Author(s): Awasthi S, Mahairas GG, Shaw CE, Huang ML, Koelle DM,
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Abstract We evaluated a genital herpes prophylactic vaccine containing herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) glycoproteins C (gC2) and D (gD2) to stimulate humoral immunity and UL19 (capsid protein VP5) and UL47 (tegument protein VP13/14) as T cell immunogens. The HSV-2 gC2 and gD2 proteins were expressed in baculovirus, while the UL19 and UL47 genes were expressed from replication-defective adenovirus vectors. Adenovirus vectors containing UL19 and UL47 stimulated human and murine CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses. Guinea pigs were either (i) mock immunized; (ii) immunized with gC2/gD2, with CpG and alum as adjuvants; (iii) immunized with the UL19/UL47 adenovirus vectors; or (iv) immunized with the combination of gC2/gD2-CpG/alum and the UL19/UL47 adenovirus vectors. Immunization with gC2/gD2 produced potent neutralizing antibodies, while UL19 and UL47 also stimulated antibody responses. After intravaginal HSV-2 challenge, the mock and UL19/UL47 adenovirus groups developed severe acute disease, while 2/8 animals in the gC2/gD2-only group and none in the combined group developed acute disease. No animals in the gC2/gD2 or combined group developed recurrent disease; however, 5/8 animals in each group had subclinical shedding of HSV-2 DNA, on 15/168 days for the gC2/gD2 group and 13/168 days for the combined group. Lumbosacral dorsal root ganglia were positive for HSV-2 DNA and latency-associated transcripts for 5/8 animals in the gC2/gD2 group and 2/8 animals in the combined group. None of the differences comparing the gC2/gD2-only group and the combined group were statistically significant. Therefore, adding the T cell immunogens UL19 and UL47 to the gC2/gD2 vaccine did not significantly reduce genital disease and vaginal HSV-2 DNA shedding compared with the excellent protection provided by gC2/gD2 in the guinea pig model. IMPORTANCE: HSV-2 infection is a common cause of genital ulcer disease and a significant public health concern. Genital herpes increases the risk of transmission and acquisition of HIV-1 infection 3- to 4-fold. A herpes vaccine that prevents genital lesions and asymptomatic genital shedding will have a substantial impact on two epidemics, i.e., both the HSV-2 and HIV-1 epidemics. We previously reported that a vaccine containing HSV-2 glycoprotein C (gC2) and glycoprotein D (gD2) reduced genital lesions and asymptomatic HSV-2 genital shedding in guinea pigs, yet the protection was not complete. We evaluated whether adding the T cell immunogens UL19 (capsid protein VP5) and UL47 (tegument protein VP13/14) would enhance the protection provided by the gC2/gD2 vaccine, which produces potent antibody responses. Here we report the efficacy of a combination vaccine containing gC2/gD2 and UL19/UL47 for prevention of genital disease, vaginal shedding of HSV-2 DNA, and latent infection of dorsal root ganglia in guinea pigs. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
This article was published in J Virol
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion