Evaluation in Rhesus Macaques of Tat and Rev-Targeted Immunization as a Preventive Vaccine against Mucosal Challenge with SHIV-BX08

Verrier, Bernard; Le Grand, Roger; Ataman-Önal, Yasemin; Terrat, Celine; Guillon, Christophe; Durand, Pierre-Yves; Hurtrel, Bruno; Aubertin, Anne-Marie; Sutter, Gerd; Erfle, Volker; Girard, Marc
September 2002
DNA & Cell Biology;Sep2002, Vol. 21 Issue 9, p653
Academic Journal
Recent evidence suggests that a CD8-mediated cytotoxic T-cell response against the regulatory proteins of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) may control infection after pathogenic virus challenge. Here, we evaluated whether vaccination with Tat or Tat and Rev could significantly reduce viral load in nonhuman primates. Rhesus macaques were primed with Semliki forest Virus (SFV) expressing HIV-1 tat (SFV-tat) and HIV-1 rev (SFV-rev) and boosted with modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing tat and rev. A second group of monkey was primed with SFV-tat only and boosted with MVA-tat. A third group received a tat and rev DNA/MVA prime-boost vaccine regimen. Monitoring of anti-Tat and anti-Rev antibody responses or antigen-specific IFN-γ production, as measured by enzyme-linked immunospot assays revealed no clear differences between the three groups. These results suggest that priming with either DNA or SFV seemed to be equivalent, but the additive or synergistic effect of a rev vaccine could not be clearly established. The animals were challenged by the rectal route 9 weeks after the last booster immunization, using 10 MID[sub 50] of a SHIV-BX08 stock. Postchallenge follow-up of the monkeys included testing seroconversion to Gag and Env antigens, measuring virus infectivity in PBMC by cocultivation with noninfected human cells, and monitoring of plasma viral load. None of the animals was protected from infection as assessed by PCR, but peak viremia was reduced more than 200-fold compared to sham controls in one third (6/18) of vaccinated macaques, whatever the vaccine regimen they received. Interestingly, among these six protected animals four did not seroconvert. Altogether, these results clearly indicated that the addition of early HIV proteins like Tat and Rev in a multicomponent preventive vaccine including structural proteins like Env or Gag may be beneficial in preventive vaccinal strategies.


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