Suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins are intracellular proteins that inhibit cytokine signaling in a variety of cell types. A number of viral infections have been associated with SOCS up-regulation; however, not much is known about the mechanisms regulating SOCS expression during viral infection. In this study, we have used two pathologically distinct intracerebral (i.c.) infection models to characterize temporal and spatial aspects of SOCS expression in the virus-infected CNS, and by employing various knockout mouse models, we have sought to identify regulatory mechanisms that may underlie a virus induced up-regulation of SOCS in the CNS. We found that i.c. infection with either lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or yellow fever virus (YF) results in gradual up-regulation of SOCS1/3 mRNA expression peaking at day 7 post infection (p.i.). In the LCMV model, SOCS mRNA was expressed in brain resident cells including astrocytes and some neurons, and for SOCS1 in particular this up-regulation was almost entirely mediated by IFN-? produced by infiltrating T cells. Following infection with YF, we also found SOCS expression to be up-regulated in brain resident cells with a peak on day 7 p.i., but in this model, the up-regulation was only partially dependent on IFN-? and T cells, indicating that at least one other mediator was involved in the up-regulation of SOCS following YF infection. We conclude that virus induced inflammation of the CNS is associated with up-regulation of SOCS1/3 mRNA expression in brain resident cells, and that at least two distinctive pathways can lead to this up-regulation.
We have previously shown that for the majority of antigens, adenoviral vaccines expressing the target antigen fused to the MHC associated invariant chain (Ii) induce an accelerated, augmented, and prolonged transgene-specific CD8(+) T-cell response. Here we describe a new adenoviral vaccine vector approach where the target antigen fused to Ii is expressed from the adenoviral E1 region and IL-2 is expressed from the E3 region. Immunization of mice with this new vector construct resulted in an augmented primary effector CD8(+) T-cell response. Furthermore, in a melanoma model we observed significantly prolonged tumor control in vaccinated wild type (WT) mice. The improved tumor control required antigen-specific cells, since no tumor control was observed, unless the melanoma cells expressed the vaccine targeted antigen. We also tested our new vaccine in immunodeficient (CD80/86 deficient) mice. Following vaccination with the IL-2 expressing construct, these mice were able to raise a delayed but substantial CD8(+) T-cell response, and to control melanoma growth nearly as efficaciously as similarly vaccinated WT mice. Taken together, these results demonstrate that current vaccine vectors can be improved and even tailored to meet specific demands: in the context of therapeutic vaccination, the capacity to promote an augmented effector T-cell response.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.130.
The use of replication-deficient adenoviruses as vehicles for transfer of foreign genes offers many advantages in a vaccine setting, eliciting strong cellular immune responses involving both CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. Further improving the immunogenicity, tethering of the inserted target Ag to MHC class II-associated invariant chain (Ii) greatly enhances both the presentation of most target Ags, as well as overall protection against viral infection, such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). The present study extends this vaccination concept to include protection against intracellular bacteria, using Listeria monocytogenes as a model organism. Protection in C57BL/6 mice against recombinant L. monocytogenes expressing an immunodominant epitope of the LCMV glycoprotein (GP33) was greatly accelerated, augmented, and prolonged following vaccination with an adenoviral vaccine encoding GP linked to Ii compared with vaccination with the unlinked vaccine. Studies using knockout mice demonstrated that CD8(+) T cells were largely responsible for this protection, which is mediated through perforin-dependent lysis of infected cells and IFN-? production. Taking the concept a step further, vaccination of C57BL/6 (L. monocytogenes-resistant) and BALB/c (L. monocytogenes-susceptible) mice with adenoviral vectors encoding natural L. monocytogenes-derived soluble Ags (listeriolysin O and p60) revealed that tethering of these Ags to Ii markedly improved the vaccine-induced CD8(+) T cell response to two of three epitopes studied. More importantly, Ii linkage accelerated and augmented vaccine-induced protection in both mouse strains and prolonged protection, in particular that induced by the weak Ag, p60, in L. monocytogenes-susceptible BALB/c mice.
It has been reported that adenovirus (Ad)-primed CD8 T cells may display a distinct and partially exhausted phenotype. Given the practical implications of this claim, we decided to analyze in detail the quality of Ad-primed CD8 T cells by directly comparing these cells to CD8 T cells induced through infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). We found that localized immunization with intermediate doses of Ad vector induces a moderate number of functional CD8 T cells which qualitatively match those found in LCMV-infected mice. The numbers of these cells may be efficiently increased by additional adenoviral boosting, and, importantly, the generated secondary memory cells cannot be qualitatively differentiated from those induced by primary infection with replicating virus. Quantitatively, DNA priming prior to Ad vaccination led to even higher numbers of memory cells. In this case, the vaccination led to the generation of a population of memory cells characterized by relatively low CD27 expression and high CD127 and killer cell lectin-like receptor subfamily G member 1 (KLRG1) expression. These memory CD8 T cells were capable of proliferating in response to viral challenge and protecting against infection with live virus. Furthermore, viral challenge was followed by sustained expansion of the memory CD8 T-cell population, and the generated memory cells did not appear to have been driven toward exhaustive differentiation. Based on these findings, we suggest that adenovirus-based prime-boost regimens (including Ad serotype 5 [Ad5] and Ad5-like vectors) represent an effective means to induce a substantially expanded, long-lived population of high-quality transgene-specific memory CD8 T cells.
Few experimental models are available for the study of natural resistance to cancer. One of them is the SR/CR (spontaneous regression/complete resistance) mouse model in which natural resistance to a variety of cancer types appeared to be inherited in SR/CR strains of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. The genetic, cellular, and molecular effector mechanisms in this model are largely unknown, but cells from the innate immune system may play a significant role. In contrast to previous observations, the cancer resistance was limited to S180 sarcoma cancer cells. We were unable to confirm previous observations of resistance to EL-4 lymphoma cells and J774A.1 monocyte-macrophage cancer cells. The cancer resistance against S180 sarcoma cells could be transferred to susceptible non-resistant BALB/c mice as well as C57BL/6 mice after depletion of both CD4+/CD8+ leukocytes and B-cells from SR/CR mice. In the responding recipient mice, the cancer disappeared gradually following infiltration of a large number of polymorphonuclear granulocytes and remarkably few lymphocytes in the remaining tumor tissues. This study confirmed that the in vivo growth and spread of cancer cells depend on a complex interplay between the cancer cells and the host organism. Here, hereditary components of the immune system, most likely the innate part, played a crucial role in this interplay and lead to resistance to a single experimental cancer type. The fact that leukocytes depleted of both CD4+/CD8+ and B cells from the cancer resistant donor mice could be transferred to inhibit S180 cancer cell growth in susceptible recipient mice support the vision of an efficient and adverse event free immunotherapy in future selected cancer types.
The roles of the c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) in inflammatory arthritis have been investigated; however, the roles of each isotype (ie, JNK1 and JNK2) in rheumatoid arthritis and conclusions about whether inhibition of one or both is necessary for amelioration of disease are unclear. By using JNK1- or JNK2-deficient mice in the collagen-induced arthritis and the KRN T-cell receptor transgenic mouse on C57BL/6 nonobese diabetic (K/BxN) serum transfer arthritis models, we demonstrate that JNK1 deficiency results in protection from arthritis, as judged by clinical score and histological evaluation in both models of inflammatory arthritis. In contrast, abrogation of JNK2 exacerbates disease. In collagen-induced arthritis, the distinct roles of the JNK isotypes can, at least in part, be explained by altered regulation of CD86 expression in JNK1- or JNK2-deficient macrophages in response to microbial products, thereby affecting T-cell-mediated immunity. The protection from K/BxN serum-induced arthritis in Jnk1(-/-) mice can also be explained by inept macrophage function because adoptive transfer of wild-type macrophages to Jnk1(-/-) mice restored disease susceptibility. Thus, our results provide a possible explanation for the modest therapeutic effects of broad JNK inhibitors and suggest that future therapies should selectively target the JNK1 isoform.
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has recently gained attention for its oncolytic ability in cancer treatment. Initially, we hypothesized that VSV infection could increase immune recognition of cancer cells through induction of the immune stimulatory NKG2D-ligands. Here we show that VSV infection leads to a robust induction of MICA mRNA expression, however the subsequent surface expression is potently hindered. Thus, VSV lines up with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and adenovirus, which actively subvert the immune system by negatively affecting NKG2D-ligand surface expression. VSV infection caused an active suppression of NKG2D-ligand surface expression, affecting both endogenous and histone deacetylase (HDAC)-inhibitor induced MICA, MICB and ULBP-2 expression. The classical immune escape mechanism of VSV (i.e., the M protein blockade of nucleocytoplasmic mRNA transport) was not involved, as the VSV mutant strain, VSV(?M51), which possess a defective M protein, prevented MICA surface expression similarly to wild-type VSV. The VSV mediated down modulation of NKG2D-ligand expression did not involve apoptosis. Constitutive expression of MICA bypassed the escape mechanism, suggesting that VSV affect NKG2D-ligand expression at an early post-transcriptional level. Our results show that VSV possess an escape mechanism, which could affect the immune recognition of VSV infected cancer cells. This may also have implications for immune recognition of cancer cells after combined treatment with VSV and chemotherapeutic drugs.
The impact of prophylactic vaccination against acute and chronic infection in a Th-deficient host has not been adequately addressed because of difficulties in generating protective immunity in the absence of CD4(+) T cell help. In this study, we demonstrated that a broad CD8(+) T cell immune response could be elicited in MHC class II-deficient mice by vaccination with adenovirus encoding lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein tethered to MHC class II-associated invariant chain. Moreover, the response induced conferred significant cytolytic CD8(+) T cell-mediated protection against challenge with a high dose of the invasive clone 13 strain of LCMV. In contrast, vaccination with adenovirus encoding unlinked LCMV glycoprotein induced weak virus control in the absence of CD4(+) T cells, and mice may die of increased immunopathology associated with incomplete protection. Acute mortality was not observed in any vaccinated mice following infection with the less-invasive Traub strain. However, LCMV Traub infection caused accelerated late mortality in unvaccinated MHC class II-deficient mice; in this case, we observed a strong trend toward delayed mortality in vaccinated mice, irrespective of the nature of the vaccine. These results indicated that optimized vaccination may lead to efficient protection against acute viral infection, even in Th-deficient individuals, but that the duration of such immunity is limited. Nevertheless, for select immunodeficiencies in which CD4(+) T cell deficiency is incomplete or transient, these results are very encouraging.
Potent and broad cellular immune responses against the nonstructural (NS) proteins of hepatitis C virus (HCV) are associated with spontaneous viral clearance. In this study, we have improved the immunogenicity of an adenovirus (Ad)-based HCV vaccine by fusing NS3 from HCV (Strain J4; Genotype 1b) to the MHC class II chaperone protein invariant chain (Ii). We found that, after a single vaccination of C57BL/6 or BALB/c mice with Ad-IiNS3, the HCV NS3-specific CD8(+) T cell responses were significantly enhanced, accelerated, and prolonged compared with the vaccine encoding NS3 alone. The AdIiNS3 vaccination induced polyfunctional CD8(+) T cells characterized by coproduction of IFN-?, TNF-? and IL-2, and this cell phenotype is associated with good viral control. The memory CD8(+) T cells also expressed high levels of CD27 and CD127, which are markers of long-term survival and maintenance of T cell memory. Functionally, the AdIiNS3-vaccinated mice had a significantly increased cytotoxic capacity compared with the AdNS3 group. The AdIiNS3-induced CD8(+) T cells protected mice from infection with recombinant vaccinia virus expressing HCV NS3 of heterologous 1b strains, and studies in knockout mice demonstrated that this protection was mediated primarily through IFN-? production. On the basis of these promising results, we suggest that this vaccination technology should be evaluated further in the chimpanzee HCV challenge model.
Adenoviral vectors have been widely used for experimental gene therapy and vaccination, yet there is a surprising lack of knowledge connecting the route and dose of adenovirus administration to the induced transgene-specific immune response. We have recently demonstrated polyfunctional CD8(+) T cells and protective memory responses using adenoviral vectors, which seem to contrast with recent reports suggesting that an exhausted CD8(+) T cell phenotype is induced by inoculation with adenoviral vectors. Accordingly, we investigated the route and dose interrelationship for transgene-specific CD8(+) T cells using adenoviral vectors encoding beta-galactosidase applied either s.c. or i.v. Irrespective of the route of inoculation, most of the adenoviral inoculum was found to disseminate systemically as the dose was raised beyond 10(9) particles. The number of transgene-specific CD8(+) T cells correlated positively with dissemination, whereas the functional capacity of the generated T cells correlated inversely with vector dissemination. A comparison of the immune response to s.c. or i.v. administration at moderate doses revealed that inoculation by both routes induced a transient peak of IFN-gamma-producing CD8(+) T cells 2 to 3 wk postinfection, but following i.v. administration, these cells were only detected in the liver. Two to four months after systemic, but not peripheral, immunization, dysfunctional transgene-specific CD8(+) T cells impaired in both cytokine production and important in vivo effector functions, accumulated in the spleen. These findings indicate that the localization of the adenoviral inoculum and not the total Ag load determines the quality of the CD8(+) T cell response induced with adenoviral vaccines.
DNA vaccines are versatile and safe, but limited immunogenicity has prevented their use in the clinical setting. Experimentally, immunogenicity may be enhanced by the use of new delivery technologies, by coadministration of cytokines and pathogen-associated molecular patterns, or by fusion of antigens into molecular domains that enhance antigen presentation. More specifically, the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines may benefit from increased protein synthesis, increased T-cell help and MHC class I presentation, and the addition of a range of specific cytokines and pathogen-associated molecular patterns that increase activation of the innate immune system. Importantly, viral-vectored vaccines that act through the induction of one or more of these factors also may benefit from cytokine coadministration and increased antigen presentation. In order to increase immunogenicity to the level achieved with viral-vectored vaccines, various synergistic components may need to be incorporated into DNA vaccines. From the perspective of the future clinical use of DNA vaccines, it has been suggested that antigen presentation should be improved and cytokine coadministration attempted. However, even with these modifications, it is likely that the primary use of DNA vaccines may be as primers for viral-vectored vaccines, rather than as single agents. This review discusses the approaches used to enhance DNA vaccine immunogenicity, with a primary focus on fusion strategies that enhance antigen presentation.
The ectodomain of the matrix 2 protein (M2e) of influenza A virus represents an attractive target for developing a universal influenza A vaccine, with its sequence being highly conserved amongst human variants of this virus. With the aim of targeting conformational epitopes presumably shared by diverse influenza A viruses, a vaccine (M2e-NSP4) was constructed linking M2e (in its consensus sequence) to the rotavirus fragment NSP4(98-135); due to its coiled-coil region this fragment is known to form tetramers in aqueous solution and in this manner we hoped to mimick the natural configuration of M2e as presented in membranes. M2e-NSP4 was then evaluated side-by-side with synthetic M2e peptide for its immunogenicity and protective efficacy in a murine influenza challenge model. Here we demonstrate that M2e fused to the tetramerizing protein induces an accelerated, augmented and more broadly reactive antibody response than does M2e peptide as measured in two different assays. Most importantly, vaccination with M2e-NSP4 caused a significant decrease in lung virus load early after challenge with influenza A virus and maintained its efficacy against a lethal challenge even at very low vaccine doses. Based on the results presented in this study M2e-NSP4 merits further investigation as a candidate for or as a component of a universal influenza A vaccine.
Adenoviral vectors have shown a great potential for vaccine development due to their inherent ability to induce potent and protective CD8 T-cell responses. However, a critical issue regarding the use of these vectors is the existence of inhibitory immunity against the most commonly used Ad5 vector in a large part of the human population. We have recently developed an improved adenoviral vaccine vector system in which the vector expresses the transgene tethered to the MHC class II associated invariant chain (Ii). To further evaluate the potential of this system, the concept of pre-existing inhibitory immunity to adenoviral vectors was revisited to investigate whether the inhibition previously seen with the Ad5 vector also applied to the optimized vector system. We found this to be the case, and antibodies dominated as the mechanism underlying inhibitory vector immunity. However, presence of CD8 T cells directed against epitopes in the adenoviral vector seemed to correlate with repression of the induced response in re-vaccinated B-cell deficient mice. More importantly, despite a repressed primary effector CD8 T-cell response in Ad5-immune animals subjected to vaccination, memory T cells were generated that provided the foundation for an efficient recall response and protection upon subsequent viral challenge. Furthermore, the transgene specific response could be efficiently boosted by homologous re-immunization. Taken together, these studies indicate that adenoviral vectors can be used to induce efficient CD8 T-cell memory even in individuals with pre-existing vector immunity.
Interferon (IFN) regulatory factors (IRFs) are a family of transcription factors involved in regulating type I IFN genes and other genes participating in the early antiviral host response. To better understand the mechanisms involved in virus-induced central nervous system (CNS) inflammation, we studied the influence of IRF1, -3, -7, and -9 on the transcriptional activity of key genes encoding antiviral host factors in the CNS of mice infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). A key finding is that neither IRF3 nor IRF7 is absolutely required for induction of a type I IFN response in the LCMV-infected CNS, whereas concurrent elimination of both factors markedly reduces the virus-induced host response. This is unlike the situation in the periphery, where deficiency of IRF7 almost eliminates the LCMV-induced production of the type I IFNs. This difference is seemingly related to the local environment, as peripheral production of type I IFNs is severely reduced in intracerebrally (i.c.) infected IRF7-deficient mice, which undergo a combined infection of the CNS and peripheral organs, such as spleen and lymph nodes. Interestingly, despite the redundancy of IRF7 in initiating the type I IFN response in the CNS, the response is not abolished in IFN-?-deficient mice, as might have been expected. Collectively, these data demonstrate that the early type I IFN response to LCMV infection in the CNS is controlled by a concerted action of IRF3 and -7. Consequently this work provides strong evidence for differential regulation of the type I IFN response in the CNS versus the periphery during viral infection.
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