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To be effective against HIV type 1 (HIV-1), vaccine-induced T cells must selectively target epitopes, which are functionally conserved (present in the majority of currently circulating and reactivated HIV-1 strains) and, at the same time, beneficial (responses to which are associated with better clinical status and control of HIV-1 replication), and rapidly reach protective frequencies upon exposure to the virus. Heterologous prime-boost regimens using virally vectored vaccines are currently the most promising vaccine strategies; nevertheless, induction of robust long-term memory remains challenging. To this end, lentiviral vectors induce high frequencies of memory cells due to their low-inflammatory nature, while typically inducing only low anti-vector immune responses. Here, we describe construction of novel candidate vaccines ZVex.tHIVconsv1 and ZVex.tHIVconsv2, which are based on an integration-deficient lentiviral vector platform with preferential transduction of human dendritic cells and express a bivalent mosaic of conserved-region T cell immunogens with a high global HIV-1 match. Each of the two mosaic vaccines was individually immunogenic. When administered together in heterologous prime-boost regimens with chimpanzee adenovirus and/or poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccines to BALB/c and outbred CD1-Swiss mice, they induced a median frequency of over 6,000 T cells/106 splenocytes, which were plurifunctional, broadly specific, and cross-reactive. These results support further development of this vaccine concept.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Ther

Publication Date





494 - 503


HIV vaccines, conserved regions, lentivirus vectors, mosaic proteins, AIDS Vaccines, Animals, Conserved Sequence, Dendritic Cells, Disease Models, Animal, Epitopes, Female, Gene Order, Genetic Vectors, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, Immunity, Cellular, Lentivirus, Mice, Peptides, T-Lymphocytes