology 12/2004; 74(3):397-405. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To clarify whether some of the functions of B lymphocytes could be affected during hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, phenotypic characteristics of B lymphocytes from HCV-infected patients and their capacity to differentiate into immunoglobulins (Ig)-secreting cells were studied. B lymphocytes differentiation was investigated for patients untreated and non-responders (n=9), treated and non-responders (n=6), responders (n=6), long-term responders (n=9) to therapy and seronegative controls (n=14) following in vitro stimulation with S. aureus strain Cowan I mitogen. HCV sequences in purified B lymphocytes were detected by RT-PCR. It was found that HCV-patients harbor a similar mean percentage of B cells and a normal level of naïve B cells (% IgM+/IgD+ cells=79.7 +/- 15.4 for untreated non-responders, 57.1 +/- 22.9 for treated non-responders, 44.3 +/- 29.1 for responders, 75.7 +/- 16 for long-term responders) as compared with controls. It was also found that peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients or controls produced similar amounts of IgG, A, and M in vitro. A total of 57% of untreated non-responders versus 17% of treated non-responders were able to produce HCV-specific antibodies. Interestingly, B lymphocytes from PBMCs able to secrete anti-HCV antibodies contained HCV positive strand RNA, although no systematic detection of the negative strand was found. These data suggest that signaling through the B cell receptor (BCR) in B lymphocytes of HCV-infected patients appears normal whatever their response to therapy. The capacity to secrete HCV-specific IgG seemed to be linked to the presence of positive strand RNA rather than virus replication.
Journal of Medical Virology 05/2004; 72(4):566-74. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prophylactic hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine trials with human volunteers are pending. There is an important need for immunological end points which correlate with vaccine efficacy and which do not involve invasive procedures, such as liver biopsies. By using a multicomponent DNA priming-protein boosting vaccine strategy, naïve chimpanzees were immunized against HCV structural proteins (core, E1, and E2) as well as a nonstructural (NS3) protein. Following immunization, exposure to the heterologous HCV 1b J4 subtype resulted in a peak of plasma viremia which was lower in both immunized animals. Compared to the naïve infection control and nine additional historical controls which became chronic, vaccinee 2 (Vac2) rapidly resolved the infection, while the other (Vac1) clearly controlled HCV infection. Immunization induced antibodies, peptide-specific gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), protein-specific lymphoproliferative responses, IFN-gamma, interleukin-2 (IL-2), and IL-4 T-helper responses in both vaccinees. However, the specificities were markedly different: Vac2 developed responses which were lower in magnitude than those of Vac1 but which were biased towards Th1-type cytokine responses for E1 and NS3. This proof-of-principle study in chimpanzees revealed that immunization with a combination of nonstructural and structural antigens elicited T-cell responses associated with an alteration of the course of infection. Our findings provide data to support the concept that the quality of the response to conserved epitopes and the specific nature of the peripheral T-helper immune response are likely pivotal factors influencing the control and clearance of HCV infection.
Journal of Virology 02/2004; 78(1):187-96. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A polyepitopic CD8(+)-T-cell response is thought to be critical for control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Using transgenic mice, we analyzed the immunogenicity and dominance of most known HLA-A2.1 epitopes presented during infection by using vaccines that carry the potential to enter clinical trials: peptides, DNA, and recombinant adenoviruses. The vaccines capacity to induce specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and interferon gamma-producing cells revealed that immunogenic epitopes are clustered in specific antigens. For two key antigens, flanking regions were shown to greatly enhance the scope of epitope recognition, whereas a DNA-adenovirus prime-boost vaccination strategy augmented epitope immunogenicity, even that of subdominant ones. The present study reveals a clustered organization of HCV immunogenic HLA.A2.1 epitopes and strategies to modulate their dominance.
Journal of Virology 01/2003; 76(24):12735-46. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deglycosylation of viral glycoproteins has been shown to influence the number of available epitopes and to modulate immune recognition of antigens. We investigated the role played by N-glycans in the immunogenicity of hepatitis C virus (HCV) E1 envelope glycoprotein, a naturally poor immunogen. Eight plasmids were engineered, encoding E1 protein mutants in which the four N-linked glycosylation sites of the protein were mutated separately or in combination. In vitro expression studies showed an influence of N-linked glycosylation on expression efficiency, instability, and/or secretion of the mutated proteins. Immunogenicity of the E1 mutants was studied in BALB/c mice following intramuscular and intraepidermal injection of the plasmids. Whereas some mutations had no or only minor effects on the antibody titers induced, mutation of the fourth glycosylation site (N4) significantly enhanced the anti-E1 humoral response in terms of both seroconversion rates and antibody titers. Moreover, antibody induced by the N4 mutant was able to recognize HCV-like particles with higher titers than those induced by the wild-type construct. Epitope mapping indicated that the E1 mutant antigens induced antibody directed at two major domains: one, located at amino acids (aa) 313 to 332, which is known to be reactive with sera from HCV patients, and a second one, located in the N-terminal domain of E1 (aa 192 to 226). Analysis of the induced immune cellular response confirmed the induction of gamma interferon-producing cells by all mutants, albeit to different levels. These results show that N-linked glycosylation can limit the antibody response to the HCV E1 protein and reveal a potential vaccine candidate with enhanced immunogenicity.
Journal of Virology 01/2002; 75(24):12088-97. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immunogenicity of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) was investigated using different DNA-based strategies and a preclinical mouse model transgenic for the HLA-A2.1 molecule. Plasmids expressing NS3 either as a wild-type protein, as a fusion with murine lysosome-associated-membrane protein-1 specific sequences, or under the control of the Semliki Forest virus replicase were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. All plasmids were shown to express the expected size protein. These 3 NS3-expressing vaccines induced overall comparable levels of CTLs when measured at different times postvaccination although mice injected with the NS3-LAMP expressing plasmid showed a particularly homogeneous and overall vigorous response (specific lysis ranged from 60% to 90 % for an E:T ratio of 33.3:1 with a mean CTL precursor frequency of 1:2.10(5) cells). Out of the four HLA-A2.1-restricted NS3 epitopes previously described in HCV infected patients (aa 1073-1081, aa 1406-1415; aa 1169-1177 and aa 1287-1296), the NS3-DNA generated CTLs were predominantly targeted at the aa 1073-1081 epitope. Peptide-based immunization showed that the mouse repertoire was intact for all epitopes tested except one (aa 1287-1296). In conclusion, the 3 NS3-DNA vaccines although based on different mode of action, shared a comparable efficacy at inducing CTL. Surprisingly, the breadth of such response was restricted to a single, major epitope.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Replicating and nonreplicating nucleic acid-based vaccines as well as Semliki Forest-recombinant Viruses (rSFVs) were evaluated for the development of a vaccine against hepatitis C virus (HCV). Replicating SFV-DNA vaccines (pSFV) and rSFVs expressing HCV core or E2 antigens were compared with classical CMV-driven plasmids (pCMV) in single or bimodal vaccine protocols. In vitro experiments indicated that all vaccine vectors produced the HCV antigens but to different levels depending on the antigen expressed. Both replicating and nonreplicating core-expressing plasmids induced, upon injection in mice, specific comparable CTL responses ranging from 10 to 50% lysis (E:T ratio 100:1). Comparison of different injection modes (intramuscular versus intraepidermal) and the use of descalating doses of DNA (1-100 microgram) did not show an increased efficacy of the core-SFV plasmid compared with the CMV-driven one. Surprisingly, rSFVs yielded either no detectable anticore CTL or very low anti-E2 antibody titers following either single or bimodal administration together with CMV-expressing counterparts. Prime-boost experiments revealed, in all cases, the superiority of DNA-based only vaccines. The anti-E2 antibody response was evaluated using three different assays which indicated that all generated anti-E2 antibodies were targeted at similar determinants. This study emphasizes the potential of DNA-based vaccines for induction of anti-HCV immune responses and reveals an unexpected and limited benefit of SFV-based vaccinal approaches in the case of HCV core and E2.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interactive glycoproteins present on the surface of viral particles represent the main target of neutralizing antibodies. The ability of DNA vaccination to induce antibodies directed at such structures was investigated by using eight different expression plasmids engineered either to favor or to prevent interaction between the hepatitis C virus (HCV) envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2. Independently of the injection route (intramuscular or intraepidermal), plasmids expressing antigens capable of forming heterodimers presumed to be the prebudding form of the HCV envelope protein complex failed to induce any significant, stable antibodies following injection in mice. In sharp contrast, high titers of antibodies directed at both conformational and linear determinants were induced by using plasmids expressing severely truncated antigens that have lost the ability to form native complexes. In addition, only a truncated form of E2 induced antibodies reacting against the hypervariable region 1 of E2 (specifically with the C-terminal part of it) known to contain a neutralization site. When injected intraepidermally into small primates, the truncated E2-encoding plasmid induced antibodies able to neutralize in vitro the binding of a purified E2 protein onto susceptible cells. Because such antibodies have been associated with viral clearance in both humans and chimpanzees, these findings may have important implications for the development of protective immunity against HCV.
Journal of Virology 10/1999; 73(9):7497-504. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome encodes two membrane-associated envelope glycoproteins (E1 and E2), which are released from the viral polyprotein precursor by host signal peptidase cleavages. These glycoproteins interact to form a noncovalent heterodimeric complex, which is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum. HCV glycoproteins, E1 and E2, are heavily modified by N-linked glycosylation. A recent study has revealed that upon partial deglycosylation with endoglycosidase H only four of the five potential glycosylation sites of HCV glycoprotein E1 are utilized. In this work, the unused glycosylation site on the E1 glycoprotein was identified and the influence of N-linked glycosylation on the formation of the HCV glycoprotein complex was studied by expressing a panel of E1 glycosylation mutants in HepG2 cells. Each of the five potential N-linked glycosylation sites, located at amino acid positions 196, 209, 234, 305 and 325, respectively, on the HCV polyprotein, was mutated separately as well as in combination with the other sites. Expression of the mutated E1 proteins in HepG2 cells indicated that the fifth glycosylation site is not used for the addition of N-linked oligosaccharides and the Pro immediately following the sequon (Asn-Trp-Ser) precludes core glycosylation. The effect of each mutation on the formation of noncovalent E1E2 complexes was also analysed. As determined with the use of a conformation-sensitive monoclonal antibody, mutations at positions N2 and N3 had no, or only minor, effects on the assembly of the E1E2 complex, whereas a mutation at position N1 and predominantly at position N4 dramatically reduced the efficiency of the formation of noncovalent E1E2 complexes.
Journal of General Virology 05/1999; 80 ( Pt 4):887-96. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both linear and conformational determinants of hepatitis C virus (HCV) are believed to be involved in viral neutralization. After immortalization of B cells from HCV chronically infected patients with Epstein-Barr virus, we obtained two polyclonal lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) secreting human monoclonal antibodies (HMabs). One clone was derived from a patient infected with a genotype 4 isolate while the second was isolated from a genotype 1b-infected patient. Immunoprecipitation studies, Western blot, and immunofluorescence analysis, peptide scanning, and ELISA studies indicated that the HMabs (1) recognized conformation-dependent determinant(s), (2) were capable of recognizing genotype 1a and 1b derived antigens, and (3) were able to precipitate noncovalently associated E1E2 complexes believed to exist on the surface of virion particles. The HMab derived from the genotype 4-infected patient was in addition shown to neutralize the in vitro binding of recombinant E2 protein onto susceptible cells suggesting a potential for in vivo neutralization. These data indicate that anti-E2 antibodies directed at conserved conformational-dependent determinant(s) exist in chronic HCV infection.