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Broadening CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses against hepatitis C virus by vaccination with NS3 overlapping peptide panels in cross-priming liposomes

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

DOI

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Despite the introduction of effective drugs to treat patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, a vaccine would be the only means to substantially reduce the worldwide disease burden. An incomplete understanding of how HCV interacts with its human host and evades immune surveillance has hampered vaccine development. It is generally accepted that in infected individuals, a narrow repertoire of exhausted T cells is a hallmark of persistent infection, whereas broad vigorous CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses are associated with control of acute hepatitis C. We employ a vaccine approach based on a mix of peptides (pepmix) spanning the entire sequence of HCV nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) in cross-priming cationic liposomes (CAF09), to facilitate a versatile presentation of all possible T cell epitopes, regardless of HLA-background of the vaccine recipient. Here, we demonstrated that vaccination of mice with NS3 pepmix broadens the repertoire of epitope-specific T cells compared to the corresponding recombinant protein (rNS3). Moreover, vaccination with rNS3 only induced CD4(+) T cells, whereas the NS3 pepmix induced a far more vigorous CD4(+) T cell response and was as potent a CD8(+) T cell inducer as an adenovirus vectored vaccine expressing NS3. Importantly, the cellular responses are dominated by multifunctional T cells such as IFN-γ(+)TNF-α(+) co-producers and displayed cytotoxic capacity in mice. In conclusion, we present a novel vaccine approach against HCV inducing a broadened T cell response targeting both immunodominant- and potential subdominant epitopes, which may be key elements to counter T cell exhaustion and preventing chronicity.Importance: With at least 700,000 annual deaths development of a vaccine against hepatitis C virus (HCV) is of high priority, but the tremendous ability of this virus to dodge the human immune system poses great challenges. Furthermore, many chronic infections, including HCV, have a remarkable ability to drive initially strong CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses against dominant epitopes towards an exhausted, dysfunctional state. Thus, new and innovative vaccine approaches to control HCV should be evaluated. Here, we report on a novel peptide-based nanoparticle vaccine-strategy (NS3 pepmix) aimed at generating T cell immunity against potential subdominant T cell epitopes that are not efficiently targeted by vaccination with full-length recombinant protein (rNS3) or infection with HCV. As proof-of-concept, we found that NS3 pepmix excels in broadening the repertoire of epitope-specific, multifunctional and cytotoxic CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells when compared to vaccination with rNS3, which generated CD4(+) T cell responses only.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Virology
Vol/bind91
Udgave nummer14
ISSN0022-538X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 jul. 2017

ID: 50559766