Efficient Induction of T Cells against Conserved HIV-1 Regions by Mosaic Vaccines Delivered as Self-Amplifying mRNA
Moyo N., Vogel AB., Buus S., Erbar S., Wee EG., Sahin U., Hanke T.
© 2018 The Author(s) Focusing T cell responses on the most vulnerable parts of HIV-1, the functionally conserved regions of HIV-1 proteins, is likely a key prerequisite for vaccine success. For a T cell vaccine to efficiently control HIV-1 replication, the vaccine-elicited individual CD8+ T cells and as a population have to display a number of critical traits. If any one of these traits is suboptimal, the vaccine is likely to fail. Fine-tuning of individual protective characteristics of T cells will require iterative stepwise improvements in clinical trials. Although the second-generation tHIVconsvX immunogens direct CD8+ T cells to predominantly protective and conserved epitopes, in the present work, we have used formulated self-amplifying mRNA (saRNA) to deliver tHIVconsvX to the immune system. We demonstrated in BALB/c and outbred mice that regimens employing saRNA vaccines induced broadly specific, plurifunctional CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, which displayed structured memory subpopulations and were maintained at relatively high frequencies over at least 22 weeks post-administration. This is one of the first thorough analyses of mRNA vaccine-elicited T cell responses. The combination of tHIVconsvX immunogens and the highly versatile and easily manufacturable saRNA platform may provide a long-awaited opportunity to define and optimize induction of truly protective CD8+ T cell parameters in human volunteers.