ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: This manuscript describes the development of a novel synthetic immunotherapy (HIV-v) composed of four multi-epitope polypeptides targeting conserved regions in the Nef, Rev, Vif and Vpr viral proteins. Immunogenicity and cytotoxicity of HIV-v are discussed. METHODS: Short conserved T-cell multi-epitope regions were identified in silico in the HIV proteome. The immunogenicity of the identified HIV-v polypeptides was assessed in vivo by immunisation of C57BLK6 mice transgenic for HLA-A*0201. Splenocytes from immunised animals were exposed in vitro to soluble HIV-v polypeptides or to syngeneic (T1) or allogeneic (Jurkat) cells transfected with these polypeptides. Specific T-cell reactivity was assessed by cell-based IFN-gamma ELISA. Virus specific CD3 + CD8+ IFN-gamma+ recall responses were also determined by flow cytometry following in vitro exposure of splenocytes from immunised mice to syngeneic (T1) and allogeneic (H9) cells infected with HIV-1 strain IIIB. HIV-v specific antibodies were quantified by ELISA whilst antibody mediated anti-viral immunotherapeutic effect on T1 cells infected with a laboratory adapted and a primary isolate of the HIV-1 virus was assessed in a LDH-based complement mediated lysis assay. RESULTS: HIV-v elicited antigen-specific IgG and IFN-gamma responses against the synthetic polypeptides in the formulation. HIV-v specific T cells recognised polypeptides presented either as soluble antigen or complexed to HLA-A*0201 following natural processing and presentation by syngeneic human T1 cells. Moreover, the CD3 + CD8+ component of the response recognised syngeneic T1 cells naturally infected with HIV-1 in a virus-specific and MHC restricted-manner. The HIV-v specific IgG response was also able to recognise human T1 cells naturally infected with HIV-1 and induce cell death through classic activation of complement. CONCLUSIONS: HIV-v induces a vaccine-specific type I immune response characterised by activation of effector CD8+ T cell and antibody responses that recognise and kill human cell lines naturally infected with a laboratory adapted and a primary isolate of the HIV-1 virus. The data supports the hypothesis that alternative HIV protein targets can be effectively used to prime both cellular and antibody immune responses of clinical value in the prevention and treatment of HIV infection.
Virology Journal 04/2013; 10(1):107. · 2.34 Impact Factor