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J Virol. 2001 Mar;75(5):2142-53.

Mature dendritic cells infected with canarypox virus elicit strong anti-human immunodeficiency virus CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell responses from chronically infected individuals.

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Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Recombinant canarypox virus vectors containing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) sequences are promising vaccine candidates, as they replicate poorly in human cells. However, when delivered intramuscularly the vaccines have induced inconsistent and in some cases transient antigen-specific cytotoxic T-cell (CTL) responses in seronegative volunteers. An attractive way to enhance these responses would be to target canarypox virus to professional antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells (DCs). We studied (i) the interaction between canarypox virus and DCs and (ii) the T-cell responses induced by DCs infected with canarypox virus vectors containing HIV-1 genes. Mature and not immature DCs resisted the cytopathic effects of canarypox virus and elicited strong effector CD8+ T-cell responses from chronically infected HIV+ individuals, e.g., cytolysis, and secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and beta-chemokines. Furthermore, canarypox virus-infected DCs were >30-fold more efficient than monocytes and induced responses that were comparable to those induced by vaccinia virus vectors or peptides. Addition of exogenous cytokines was not necessary to elicit CD8+ effector cells, although the presence of CD4+ T cells was required for their expansion and maintenance. Most strikingly, canarypox virus-infected DCs were directly able to stimulate HIV-specific, IFN-gamma-secreting CD4 helper responses from bulk as well as purified CD4+ T cells. Therefore, these results suggest that targeting canarypox virus vectors to mature DCs could potentially elicit both anti-HIV CD8+ and CD4+ helper responses in vivo.

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