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Vaccine. 2012 Apr 19;30(19):2956-62. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.02.050. Epub 2012 Mar 2.

Immunogenicity of a lentiviral-based DNA vaccine driven by the 5'LTR of the naturally attenuated caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAEV) in mice and macaques.

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Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology, The University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, United States.


Increasing the safety and the efficacy of existing HIV vaccines is one of the strategies that could help to promote the development of a vaccine for human use. We developed a HIV DNA vaccine (Δ4-SHIVKU2) that has been shown to induce potent polyfunctional HIV-specific T cell responses following a single dose immunization of mice and macaques. Δ4-SHIVKU2 also induced protection when immunized macaques were challenged with homologous pathogenic viruses. In the present study, our aim was to examine whether a chimeric HIV DNA vaccine (CAL-Δ4-SHIVKU2) whose genome is driven by the LTR of the goat lentivirus, caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAEV) expresses efficiently the vaccine antigens and induces potent immune responses in animal models for HIV vaccine. Data of radioimmunoprecipitation assays clearly show that this chimeric genome drives efficient expression of all HIV antigens in the construct. In addition, evaluation of the p24 Gag protein in the supernatant of HEK-293-T cells transfected in parallel with Δ4-SHIVKU2 and CAL-Δ4-SHIVKU2 showed no difference suggesting that these two LTRs are inducing equally the expression of the viral genes. Immunization of mice and macaques using our single dose immunization regimen resulted in induction of similar IFN-γ ELISPOT responses in Δ4-SHIVKU2- and CAL-Δ4-SHIVKU2-treated mice. Similar profiles of T cell responses were also detected both in mice and macaques when multiparametric flow cytometry analyses were performed. Since CAEV LTR is not dependent of Tat to drive viral gene expression and is not functional for integration with HIV integrase, this new vector increases the safety and efficacy of our vaccine vectors and vaccination strategy.

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