Antigenic competition in CD4+ T cell responses in a randomized, multicenter, double-blind clinical HIV vaccine trial

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Copyright © 2019 The Authors, T cell responses have been implicated in reduced risk of HIV acquisition in uninfected persons and control of viral replication in HIV-infected individuals. HIV Gag-specific T cells have been predominantly associated with post-infection control, whereas Env antigens are the target for protective antibodies; therefore, inclusion of both antigens is common in HIV vaccine design. However, inclusion of multiple antigens may provoke antigenic competition, reducing the potential effectiveness of the vaccine. HVTN 084 was a randomized, multicenter, double-blind phase 1 trial to investigate whether adding Env to a Gag/Pol vaccine decreases the magnitude or breadth of Gag/ Pol-specific T cell responses. Fifty volunteers each received one intramuscular injection of 1 × 1010 particle units (PU) of rAd5 Gag/Pol and EnvA/B/C (3:1:1:1 mixture) or 5 × 109 PU of rAd5 Gag/Pol. CD4+ T cell responses to Gag/ Pol measured 4 weeks after vaccination by cytokine expression were significantly higher in the group vaccinated without Env, whereas CD8+ T cell responses did not differ significantly between the two groups. Mapping of individual epitopes revealed greater breadth of the Gag/Pol-specific T cell response in the absence of Env compared to Env coimmunization. Addition of an Env component to a Gag/Pol vaccine led to reduced Gag/Pol CD4+ T cell response rate and magnitude as well as reduced epitope breadth, confirming the presence of antigenic competition. Therefore, T cell–based vaccine strategies should aim at choosing a minimalist set of antigens to reduce interference of individual vaccine components with the induction of the maximally achievable immune response.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kallas EG; Grunenberg NA; Yu C; Manso B; Pantaleo G; Casapia M; Baden LR; Valencia J; Sobieszczyk M; van Tieu H
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 519