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J Virol. 2002 Mar;76(6):2730-8.

High-level primary CD8(+) T-cell response to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gag and env generated by vaccination with recombinant vesicular stomatitis viruses.

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Department of Pathology, Program in Microbiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


We investigated the primary cellular immune responses to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Env and Gag proteins elicited by recombinant vesicular stomatitis viruses (rVSVs). The primary response to Env peaked 5 to 7 days after intraperitoneal vaccination, at which time 40% of CD8(+) cells were Env tetramer positive and activated (CD62L(Lo)). These freshly isolated cells actively lysed target cells pulsed with the p18-I10 peptide and secreted gamma interferon and tumor necrosis factor alpha after stimulation with the Env p18-I10 peptide. The primary response to Env elicited by rVSVs was sixfold higher than that elicited by recombinant vaccinia viruses (rVVs) at 5 days postvaccination. An intranasal route of vaccination with VSV-Env also elicited a strong primary response to Env. The primary immune response to Gag elicited by rVSV peaked 7 days after vaccination, at which time 3% of CD8(+) cells were Gag tetramer positive and CD62L(Lo) and functional by intracellular cytokine staining. This response was eightfold higher than that elicited by rVV expressing Gag. VSV-GagEnv, which expresses both Gag and Env from a single recombinant, also induced strong cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses to both Env and Gag. Our quantitative analyses illustrate the potency of the VSV vector system in CTL induction.

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