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Vaccine. 2012 May 21;30(24):3666-74. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.03.034. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Induction of mucosal HIV-specific B and T cell responses after oral immunization with live coxsackievirus B4 recombinants.

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Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, 120 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208, USA.


Given the limited success of clinical HIV vaccine trials, new vaccine strategies are needed for the HIV pipeline. The present study explored the novel concept that a live enteric virus, with limited disease potential, is a suitable vaccine vector to elicit HIV-specific immune responses in the gut mucosa of immunized mice. Two coxsackievirus B4 (CVB4) vaccine vectors were designed to induce HIV-specific B or T cell responses. A B cell immunogen, CVB4/gp41(2F5), was constructed by expressing an epitope from the membrane proximal external region (MPER) of gp41 as a structural peptide within a surface loop of a capsid protein of CVB4. The T cell immunogen, CVB4/p24(73(3)), was constructed previously by expressing a gag p24 sequence as a non-structural peptide at the amino-terminus of the CVB4 polyprotein. The CVB4/gp41(2F5) recombinant was antigenic in mice and elicited anti-gp41 antibodies in both the mucosal and systemic compartments. The route of immunization affected the antibody response since oral delivery of CVB4/gp41(2F5) induced anti-gp41 antibodies in the mucosal but not in the systemic compartment while parenteral delivery induced anti-gp41 antibodies in both compartments. In contrast, oral immunization with CVB4/p24(73(3)) elicited both mucosal and systemic gag p24-specific T cell responses. Since coxsackieviruses are ubiquitous in the human population, a key question is whether pre-existing vector immunity will inhibit the ability of a CVB4-based vaccine to induce HIV-specific immune responses. We show that pre-existing vector immunity did not preclude the development of mucosal anti-gp41 antibodies or gag p24-specific T cell responses after oral immunization with the CVB4/HIV recombinants. We suggest that the CVB4/HIV recombinants have the potential to be a viable vaccine product because of ease of delivery, safety, immunogenicity, ease of large-scale production, and storage conditions requiring cold-chain temperatures provided by refrigeration.

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