Preclinical evaluation of an mRNA HIV vaccine combining rationally selected antigenic sequences and adjuvant signals (HTI-TriMix)
Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel
Background: The development of a prophylactic vaccine against HIV-1 has so far not been successful. Therefore, attention has shifted more and more toward the development of novel therapeutic vaccines. Here, we evaluated a new mRNA-based therapeutic vaccine against HIV-1-encoding activation signals (TriMix: CD40L+CD70+caTLR4) combined with rationally selected antigenic sequences [HIVACAT T-cell immunogen (HTI)] sequence: comprises 16 joined fragments from Gag, Pol, Vif, and Nef). Methods: For this purpose, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV-1-infected individuals on cART, lymph node explants from noninfected humans, and splenocytes from immunized mice were collected and several immune functions were measured. Results: Electroporation of immature monocyte-derived dendritic cells from HIVinfected patients with mRNA encoding HTI+TriMix potently activated dendritic cells which resulted in upregulation of maturation markers and cytokine production and T-cell stimulation, as evidenced by enhanced proliferation and cytokine secretion (IFN-g). Responses were HIV specific and were predominantly targeted against the sequences included in HTI. These findings were confirmed in human lymph node explants exposed to HTI+TriMix mRNA. Intranodal immunizations with HTI mRNA in a mouse model increased antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses. The addition of TriMix further enhanced cytotoxic responses. Conclusion: Our results suggest that uptake of mRNA, encoding strong activation signals and a potent HIV antigen, confers a T-cell stimulatory capacity to dendritic cells and enhances their ability to stimulate antigen-specific immunity. These findings may pave the way for therapeutic HIV vaccine strategies based on antigen-encoding RNA to specifically target antigen-presenting cells.