157 research outputs found

    Potency and durability of T and B cell immune responses after homologous and heterologous vector delivery of a trimer-stabilized, membrane-displayed HIV-1 clade ConC Env protein

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    Introduction: The generation of an HIV-1 vaccine able to induce long-lasting protective immunity remains a main challenge. Here, we aimed to modify next-generation soluble, prefusion-stabilized, close-to-native, glycan-engineered clade C gp140 envelope (Env) trimers (sC23v4 KIKO and ConCv5 KIKO) for optimal display on the cell surface following homologous or heterologous vector delivery. Methods: A combination of the following modifications scored best regarding the preservation of closed, native-like Env trimer conformation and antigenicity when using a panel of selected broadly neutralizing (bnAb) and non-neutralizing (nnAb) monoclonal antibodies for flow cytometry: i) replacing the natural cleavage site with a native flexible linker and introducing a single amino acid substitution to prevent CD4 binding (*), ii) fusing a heterologous VSV-G-derived transmembrane moiety to the gp140 C-terminus, and iii) deleting six residues proximal to the membrane. Results: When delivering membrane-tethered sC23v4 KIKO* and ConCv5 KIKO* via DNA, VSV-GP, and NYVAC vectors, the two native-like Env trimers provide differential antigenicity profiles. Whereas such patterns were largely consistent among the different vectors for either Env trimer, the membrane-tethered ConCv5 KIKO* trimer adopted a more closed and native-like structure than sC23v4 KIKO*. In immunized mice, VSV-GP and NYVAC vectors expressing the membrane-tethered ConCv5 KIKO* administered in prime/boost combination were the most effective regimens for the priming of Env-specific CD4 T cells among all tested combinations. The subsequent booster administration of trimeric ConCv5 KIKO* Env protein preserved the T cell activation levels between groups. The evaluation of the HIV-1-specific humoral responses induced in the different immunization groups after protein boosts showed that the various prime/boost protocols elicited broad and potent antibody responses, preferentially of a Th1-associated IgG2a subclass, and that the obtained antibody levels remained high at the memory phase. Discussion: In summary, we provide a feasible strategy to display multiple copies of native-like Env trimers on the cell surface, which translates into efficient priming of sustained CD4+ T cell responses after vector delivery as well as broad, potent, and sustained antibody responses following booster immunizations with the homologous, prefusion-stabilized, close-to-native ConCv5 KIKO* gp140 Env trimer

    Phenomenology of ultrafine particle concentrations and size distribution across urban Europe

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    The 2017-2019 hourly particle number size distributions (PNSD) from 26 sites in Europe and 1 in the US were evaluated focusing on 16 urban background (UB) and 6 traffic (TR) sites in the framework of Research Infrastructures services reinforcing air quality monitoring capacities in European URBAN & industrial areaS (RI-URBANS) project. The main objective was to describe the phenomenology of urban ultrafine particles (UFP) in Europe with a significant air quality focus. The varying lower size detection limits made it difficult to compare PN concentrations (PNC), particularly PN10-25, from different cities. PNCs follow a TR > UB > Suburban (SUB) order. PNC and Black Carbon (BC) progressively increase from Northern Europe to Southern Europe and from Western to Eastern Europe. At the UB sites, typical traffic rush hour PNC peaks are evident, many also showing midday-morning PNC peaks anti-correlated with BC. These peaks result from increased PN10-25, suggesting significant PNC contributions from nucleation, fumigation and shipping. Site types to be identified by daily and seasonal PNC and BC patterns are: (i) PNC mainly driven by traffic emissions, with marked correlations with BC on different time scales; (ii) marked midday/morning PNC peaks and a seasonal anti-correlation with PNC/BC; (iii) both traffic peaks and midday peaks without marked seasonal patterns. Groups (ii) and (iii) included cities with high insolation. PNC, especially PN25-800, was positively correlated with BC, NO2, CO and PM for several sites. The variable correlation of PNSD with different urban pollutants demonstrates that these do not reflect the variability of UFP in urban environments. Specific monitoring of PNSD is needed if nanoparticles and their associated health impacts are to be assessed. Implementation of the CEN-ACTRIS recommendations for PNSD measurements would provide comparable measurements, and measurements of <10 nm PNC are needed for full evaluation of the health effects of this size fraction

    Comparative Immunogenicity of COVID-19 Vaccines in a Population-Based Cohort Study with SARS-CoV-2-Infected and Uninfected Participants

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    To assess vaccine immunogenicity in non-infected and previously infected individuals in a real-world scenario, SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses were determined during follow-up 2 (April 2021) of the population-based Tirschenreuth COVID-19 cohort study comprising 3378 inhabitants of the Tirschenreuth county aged 14 years or older. Seronegative participants vaccinated once with Vaxzevria, Comirnaty, or Spikevax had median neutralizing antibody titers ranging from ID50 = 25 to 75. Individuals with two immunizations with Comirnaty or Spikevax had higher median ID50s (of 253 and 554, respectively). Regression analysis indicated that both increased age and increased time since vaccination independently decreased RBD binding and neutralizing antibody levels. Unvaccinated participants with detectable N-antibodies at baseline (June 2020) revealed a median ID50 of 72 at the April 2021 follow-up. Previously infected participants that received one dose of Vaxzevria or Comirnaty had median ID50 to 929 and 2502, respectively. Individuals with a second dose of Comirnaty given in a three-week interval after the first dose did not have higher median antibody levels than individuals with one dose. Prior infection also primed for high systemic IgA levels in response to one dose of Comirnaty that exceeded IgA levels observed after two doses of Comirnaty in previously uninfected participants. Neutralizing antibody levels targeting the spike protein of Beta and Delta variants were diminished compared to the wild type in vaccinated and infected participants

    Prostate158 - An expert-annotated 3T MRI dataset and algorithm for prostate cancer detection

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    BACKGROUND: The development of deep learning (DL) models for prostate segmentation on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) depends on expert-annotated data and reliable baselines, which are often not publicly available. This limits both reproducibility and comparability. METHODS: Prostate158 consists of 158 expert annotated biparametric 3T prostate MRIs comprising T2w sequences and diffusion-weighted sequences with apparent diffusion coefficient maps. Two U-ResNets trained for segmentation of anatomy (central gland, peripheral zone) and suspicious lesions for prostate cancer (PCa) with a PI-RADS score of >/=4 served as baseline algorithms. Segmentation performance was evaluated using the Dice similarity coefficient (DSC), the Hausdorff distance (HD), and the average surface distance (ASD). The Wilcoxon test with Bonferroni correction was used to evaluate differences in performance. The generalizability of the baseline model was assessed using the open datasets Medical Segmentation Decathlon and PROSTATEx. RESULTS: Compared to Reader 1, the models achieved a DSC/HD/ASD of 0.88/18.3/2.2 for the central gland, 0.75/22.8/1.9 for the peripheral zone, and 0.45/36.7/17.4 for PCa. Compared with Reader 2, the DSC/HD/ASD were 0.88/17.5/2.6 for the central gland, 0.73/33.2/1.9 for the peripheral zone, and 0.4/39.5/19.1 for PCa. Interrater agreement measured in DSC/HD/ASD was 0.87/11.1/1.0 for the central gland, 0.75/15.8/0.74 for the peripheral zone, and 0.6/18.8/5.5 for PCa. Segmentation performances on the Medical Segmentation Decathlon and PROSTATEx were 0.82/22.5/3.4; 0.86/18.6/2.5 for the central gland, and 0.64/29.2/4.7; 0.71/26.3/2.2 for the peripheral zone. CONCLUSIONS: We provide an openly accessible, expert-annotated 3T dataset of prostate MRI and a reproducible benchmark to foster the development of prostate segmentation algorithms

    Heterologous Combination of VSV-GP and NYVAC Vectors Expressing HIV-1 Trimeric gp145 Env as Vaccination Strategy to Induce Balanced B and T Cell Immune Responses

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    © 2019 Perdiguero, Gómez, García-Arriaza, Sánchez-Corzo, Sorzano, Wilmschen, von Laer, Asbach, Schmalzl, Peterhoff, Ding, Wagner, Kimpel, Levy, Pantaleo and Esteban.The generation of a vaccine against HIV-1 able to induce durable protective immunity continues a major challenge. The modest efficacy (31.2%) of the phase III RV144 clinical trial provided the first demonstration that a prophylactic HIV/AIDS vaccine is achievable but emphasized the need for further refinements of vaccine candidates, formulations, and immunization regimens. Here, we analyzed in mice the immunogenicity profile elicited by different homologous and heterologous prime/boost combinations using the modified rhabdovirus VSV-GP combined with DNA or poxviral NYVAC vectors, all expressing trimeric membrane-bound Env (gp145) of HIV-1 96ZM651 clade C, with or without purified gp140 protein component. In cultured cells infected with recombinant VSV-GP or NYVAC viruses, gp145 epitopes at the plasma membrane were recognized by human HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). In immunized mice, the heterologous combination of VSV-GP and NYVAC recombinant vectors improved the induction of HIV-1 Env-specific humoral and cellular immune responses compared to homologous prime/boost protocols. Specifically, the combination of VSV-GP in the prime and NYVAC in the boost induced higher HIV-1 Env-specific T cell (CD4/CD8 T cells and T follicular helper -Tfh- cells) immune responses compared to the use of DNA or NYVAC vectors in the prime and VSV-GP in the boost. Such enhanced T cell responses correlated with an enhancement of the Env-specific germinal center (GC) B cell population and with a heavily biased Env-specific response toward the Th1-associated IgG2a and IgG3 subclasses, while the other groups showed a Th2-associated IgG1 bias. In summary, our T and B cell population data demonstrated that VSV-GP-based vectors could be taken into consideration as an optimized immunogenic HIV-1 vaccine candidate component against HIV-1 when used for priming in heterologous combinations with the poxvirus vector NYVAC as a boost.This project had received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 681032 (EHVA, European HIV Vaccine Alliance). The 97CN54 gp140 protein was fully supported by a Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Grant ID: 38645) to Dr. Julie McElrath’s group at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, WA, United States)

    Priming with a Potent HIV-1 DNA Vaccine Frames the Quality of Immune Responses prior to a Poxvirus and Protein Boost

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    The use of heterologous immunization regimens and improved vector systems has led to increases in immunogenicity of HIV-1 vaccine candidates in nonhuman primates. In order to resolve interrelations between different delivery modalities, three different poxvirus boost regimens were compared. Three groups of rhesus macaques were each primed with the same DNA vaccine encoding Gag, Pol, Nef, and gp140. The groups were then boosted with either the vaccinia virus strain NYVAC or a variant with improved replication competence in human cells, termed NYVAC-KC. The latter was administered either by scarification or intramuscularly. Finally, macaques were boosted with adjuvanted gp120 protein to enhance humoral responses. The regimen elicited very potent CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses in a well-balanced manner, peaking 2 weeks after the boost. T cells were broadly reactive and polyfunctional. All animals exhibited antigen-specific humoral responses already after the poxvirus boost, which further increased following protein administration. Polyclonal reactivity of IgG antibodies was highest against HIV-1 clade C Env proteins, with considerable cross-reactivity to other clades. Substantial effector functional activities (antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cell-mediated virus inhibition) were observed in serum obtained after the last protein boost. Notably, major differences between the groups were absent, indicating that the potent priming induced by the DNA vaccine initially framed the immune responses in such a way that the subsequent boosts with NYVAC and protein led only to an increase in the response magnitudes without skewing the quality. This study highlights the importance of selecting the best combination of vector systems in heterologous prime-boost vaccination regimens.This investigation was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Poxvirus T-Cell Vaccine Discovery Consortium (PTVDC) (38599). The Vaccine Immune Monitoring Centers (OPP1032144 and OPP1032325) and the Vaccine Immunology Statistical Center (OPP1032317), as part of the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), were funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Novartis Vaccines received support for this work under contract number HHSN266200500007C from DAIDS-NIAID-NIH

    SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Stabilized in the Closed State Induces Potent Neutralizing Responses

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    The majority of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in use or advanced developmentare based on the viral spike protein (S) as their immunogen. S is present on virionsas prefusion trimers in which the receptor binding domain (RBD) is stochasticallyopen or closed. Neutralizing antibodies have been described against both open andclosed conformations. The long-term success of vaccination strategies depends uponinducing antibodies that provide long-lasting broad immunity against evolvingSARS-CoV-2 strains. Here, we have assessed the results of immunization in a mousemodel using an S protein trimer stabilized in the closed state to prevent full expo-sure of the receptor binding site and therefore interaction with the receptor. Wecompared this with other modified S protein constructs, including representativesused in current vaccines. We found that all trimeric S proteins induced a T cellresponse and long-lived, strongly neutralizing antibody responses against 2019SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern P.1 and B.1.351. Notably, the protein bindingproperties of sera induced by the closed spike differed from those induced bystandard S protein constructs. Closed S proteins induced more potent neutralizingresponses than expected based on the degree to which they inhibit interactionsbetween the RBD and ACE2. These observations suggest that closed spikes recruitdifferent, but equally potent, immune responses than open spikes and that this islikely to include neutralizing antibodies against conformational epitopes present inthe closed conformation. We suggest that closed spikes, together with their improved sta-bility and storage properties, may be a valuable component of refined, next-generationvaccines

    Replication-Competent NYVAC-KC Yields Improved Immunogenicity to HIV-1 Antigens in Rhesus Macaques Compared to Nonreplicating NYVAC

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    © 2019 Kibler et al.As part of the continuing effort to develop an effective HIV vaccine, we generated a poxviral vaccine vector (previously described) designed to improve on the results of the RV144 phase III clinical trial. The construct, NYVAC-KC, is a replication-competent, attenuated recombinant of the vaccinia virus strain NYVAC. NYVAC is a vector that has been used in many previous clinical studies but is replication deficient. Here, we report a side-by-side comparison of replication-restricted NYVAC and replication-competent NYVAC-KC in a nonhuman primate study, which utilized a prime-boost regimen similar to that of RV144. NYVAC-C and NYVAC-C-KC express the HIV-1 antigens gp140, and Gag/Gag-Pol-Nef-derived virus-like particles (VLPs) from clade C and were used as the prime, with recombinant virus plus envelope protein used as the boost. In nearly every T and B cell immune assay against HIV-1, including neutralization and antibody binding, NYVAC-C-KC induced a greater immune response than NYVAC-C, indicating that replication competence in a poxvirus may improve upon the modestly successful regimen used in the RV144 clinical trial.IMPORTANCE Though the RV144 phase III clinical trial showed promise that an effective vaccine against HIV-1 is possible, a successful vaccine will require improvement over the vaccine candidate (ALVAC) used in the RV144 study. With that goal in mind, we have tested in nonhuman primates an attenuated but replication-competent vector, NYVAC-KC, in direct comparison to its parental vector, NYVAC, which is replication restricted in human cells, similar to the ALVAC vector used in RV144. We have utilized a prime-boost regimen for administration of the vaccine candidate that is similar to the one used in the RV144 study. The results of this study indicate that a replication-competent poxvirus vector may improve upon the effectiveness of the RV144 clinical trial vaccine candidate.This investigation was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Poxvirus T Cell Vaccine Discovery Consortium (PTVDC) (38599). The Vaccine Immune Monitoring Centers (OPP1032144 and OPP1032325) and the Vaccine Immunology Statistical Center (OPP1032317), as part of the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), were funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Novartis Vaccines received support for this work under contract number HHSN266200500007C from DAIDS-NIAID-NIH
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