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Characterization of host responses to Vaccinia virus infection

Description

Vaccinia virus (VACV) is the current vaccine for the highly infectious smallpox disease. Since the eradication of smallpox, VACV has been developed extensively as a heterologous vaccine vector for several

Vaccinia virus (VACV) is the current vaccine for the highly infectious smallpox disease. Since the eradication of smallpox, VACV has been developed extensively as a heterologous vaccine vector for several pathogens. However, due to the complications associated with this replication competent virus, the safety and efficacy of VACV vaccine vector has been reevaluated. To evaluate the safety and efficacy of VACV, we study the interactions between VACV and the host innate immune system, especially the type I interferon (IFN) signaling pathways. In this work, we evaluated the role of protein kinase R (PKR) and Adenosine Deaminase Acting on RNA 1(ADAR1), which are induced by IFN, in VACV infection. We found that PKR is necessary but is not sufficient to activate interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) in the induction of type I IFN; and the activation of the stress-activated protein kinase/ c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase is required for the PKR-dependent activation of IRF3 during VACV infection. Even though PKR was found to have an antiviral effect in VACV, ADAR1 was found to have a pro-viral effect by destabilizing double stranded RNA (dsRNA), rescuing VACVΔE3L, VACV deleted of the virulence factor E3L, when provided in trans. With the lessons we learned from VACV and host cells interaction, we have developed and evaluated a safe replication-competent VACV vaccine vector for HIV. Our preliminary results indicate that our VACV vaccine vector can still induce the IFN pathway while maintaining the ability to replicate and to express the HIV antigen efficiently. This suggests that this VACV vector can be used as a safe and efficient vaccine vector for HIV.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Searching for an HIV vaccine: a heterologous prime-boost system using replicating vaccinia virus and plant-produced virus-like particles

Description

The HIV-1 pandemic continues to cause millions of new infections and AIDS-related deaths each year, and a majority of these occur in regions of the world with limited access to

The HIV-1 pandemic continues to cause millions of new infections and AIDS-related deaths each year, and a majority of these occur in regions of the world with limited access to antiretroviral therapy. Therefore, an HIV-1 vaccine is still desperately needed. The most successful HIV-1 clinical trial to date used a non-replicating canarypox viral vector and protein boosting, yet its modest efficacy left room for improvement. Efforts to derive novel vectors which can be both safe and immunogenic, have spawned a new era of live, viral vectors. One such vaccinia virus vector, NYVAC-KC, was specifically designed to replicate in humans and had several immune modulators deleted to improve immunogenicity and reduce pathogenicity. Two NYVAC-KC vectors were generated: one expressing the Gag capsid, and one with deconstructed-gp41 (dgp41), which contains an important neutralizing antibody target, the membrane proximal external region (MPER). These vectors were combined with HIV-1 Gag/dgp41 virus-like particles (VLPs) produced in the tobacco-relative Nicotiana benthamiana. Different plant expression vectors were compared in an effort to improve yield. A Geminivirus-based vector was shown to increase the amount of MPER present in VLPs, thus potentially enhancing immunogenicity. Furthermore, these VLPs were shown to interact with the innate immune system through Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling, which activated antigen presenting cells to induce a Th2-biased response in a TLR-dependent manner. Furthermore, expression of Gag and dgp41 in NYVAC-KC vectors resulted in activation of antiviral signaling pathways reliant on TBK1/IRF3, which necessitated the use of higher doses in mice to match the immunogenicity of wild-type viral vectors. VLPs and NYVAC-KC vectors were tested in mice, ultimately showing that the best antibody and Gag-specific T cell responses were generated when both components were administered simultaneously. Thus, plant-produced VLPs and poxvirus vectors represent a highly immunogenic HIV-1 vaccine candidate that warrants further study.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016