Immunization with a modified vaccinia virus expressing simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag-Pol primes for an anamnestic Gag-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response and is associated with reduction of viremia after SIV challenge.
Seth A., Ourmanov I., Schmitz JE., Kuroda MJ., Lifton MA., Nickerson CE., Wyatt L., Carroll M., Moss B., Venzon D., Letvin NL., Hirsch VM.
The immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) recombinant expressing the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag-Pol proteins (MVA-gag-pol) was explored in rhesus monkeys expressing the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I allele, MamuA*01. Macaques received four sequential intramuscular immunizations with the MVA-gag-pol recombinant virus or nonrecombinant MVA as a control. Gag-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses were detected in all MVA-gag-pol-immunized macaques by both functional assays and flow cytometric analyses of CD8(+) T cells that bound a specific MHC complex class I-peptide tetramer, with levels peaking after the second immunization. Following challenge with uncloned SIVsmE660, all macaques became infected; however, viral load set points were lower in MVA-gag-pol-immunized macaques than in the MVA-immunized control macaques. MVA-gag-pol-immunized macaques exhibited a rapid and substantial anamnestic CTL response specific for the p11C, C-M Gag epitope. The level at which CTL stabilized after resolution of primary viremia correlated inversely with plasma viral load set point (P = 0.03). Most importantly, the magnitude of reduction in viremia in the vaccinees was predicted by the magnitude of the vaccine-elicited CTL response prior to SIV challenge.