Codon optimization and improved delivery/immunization regimen enhance the immune response against wild-Type and drug-resistant HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, preserving its Th2-polarity

A. A. Latanova, S. Petkov, A. Kilpelainen, J. Jansons, O. E. Latyshev, Y. V. Kuzmenko, J. Hinkula, M. A. Abakumov, V. T. Valuev-Elliston, M. Gomelsky, V. L. Karpov, F. Chiodi, B. Wahren, D. Y. Logunov, E. S. Starodubova, M. G. Isaguliants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

DNA vaccines require a considerable enhancement of immunogenicity. Here, we optimized a prototype DNA vaccine against drug-resistant HIV-1 based on a weak Th2-immunogen, HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT). We designed expression-optimized genes encoding inactivated wild-Type and drug-resistant RTs (RT-DNAs) and introduced them into mice by intradermal injections followed by electroporation. RT-DNAs were administered as single or double primes with or without cyclic-di-GMP, or as a prime followed by boost with RT-DNA mixed with a luciferase-encoding plasmid ("surrogate challenge"). Repeated primes improved cellular responses and broadened epitope specificity. Addition of cyclic-di-GMP induced a transient increase in IFN-γ production. The strongest anti-RT immune response was achieved in a prime-boost protocol with electroporation by short 100V pulses done using penetrating electrodes. The RT-specific response, dominated by CD4+ T-cells, targeted epitopes at aa 199-220 and aa 528-543. Drug-resistance mutations disrupted the epitope at aa 205-220, while the CTL epitope at aa 202-210 was not affected. Overall, multiparametric optimization of RT strengthened its Th2-performance. A rapid loss of RT/luciferase-expressing cells in the surrogate challenge experiment revealed a lytic potential of anti-RT response. Such lytic CD4+ response would be beneficial for an HIV vaccine due to its comparative insensitivity to immune escape.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8078
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Field of Science

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database

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