Abstract: A major advantage of virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines against HIV is their structural identity to wild-type viruses, ensuring that antigen-specific B-cells encounter the envelope protein in its natural conformation. For the induction of affinity-matured antibodies, the B-cells must also obtain help from T-cells that are restricted by linear epitopes. Using B- and T-cell transgenic mouse models, we compared the efficacy of modified HIV-VLPs delivered by subcutaneous and intravenous immunization to stimulate primary B- and T-cell proliferative responses in different lymphoid organs. VLPs containing an influenza virus hemagglutinin epitope within the HIV-Gag protein induced comparable primary cognate T-cell proliferative responses in the draining lymph node and the spleen, irrespective of the delivery route. In contrast, after subcutaneous immunization with HIV-Gag VLPs containing hen egg lysozyme (HEL) on their surface, the proliferative response of transgenic HEL-specific B-cells was restricted to the draining lymph nodes, while intravenous VLP immunization primarily induced a B-cell proliferative response in the spleen. In vitro co-culture experiments further revealed that the presentation of VLP-associated surface antigens by dendritic cells to cognate B-cells is inefficient. This is consistent with a direct triggering of the B-cell proliferative response by the VLPs and suggests that HIV VLPs may indeed be suitable to directly promote the expansion of B-cells specific for conformational epitopes that are unique to functionally-active Env spikes on the virion. Further investigations are warranted to explore potential differences in the quality and protective potency of HIV-specific antibody responses induced by the two routes.
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Temchura, V.; Kalinin, S.; Nabi, G.; Tippler, B.; Niezold, T.; Überla, K. Divergence of Primary Cognate B- and T-Cell Proliferative Responses to Subcutaneous and Intravenous Immunization with Virus-Like Particles. Viruses 2014, 6, 3334-3347.
Temchura V, Kalinin S, Nabi G, Tippler B, Niezold T, Überla K. Divergence of Primary Cognate B- and T-Cell Proliferative Responses to Subcutaneous and Intravenous Immunization with Virus-Like Particles. Viruses. 2014; 6(8):3334-3347.
Temchura, Vladimir; Kalinin, Svetlana; Nabi, Ghulam; Tippler, Bettina; Niezold, Thomas; Überla, Klaus. 2014. "Divergence of Primary Cognate B- and T-Cell Proliferative Responses to Subcutaneous and Intravenous Immunization with Virus-Like Particles." Viruses 6, no. 8: 3334-3347.