Dendritic cells exposed to MVA-based HIV-1 vaccine induce highly functional HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T cell responses in HIV-1-infected individuals.
Currently, MVA virus vectors carrying HIV-1 genes are being developed as HIV-1/AIDS prophylactic/therapeutic vaccines. Nevertheless, little is known about the impact of these vectors on human dendritic cells (DC) and their capacity to present HIV-1 antigens to human HIV-specific T cells. This study aimed to characterize the interaction of MVA and MVA expressing the HIV-1 genes Env-Gag-Pol-Nef of clade B (referred to as MVA-B) in human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDC) and the subsequent processes of HIV-1 antigen presentation and activation of memory HIV-1-specific T lymphocytes. For these purposes, we performed ex vivo assays with MDDC and autologous lymphocytes from asymptomatic HIV-infected patients. Infection of MDDC with MVA-B or MVA, at the optimal dose of 0.3 PFU/MDDC, induced by itself a moderate degree of maturation of MDDC, involving secretion of cytokines and chemokines (IL1-ra, IL-7, TNF-?, IL-6, IL-12, IL-15, IL-8, MCP-1, MIP-1?, MIP-1?, RANTES, IP-10, MIG, and IFN-?). MDDC infected with MVA or MVA-B and following a period of 48 h or 72 h of maturation were able to migrate toward CCL19 or CCL21 chemokine gradients. MVA-B infection induced apoptosis of the infected cells and the resulting apoptotic bodies were engulfed by the uninfected MDDC, which cross-presented HIV-1 antigens to autologous CD8(+) T lymphocytes. MVA-B-infected MDDC co-cultured with autologous T lymphocytes induced a highly functional HIV-specific CD8(+) T cell response including proliferation, secretion of IFN-?, IL-2, TNF-?, MIP-1?, MIP-1?, RANTES and IL-6, and strong cytotoxic activity against autologous HIV-1-infected CD4(+) T lymphocytes. These results evidence the adjuvant role of the vector itself (MVA) and support the clinical development of prophylactic and therapeutic anti-HIV vaccines based on MVA-B.