Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Human Asymptomatic Epitope Peptide/CXCL10-Based Prime/Pull Vaccine Induces Herpes Simplex Virus-Specific Gamma Interferon-Positive CD107+ CD8+ T Cells That Infiltrate the Corneas and Trigeminal Ganglia of Humanized HLA Transgenic Rabbits and Protect against Ocular Herpes Challenge.

  • Author(s): Khan, Arif A
  • Srivastava, Ruchi
  • Vahed, Hawa
  • Roy, Soumyabrata
  • Walia, Sager S
  • Kim, Grace J
  • Fouladi, Mona A
  • Yamada, Taikun
  • Ly, Vincent T
  • Lam, Cynthia
  • Lou, Anthony
  • Nguyen, Vivianna
  • Boldbaatar, Undariya
  • Geertsema, Roger
  • Fraser, Nigel W
  • BenMohamed, Lbachir
  • et al.
Abstract

Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a prevalent human pathogen that infects the cornea, causing potentially blinding herpetic disease. A clinical herpes vaccine is still lacking. In the present study, a novel prime/pull vaccine was tested in a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) transgenic rabbit model of ocular herpes (HLA Tg rabbits). Three peptide epitopes were selected, from the HSV-1 membrane glycoprotein C (UL44400-408), the DNA replication binding helicase (UL9196-204), and the tegument protein (UL25572-580), all preferentially recognized by CD8+ T cells from "naturally protected" HSV-1-seropositive healthy asymptomatic (ASYMP) individuals (who never had recurrent corneal herpetic disease). HLA Tg rabbits were immunized with a mixture of these three ASYMP CD8+ T cell peptide epitopes (UL44400-408, UL9196-204, and UL25572-580), which were delivered subcutaneously with CpG2007 adjuvant (prime). Fifteen days later, half of the rabbits received a topical ocular treatment with a recombinant neurotropic adeno-associated virus type 8 (AAV8) vector expressing the T cell-attracting CXCL10 chemokine (pull). The frequency and function of HSV-specific CD8+ T cells induced by the prime/pull vaccine were assessed in the peripheral blood, cornea, and trigeminal ganglion (TG). Compared to the cells generated in response to peptide immunization alone, the peptide/CXCL10 prime/pull vaccine generated frequent polyfunctional gamma interferon-positive (IFN-γ+) CD107+ CD8+ T cells that infiltrated both the cornea and TG. CD8+ T cell mobilization into the cornea and TG of prime/pull-vaccinated rabbits was associated with a significant reduction in corneal herpesvirus infection and disease following an ocular HSV-1 (strain McKrae) challenge. These findings draw attention to the novel prime/pull vaccine strategy for mobilizing antiviral CD8+ T cells into tissues to protect against herpesvirus infection and disease.IMPORTANCE There is an urgent need for a vaccine against widespread herpes simplex virus infections. The present study demonstrates that immunization of HLA transgenic rabbits with a peptide/CXCL10 prime/pull vaccine triggered mobilization of HSV-specific CD8+ T cells locally into the cornea and TG, the sites of acute and latent herpesvirus infections, respectively. Mobilization of antiviral CD8+ T cells into the cornea and TG of rabbits that received the prime/pull vaccine was associated with protection against ocular herpesvirus infection and disease following an ocular HSV-1 challenge. These results highlight the importance of the prime/pull vaccine strategy to bolster the number and function of protective CD8+ T cells within infected tissues.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View