Author(s): Kwissa M, Amara RR, Robinson HL, Moss B, Alkan S,
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Abstract DNA vaccines offer promising strategies for immunization against infections. However, their clinical use requires improvements in immunogenicity. We explored the efficacy of Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands (TLR-Ls) on augmenting the immunogenicity of a DNA prime-modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) boost vaccine against SIV. Rhesus macaques were injected with Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (Flt3)-ligand (FL) to expand dendritic cells (DCs) and were primed with a DNA vaccine encoding immunodeficiency virus antigens mixed with ligands for TLR9 or TLR7/8. Subsequently, the animals were boosted with DNA and twice with recombinant MVA expressing the same antigens. TLR9-L (CpG DNA) mediated activation of DCs in vivo and enhanced the magnitude of antigen-specific CD8(+) interferon (IFN) gamma(+) T cells and polyfunctional CD8(+) T cells producing IFN-gamma, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin 2. Although this trial was designed primarily as an immunogenicity study, we challenged the animals with pathogenic SIVmac(251) and observed a reduction in peak viremia and cumulative viral loads in the TLR9-L plus FL-adjuvanted group relative to the unvaccinated group; however, the study design precluded comparisons between the adjuvanted groups and the group vaccinated with DNA/MVA alone. Viral loads were inversely correlated with the magnitude and quality of the immune response. Thus, the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines can be augmented with TLR9-L plus FL.
This article was published in J Exp Med
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination