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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 25;107(21):9843-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0911932107. Epub 2010 May 10.

Innate and adaptive immune correlates of vaccine and adjuvant-induced control of mucosal transmission of SIV in macaques.

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Vaccine Branch, Biostatistics and Data Management Section, and Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute, and Laboratory of Host Defenses and Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Adjuvant effects on innate as well as adaptive immunity may be critical for inducing protection against mucosal HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) exposure. We therefore studied effects of Toll-like receptor agonists and IL-15 as mucosal adjuvants on both innate and adaptive immunity in a peptide/poxvirus HIV/SIV mucosal vaccine in macaques, and made three critical observations regarding both innate and adaptive correlates of protection: (i) adjuvant-alone without vaccine antigen impacted the intrarectal SIVmac251 challenge outcome, correlating with surprisingly long-lived APOBEC3G (A3G)-mediated innate immunity; in addition, even among animals receiving vaccine with adjuvants, viral load correlated inversely with A3G levels; (ii) a surprising threshold-like effect existed for vaccine-induced adaptive immunity control of viral load, and only antigen-specific polyfunctional CD8(+) T cells correlated with protection, not tetramer(+) T cells, demonstrating the importance of T-cell quality; (iii) synergy was observed between Toll-like receptor agonists and IL-15 for driving adaptive responses through the up-regulation of IL-15Ralpha, which can present IL-15 in trans, as well as for driving the innate A3G response. Thus, strategic use of molecular adjuvants can provide better mucosal protection through induction of both innate and adaptive immunity.

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