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The utility of modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) as a vector for eliciting AIDS virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) was explored in the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)/rhesus monkey model. After two intramuscular immunizations with recombinant MVA-SIVSM gag pol, the monkeys developed a Gag epitope-specific CTL response readily detected in peripheral blood lymphocytes by using a functional killing assay. Moreover, those immunizations also elicited a population of CD8+ T lymphocytes in the peripheral blood that bound a specific major histocompatibility complex class I/peptide tetramer. These Gag epitope-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes also were demonstrated by using both functional and tetramer-binding assays in lymph nodes of the immunized monkeys. These observations suggest that MVA may prove a useful vector for an HIV-1 vaccine. They also suggest that tetramer staining may be a useful technology for monitoring CTL generation in vaccine trials in nonhuman primates and in humans.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Date





10112 - 10116


Harvard Medical School, Division of Viral Pathogenesis, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Animals, Macaca mulatta, Humans, Vaccinia virus, Fusion Proteins, gag-pol, Recombinant Proteins, DNA Primers, AIDS Vaccines, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Epitopes, Immunization, Base Sequence, Protein Conformation, Genetic Vectors, Simian immunodeficiency virus