32 research outputs found

    Vaccination with DNA plasmids expressing Gn coupled to C3d or alphavirus replicons expressing Gn protects mice against rift valley fever virus

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    Background: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an arthropod-borne viral zoonosis. Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an important biological threat with the potential to spread to new susceptible areas. In addition, it is a potential biowarfare agent. Methodology/Principal Findings: We developed two potential vaccines, DNA plasmids and alphavirus replicons, expressing the Gn glycoprotein of RVFV alone or fused to three copies of complement protein, C3d. Each vaccine was administered to mice in an all DNA, all replicon, or a DNA prime/replicon boost strategy and both the humoral and cellular responses were assessed. DNA plasmids expressing Gn-C3d and alphavirus replicons expressing Gn elicited high titer neutralizing antibodies that were similar to titers elicited by the live-attenuated MP12 virus. Mice vaccinated with an inactivated form of MP12 did elicit high titer antibodies, but these antibodies were unable to neutralize RVFV infection. However, only vaccine strategies incorporating alphavirus replicons elicited cellular responses to Gn. Both vaccines strategies completely prevented weight loss and morbidity and protected against lethal RVFV challenge. Passive transfer of antisera from vaccinated mice into naïve mice showed that both DNA plasmids expressing Gn-C3d and alphavirus replicons expressing Gn elicited antibodies that protected mice as well as sera from mice immunized with MP12. Conclusion/Significance: These results show that both DNA plasmids expressing Gn-C3d and alphavirus replicons expressing Gn administered alone or in a DNA prime/replicon boost strategy are effective RVFV vaccines. These vaccine strategies provide safer alternatives to using live-attenuated RVFV vaccines for human use. © 2010 Bhardwaj et al

    Altering an Artificial Gagpolnef Polyprotein and Mode of ENV Co-Administration Affects the Immunogenicity of a Clade C HIV DNA Vaccine

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    HIV-1 candidate vaccines expressing an artificial polyprotein comprising Gag, Pol and Nef (GPN) and a secreted envelope protein (Env) were shown in recent Phase I/II clinical trials to induce high levels of polyfunctional T cell responses; however, Env-specific responses clearly exceeded those against Gag. Here, we assess the impact of the GPN immunogen design and variations in the formulation and vaccination regimen of a combined GPN/Env DNA vaccine on the T cell responses against the various HIV proteins. Subtle modifications were introduced into the GPN gene to increase Gag expression, modify the expression ratio of Gag to PolNef and support budding of virus-like particles. I.m. administration of the various DNA constructs into BALB/c mice resulted in an up to 10-fold increase in Gag- and Pol-specific IFNγ+ CD8+ T cells compared to GPN. Co-administering Env with Gag or GPN derivatives largely abrogated Gag-specific responses. Alterations in the molar ratio of the DNA vaccines and spatially or temporally separated administration induced more balanced T cell responses. Whereas forced co-expression of Gag and Env from one plasmid induced predominantly Env-specific T cells responses, deletion of the only H-2d T cell epitope in Env allowed increased levels of Gag-specific T cells, suggesting competition at an epitope level. Our data demonstrate that the biochemical properties of an artificial polyprotein clearly influence the levels of antigen-specific T cells, and variations in formulation and schedule can overcome competition for the induction of these responses. These results are guiding the design of ongoing pre-clinical and clinical trials

    Using a Human Challenge Model of Infection to Measure Vaccine Efficacy: A Randomised, Controlled Trial Comparing the Typhoid Vaccines M01ZH09 with Placebo and Ty21a

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    Background Typhoid persists as a major cause of global morbidity. While several licensed vaccines to prevent typhoid are available, they are of only moderate efficacy and unsuitable for use in children less than two years of age. Development of new efficacious vaccines is complicated by the human host-restriction of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) and lack of clear correlates of protection. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the protective efficacy of a single dose of the oral vaccine candidate, M01ZH09, in susceptible volunteers by direct typhoid challenge. Methods and Findings We performed a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy adult participants at a single centre in Oxford (UK). Participants were allocated to receive one dose of double-blinded M01ZH09 or placebo or 3-doses of open-label Ty21a. Twenty-eight days after vaccination, participants were challenged with 104CFU S. Typhi Quailes strain. The efficacy of M01ZH09 compared with placebo (primary outcome) was assessed as the percentage of participants reaching pre-defined endpoints constituting typhoid diagnosis (fever and/or bacteraemia) during the 14 days after challenge. Ninety-nine participants were randomised to receive M01ZH09 (n = 33), placebo (n = 33) or 3-doses of Ty21a (n = 33). After challenge, typhoid was diagnosed in 18/31 (58.1% [95% CI 39.1 to 75.5]) M01ZH09, 20/30 (66.7% [47.2 to 87.2]) placebo, and 13/30 (43.3% [25.5 to 62.6]) Ty21a vaccine recipients. Vaccine efficacy (VE) for one dose of M01ZH09 was 13% [95% CI -29 to 41] and 35% [-5 to 60] for 3-doses of Ty21a. Retrospective multivariable analyses demonstrated that pre-existing anti-Vi antibody significantly reduced susceptibility to infection after challenge; a 1 log increase in anti-Vi IgG resulting in a 71% decrease in the hazard ratio of typhoid diagnosis ([95% CI 30 to 88%], p = 0.006) during the 14 day challenge period. Limitations to the study included the requirement to limit the challenge period prior to treatment to 2 weeks, the intensity of the study procedures and the high challenge dose used resulting in a stringent model. Conclusions Despite successfully demonstrating the use of a human challenge study to directly evaluate vaccine efficacy, a single-dose M01ZH09 failed to demonstrate significant protection after challenge with virulent Salmonella Typhi in this model. Anti-Vi antibody detected prior to vaccination played a major role in outcome after challenge

    Elucidating the Role of the Complement Control Protein in Monkeypox Pathogenicity

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    Monkeypox virus (MPXV) causes a smallpox-like disease in humans. Clinical and epidemiological studies provide evidence of pathogenicity differences between two geographically distinct monkeypox virus clades: the West African and Congo Basin. Genomic analysis of strains from both clades identified a ∼10 kbp deletion in the less virulent West African isolates sequenced to date. One absent open reading frame encodes the monkeypox virus homologue of the complement control protein (CCP). This modulatory protein prevents the initiation of both the classical and alternative pathways of complement activation. In monkeypox virus, CCP, also known as MOPICE, is a ∼24 kDa secretory protein with sequence homology to this superfamily of proteins. Here we investigate CCP expression and its role in monkeypox virulence and pathogenesis. CCP was incorporated into the West African strain and removed from the Congo Basin strain by homologous recombination. CCP expression phenotypes were confirmed for both wild type and recombinant monkeypox viruses and CCP activity was confirmed using a C4b binding assay. To characterize the disease, prairie dogs were intranasally infected and disease progression was monitored for 30 days. Removal of CCP from the Congo Basin strain reduced monkeypox disease morbidity and mortality, but did not significantly decrease viral load. The inclusion of CCP in the West African strain produced changes in disease manifestation, but had no apparent effect on disease-associated mortality. This study identifies CCP as an important immuno-modulatory protein in monkeypox pathogenesis but not solely responsible for the increased virulence seen within the Congo Basin clade of monkeypox virus

    Large Scale Comparison of Innate Responses to Viral and Bacterial Pathogens in Mouse and Macaque

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    Viral and bacterial infections of the lower respiratory tract are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Alveolar macrophages line the alveolar spaces and are the first cells of the immune system to respond to invading pathogens. To determine the similarities and differences between the responses of mice and macaques to invading pathogens we profiled alveolar macrophages from these species following infection with two viral (PR8 and Fuj/02 influenza A) and two bacterial (Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Francisella tularensis Schu S4) pathogens. Cells were collected at 6 time points following each infection and expression profiles were compared across and between species. Our analyses identified a core set of genes, activated in both species and across all pathogens that were predominantly part of the interferon response pathway. In addition, we identified similarities across species in the way innate immune cells respond to lethal versus non-lethal pathogens. On the other hand we also found several species and pathogen specific response patterns. These results provide new insights into mechanisms by which the innate immune system responds to, and interacts with, invading pathogens

    Early Priming Minimizes the Age-Related Immune Compromise of CD8+ T Cell Diversity and Function

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    The elderly are particularly susceptible to influenza A virus infections, with increased occurrence, disease severity and reduced vaccine efficacy attributed to declining immunity. Experimentally, the age-dependent decline in influenza-specific CD8+ T cell responsiveness reflects both functional compromise and the emergence of ‘repertoire holes’ arising from the loss of low frequency clonotypes. In this study, we asked whether early priming limits the time-related attrition of immune competence. Though primary responses in aged mice were compromised, animals vaccinated at 6 weeks then challenged >20 months later had T-cell responses that were normal in magnitude. Both functional quality and the persistence of ‘preferred’ TCR clonotypes that expand in a characteristic immunodominance hierarchy were maintained following early priming. Similar to the early priming, vaccination at 22 months followed by challenge retained a response magnitude equivalent to young mice. However, late priming resulted in reduced TCRβ diversity in comparison with vaccination earlier in life. Thus, early priming was critical to maintaining individual and population-wide TCRβ diversity. In summary, early exposure leads to the long-term maintenance of memory T cells and thus preserves optimal, influenza-specific CD8+ T-cell responsiveness and protects against the age-related attrition of naïve T-cell precursors. Our study supports development of vaccines that prime CD8+ T-cells early in life to elicit the broadest possible spectrum of CD8+ T-cell memory and preserve the magnitude, functionality and TCR usage of responding populations. In addition, our study provides the most comprehensive analysis of the aged (primary, secondary primed-early and secondary primed-late) TCR repertoires published to date

    Host-Adaptation of Francisella tularensis Alters the Bacterium's Surface-Carbohydrates to Hinder Effectors of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

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    The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with both intracellular and extracellular phases and could reasonably be expected to express distinct phenotypes in these environments. The presence of a capsule on this bacterium has been controversial with some groups finding such a structure while other groups report that no capsule could be identified. Previously we reported in vitro culture conditions for this bacterium which, in contrast to typical methods, yielded a bacterial phenotype that mimics that of the bacterium's mammalian, extracellular phase.SDS-PAGE and carbohydrate analysis of differentially-cultivated F. tularensis LVS revealed that bacteria displaying the host-adapted phenotype produce both longer polymers of LPS O-antigen (OAg) and additional HMW carbohydrates/glycoproteins that are reduced/absent in non-host-adapted bacteria. Analysis of wildtype and OAg-mutant bacteria indicated that the induced changes in surface carbohydrates involved both OAg and non-OAg species. To assess the impact of these HMW carbohydrates on the access of outer membrane constituents to antibody we used differentially-cultivated bacteria in vitro to immunoprecipitate antibodies directed against outer membrane moieties. We observed that the surface-carbohydrates induced during host-adaptation shield many outer membrane antigens from binding by antibody. Similar assays with normal mouse serum indicate that the induced HMW carbohydrates also impede complement deposition. Using an in vitro macrophage infection assay, we find that the bacterial HMW carbohydrate impedes TLR2-dependent, pro-inflammatory cytokine production by macrophages. Lastly we show that upon host-adaptation, the human-virulent strain, F. tularensis SchuS4 also induces capsule production with the effect of reducing macrophage-activation and accelerating tularemia pathogenesis in mice.F. tularensis undergoes host-adaptation which includes production of multiple capsular materials. These capsules impede recognition of bacterial outer membrane constituents by antibody, complement, and Toll-Like Receptor 2. These changes in the host-pathogen interface have profound implications for pathogenesis and vaccine development

    Oral challenge with wild-type Salmonella Typhi induces distinct changes in B cell subsets in individuals who develop typhoid disease.

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    A novel human oral challenge model with wild-type Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) was recently established by the Oxford Vaccine Group. In this model, 104 CFU of Salmonella resulted in 65% of participants developing typhoid fever (referred here as typhoid diagnosis -TD-) 6-9 days post-challenge. TD was diagnosed in participants meeting clinical (oral temperature ≥38°C for ≥12h) and/or microbiological (S. Typhi bacteremia) endpoints. Changes in B cell subpopulations following S. Typhi challenge remain undefined. To address this issue, a subset of volunteers (6 TD and 4 who did not develop TD -NoTD-) was evaluated. Notable changes included reduction in the frequency of B cells (cells/ml) of TD volunteers during disease days and increase in plasmablasts (PB) during the recovery phase (>day 14). Additionally, a portion of PB of TD volunteers showed a significant increase in activation (CD40, CD21) and gut homing (integrin α4β7) molecules. Furthermore, all BM subsets of TD volunteers showed changes induced by S. Typhi infections such as a decrease in CD21 in switched memory (Sm) CD27+ and Sm CD27- cells as well as upregulation of CD40 in unswitched memory (Um) and Naïve cells. Furthermore, changes in the signaling profile of some BM subsets were identified after S. Typhi-LPS stimulation around time of disease. Notably, naïve cells of TD (compared to NoTD) volunteers showed a higher percentage of cells phosphorylating Akt suggesting enhanced survival of these cells. Interestingly, most these changes were temporally associated with disease onset. This is the first study to describe differences in B cell subsets directly related to clinical outcome following oral challenge with wild-type S. Typhi in humans
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