Author(s): Rosa DS, Ribeiro SP, Almeida RR, Mairena EC, Postl E,
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Abstract T-cell based vaccines against HIV have the goal of limiting both transmission and disease progression by inducing broad and functionally relevant T cell responses. Moreover, polyfunctional and long-lived specific memory T cells have been associated to vaccine-induced protection. CD4(+) T cells are important for the generation and maintenance of functional CD8(+) cytotoxic T cells. We have recently developed a DNA vaccine encoding 18 conserved multiple HLA-DR-binding HIV-1 CD4 epitopes (HIVBr18), capable of eliciting broad CD4(+) T cell responses in multiple HLA class II transgenic mice. Here, we evaluated the breadth and functional profile of HIVBr18-induced immune responses in BALB/c mice. Immunized mice displayed high-magnitude, broad CD4(+)/CD8(+) T cell responses, and 8/18 vaccine-encoded peptides were recognized. In addition, HIVBr18 immunization was able to induce polyfunctional CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells that proliferate and produce any two cytokines (IFNγ/TNFα, IFNγ/IL-2 or TNFα/IL-2) simultaneously in response to HIV-1 peptides. For CD4(+) T cells exclusively, we also detected cells that proliferate and produce all three tested cytokines simultaneously (IFNγ/TNFα/IL-2). The vaccine also generated long-lived central and effector memory CD4(+) T cells, a desirable feature for T-cell based vaccines. By virtue of inducing broad, polyfunctional and long-lived T cell responses against conserved CD4(+) T cell epitopes, combined administration of this vaccine concept may provide sustained help for CD8(+) T cells and antibody responses- elicited by other HIV immunogens.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination