Open AccessArticle
Ag85A DNA Vaccine Delivery by Nanoparticles: Influence of the Formulation Characteristics on Immune Responses
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 32; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030032 -
Abstract
The influence of DNA vaccine formulations on immune responses in combination with adjuvants was investigated with the aim to increase cell-mediated immunity against plasmid DNA (pDNA) encoding Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85A. Different ratios of pDNA with cationic trimethyl chitosan (TMC) nanoparticles were [...] Read more.
The influence of DNA vaccine formulations on immune responses in combination with adjuvants was investigated with the aim to increase cell-mediated immunity against plasmid DNA (pDNA) encoding Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85A. Different ratios of pDNA with cationic trimethyl chitosan (TMC) nanoparticles were characterized for their morphology and physicochemical characteristics (size, zeta potential, loading efficiency and pDNA release profile) applied in vitro for cellular uptake studies and in vivo, to determine the dose-dependent effects of pDNA on immune responses. A selected pDNA/TMC nanoparticle formulation was optimized by the incorporation of muramyl dipeptide (MDP) as an immunostimulatory agent. Cellular uptake investigations in vitro showed saturation to a maximum level upon the increase in the pDNA/TMC nanoparticle ratio, correlating with increasing Th1-related antibody responses up to a definite pDNA dose applied. Moreover, TMC nanoparticles induced clear polarization towards a Th1 response, indicated by IgG2c/IgG1 ratios above unity and enhanced numbers of antigen-specific IFN-γ producing T-cells in the spleen. Remarkably, the incorporation of MDP in TMC nanoparticles provoked a significant additional increase in T-cell-mediated responses induced by pDNA. In conclusion, pDNA-loaded TMC nanoparticles are capable of provoking strong Th1-type cellular and humoral immune responses, with the potential to be further optimized by the incorporation of MDP. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Neutrophils and Granulocytic MDSC: The Janus God of Cancer Immunotherapy
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 31; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030031 -
Abstract
Neutrophils are the most abundant circulating blood cell type in humans, and are the first white blood cells recruited at the inflammation site where they orchestrate the initial immune response. Although their presence at the tumor site was recognized in the 1970s, [...] Read more.
Neutrophils are the most abundant circulating blood cell type in humans, and are the first white blood cells recruited at the inflammation site where they orchestrate the initial immune response. Although their presence at the tumor site was recognized in the 1970s, until recently these cells have been neglected and considered to play just a neutral role in tumor progression. Indeed, in recent years neutrophils have been recognized to play a dual role in tumor development by either assisting the growth, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis or by exerting tumoricidal action directly via the secretion of antitumoral compounds, or indirectly via the orchestration of antitumor immunity. Understanding the biology of these cells and influencing their polarization in the tumor micro- and macro-environment may be the key for the development of new therapeutic strategies, which may finally hold the promise of an effective immunotherapy for cancer. Full article
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Open AccessReview
T-Regulatory Cells and Vaccination “Pay Attention and Do Not Neglect Them”: Lessons from HIV and Cancer Vaccine Trials
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 30; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030030 -
Abstract
Efficient vaccines are characterized by the establishment of long-lived memory T cells, including T-helper (effectors and follicular) and T-regulatory cells (Tregs). While the former induces cytotoxic or antibody responses, the latter regulates immune responses by maintaining homeostasis. The role of Tregs in [...] Read more.
Efficient vaccines are characterized by the establishment of long-lived memory T cells, including T-helper (effectors and follicular) and T-regulatory cells (Tregs). While the former induces cytotoxic or antibody responses, the latter regulates immune responses by maintaining homeostasis. The role of Tregs in inflammatory conditions is ambiguous and their systematic monitoring in vaccination along with effector T-cells is not instinctive. Recent studies from the cancer field clearly showed that Tregs suppress vaccine-induced immune responses and correlate with poor clinical benefit. In HIV infection, Tregs are needed during acute infection to preserve tissue integrity from an overwhelmed activation, but are not beneficial in chronic infection as they suppress anti-HIV responses. Current assays used to evaluate vaccine-induced specific responses are limited as they do not take into account antigen-specific Tregs. However, new assays, such as the OX40 assay, which allow for the simultaneous detection of a full range of Th-responses including antigen-specific Tregs responses, can overcome these issues. In this review article we will revise the role of Tregs in vaccination and review the recent work performed in the field, including the available tools to monitor them, from novel assays to humanized mouse models. Full article
Open AccessReview
Monitoring of the Immune Dysfunction in Cancer Patients
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 29; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030029 -
Abstract
Immunotherapy shows promising clinical results in patients with different types of cancer, but its full potential is not reached due to immune dysfunction as a result of several suppressive mechanisms that play a role in cancer development and progression. Monitoring of immune [...] Read more.
Immunotherapy shows promising clinical results in patients with different types of cancer, but its full potential is not reached due to immune dysfunction as a result of several suppressive mechanisms that play a role in cancer development and progression. Monitoring of immune dysfunction is a prerequisite for the development of strategies aiming to alleviate cancer-induced immune suppression. At this point, the level at which immune dysfunction occurs has to be established, the underlying mechanism(s) need to be known, as well as the techniques to assess this. While it is relatively easy to measure general signs of immune suppression, it turns out that accurate monitoring of the frequency and function of immune-suppressive cells is still difficult. A lack of truly specific markers, the phenotypic complexity among suppressive cells of the same lineage, but potentially with different functions and functional assays that may not cover every mechanistic aspect of immune suppression are among the reasons complicating proper assessments. Technical innovations in flow and mass cytometry will allow for more complete sets of markers to precisely determine phenotype and associated function. There is, however, a clear need for functional assays that recapitulate more of the mechanisms employed to suppress the immune system. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Regulatory T Cells in the Tumor Microenvironment and Cancer Progression: Role and Therapeutic Targeting
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 28; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030028 -
Abstract
Recent years have seen significant efforts in understanding and modulating the immune response in cancer. In this context, immunosuppressive cells, including regulatory T cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), have come under intense investigation for their proposed roles in suppressing tumor-specific [...] Read more.
Recent years have seen significant efforts in understanding and modulating the immune response in cancer. In this context, immunosuppressive cells, including regulatory T cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), have come under intense investigation for their proposed roles in suppressing tumor-specific immune responses and establishing an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, thus enabling tumor immune evasion. Additionally, recent evidence indicates that Tregs comprise diverse and heterogeneous subsets; phenotypically and functionally distinct subsets of tumor-infiltrating Tregs could contribute differently to cancer prognosis and clinical outcomes. Understanding Treg biology in the setting of cancer, and specifically the tumor microenvironment, is important for designing effective cancer therapies. In this review, we critically examine the role of Tregs in the tumor microenvironment and in cancer progression focusing on human studies. We also discuss the impact of current therapeutic modalities on Treg biology and the therapeutic opportunities for targeting Tregs to enhance anti-tumor immune responses and clinical benefits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Highly-Immunogenic Virally-Vectored T-cell Vaccines Cannot Overcome Subversion of the T-cell Response by HCV during Chronic Infection
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 27; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030027 -
Abstract
An effective therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, as an adjunct to newly developed directly-acting antivirals (DAA), or for the prevention of reinfection, would significantly reduce the global burden of disease associated with chronic HCV infection. [...] Read more.
An effective therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, as an adjunct to newly developed directly-acting antivirals (DAA), or for the prevention of reinfection, would significantly reduce the global burden of disease associated with chronic HCV infection. A recombinant chimpanzee adenoviral (ChAd3) vector and a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), encoding the non-structural proteins of HCV (NSmut), used in a heterologous prime/boost regimen induced multi-specific, high-magnitude, durable HCV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in healthy volunteers, and was more immunogenic than a heterologous Ad regimen. We now assess the immunogenicity of this vaccine regimen in HCV infected patients (including patients with a low viral load suppressed with interferon/ribavirin therapy), determine T-cell cross-reactivity to endogenous virus, and compare immunogenicity with that observed previously in both healthy volunteers and in HCV infected patients vaccinated with the heterologous Ad regimen. Vaccination of HCV infected patients with ChAd3-NSmut/MVA-NSmut was well tolerated. Vaccine-induced HCV-specific T-cell responses were detected in 8/12 patients; however, CD4+ T-cell responses were rarely detected, and the overall magnitude of HCV-specific T-cell responses was markedly reduced when compared to vaccinated healthy volunteers. Furthermore, HCV-specific cells had a distinct partially-functional phenotype (lower expression of activation markers, granzyme B, and TNFα production, weaker in vitro proliferation, and higher Tim3 expression, with comparable Tbet and Eomes expression) compared to healthy volunteers. Robust anti-vector T-cells and antibodies were induced, showing that there is no global defect in immunity. The level of viremia at the time of vaccination did not correlate with the magnitude of the vaccine-induced T-cell response. Full-length, next-generation sequencing of the circulating virus demonstrated that T-cells were only induced by vaccination when there was a sequence mismatch between the autologous virus and the vaccine immunogen. However, these T-cells were not cross-reactive with the endogenous viral variant epitopes. Conversely, when there was complete homology between the immunogen and circulating virus at a given epitope T-cells were not induced. T-cell induction following vaccination had no significant impact on HCV viral load. In vitro T-cell culture experiments identified the presence of T-cells at baseline that could be expanded by vaccination; thus, HCV-specific T-cells may have been expanded from pre-existing low-level memory T-cell populations that had been exposed to HCV antigens during natural infection, explaining the partial T-cell dysfunction. In conclusion, vaccination with ChAd3-NSmut and MVA-NSmut prime/boost, a potent vaccine regimen previously optimized in healthy volunteers was unable to reconstitute HCV-specific T-cell immunity in HCV infected patients. This highlights the major challenge of overcoming T-cell exhaustion in the context of persistent antigen exposure. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Immunological Evaluation of Recent MUC1 Glycopeptide Cancer Vaccines
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 25; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030025 -
Abstract
Aberrantly glycosylated mucin 1 (MUC1) is a recognized tumor-specific antigen on epithelial cell tumors. A wide variety of MUC1 glycopeptide anti-cancer vaccines have been formulated by many research groups. Some researchers have used MUC1 alone as an immunogen whereas other groups used [...] Read more.
Aberrantly glycosylated mucin 1 (MUC1) is a recognized tumor-specific antigen on epithelial cell tumors. A wide variety of MUC1 glycopeptide anti-cancer vaccines have been formulated by many research groups. Some researchers have used MUC1 alone as an immunogen whereas other groups used different antigenic carrier proteins such as bovine serum albumin or keyhole limpet hemocyanin for conjugation with MUC1 glycopeptide. A variety of adjuvants have been used with MUC1 glycopeptides to improve their immunogenicity. Fully synthetic multicomponent vaccines have been synthesized by incorporating different T helper cell epitopes and Toll-like receptor agonists. Some vaccine formulations utilized liposomes or nanoparticles as vaccine delivery systems. In this review, we discuss the immunological evaluation of different conjugate or synthetic MUC1 glycopeptide vaccines in different tumor or mouse models that have been published since 2012. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Leptin-Induced JAK/STAT Signaling and Cancer Growth
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 26; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030026 -
Abstract
Growth factor and cytokine signaling can influence the development of several cancer types. One of the key players in the development of cancer is the Janus kinas (JAK) signal transducer of activators of transcription (STAT) signaling pathway. The majority of growth factors [...] Read more.
Growth factor and cytokine signaling can influence the development of several cancer types. One of the key players in the development of cancer is the Janus kinas (JAK) signal transducer of activators of transcription (STAT) signaling pathway. The majority of growth factors and cytokine interactions with their membrane-bound receptors trigger JAK-STAT activation. The influential relationship between obesity and cancer is a fact. However, there is a complex sequence of events contributing to the regulation of this mechanism to promote tumor growth, yet to be fully elucidated. The JAK-STAT pathway is influenced by obesity-associated changes that have been shown to impact cancer growth and progression. This intricate process is highly regulated by a vast array of adipokines and cytokines that exert their pleiotropic effects on cancer cells to enhance metastasis to distant target sites. Leptin is a cytokine, or more precise, an adipokine secreted mainly by adipose tissue that requires JAK-STAT activation to exert its biological functions. Leptin is the central regulator of energy balance and appetite. Leptin binding to its receptor OB-R in turn activates JAK-STAT, which induces proliferation, angiogenesis, and anti-apoptotic events in normal cells and malignant cells expressing the receptor. Leptin also induces crosstalk with Notch and IL-1 (NILCO), which involves other angiogenic factors promoting tumor growth. Therefore, the existence of multiple novel classes of therapeutics that target the JAK/STAT pathway has significant clinical implications. Then, the identification of the signaling networks and factors that regulate the obesity-cancer link to which potential pharmacologic interventions can be implemented to inhibit tumor growth and metastasis. In this review, we will discuss the specific relationship between leptin-JAK-STAT signaling and cancer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors that Influence the Immunological Adjuvant Effect of Lactobacillus fermentum PC1 on Specific Immune Responses in Mice to Orally Administered Antigens
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 24; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030024 -
Abstract
This study examined the influences of the dosage of the adjuvant, the nature of the antigen and the host genetics on the capacity of L. fermentum PC1 (PC1) to function as an oral adjuvant. BALB/c and DBA/1 mice were vaccinated with either [...] Read more.
This study examined the influences of the dosage of the adjuvant, the nature of the antigen and the host genetics on the capacity of L. fermentum PC1 (PC1) to function as an oral adjuvant. BALB/c and DBA/1 mice were vaccinated with either ovalbumin (OVA) or Salmonella Typhimurium on days 0 and 14, Mice were also dosed with the PC1 (108 CFU or 1011 CFU per dose per mouse) with the antigens (days 0 and 14) and alone (days −1 and 13). The higher PC1 dose elicited a greater specific serum IgG2a response than IgG1 for both antigens and mice strains, indicating a Th1-biased humoral immune response. The Th1 bias was also observed at the cellular level with greater specific IFN-γ levels than IL-4 and IL-10 with both antigen types and mouse strains. With the particulate antigen, the lower dose of PC1 elicited a Th1 bias at the cellular level, but a balanced Th1/Th2 response at the systemic humoral level. With the soluble antigen, a strong Th1-biased response occurred at the cellular level while the systemic humoral response was Th2-biased. In conclusion, PC1 at the higher dose was an excellent Th1 adjuvant, which was unaffected by the nature of the antigen or the host’s genetic background. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Viral Inhibition of the IFN-Induced JAK/STAT Signalling Pathway: Development of Live Attenuated Vaccines by Mutation of Viral-Encoded IFN-Antagonists
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 23; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030023 -
Abstract
The interferon (IFN) induced anti-viral response is amongst the earliest and most potent of the innate responses to fight viral infection. The induction of the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activation of transcription (JAK/STAT) signalling pathway by IFNs leads to the upregulation of [...] Read more.
The interferon (IFN) induced anti-viral response is amongst the earliest and most potent of the innate responses to fight viral infection. The induction of the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activation of transcription (JAK/STAT) signalling pathway by IFNs leads to the upregulation of hundreds of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) for which, many have the ability to rapidly kill viruses within infected cells. During the long course of evolution, viruses have evolved an extraordinary range of strategies to counteract the host immune responses in particular by targeting the JAK/STAT signalling pathway. Understanding how the IFN system is inhibited has provided critical insights into viral virulence and pathogenesis. Moreover, identification of factors encoded by viruses that modulate the JAK/STAT pathway has opened up opportunities to create new anti-viral drugs and rationally attenuated new generation vaccines, particularly for RNA viruses, by reverse genetics. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The IL-8/IL-8R Axis: A Double Agent in Tumor Immune Resistance
Vaccines 2016, 4(3), 22; doi:10.3390/vaccines4030022 -
Abstract
Interleukin-8 (IL-8, CXCL8) is a pro-inflammatory chemokine produced by various cell types to recruit leukocytes to sites of infection or tissue injury. Acquisition of IL-8 and/or its receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2 are known to be a relatively common occurrence during tumor progression. [...] Read more.
Interleukin-8 (IL-8, CXCL8) is a pro-inflammatory chemokine produced by various cell types to recruit leukocytes to sites of infection or tissue injury. Acquisition of IL-8 and/or its receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2 are known to be a relatively common occurrence during tumor progression. Emerging research now indicates that paracrine signaling by tumor-derived IL-8 promotes the trafficking of neutrophils and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) into the tumor microenvironment, which have the ability to dampen anti-tumor immune responses. Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that IL-8 produced by the tumor mass can induce tumor cells to undergo the transdifferentiation process epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in which tumor cells shed their epithelial characteristics and acquire mesenchymal characteristics. EMT can increase metastatic dissemination, stemness, and intrinsic resistance, including to killing by cytotoxic immune cells. This review highlights the dual potential roles that the inflammatory cytokine IL-8 plays in promoting tumor resistance by enhancing the immunosuppressive microenvironment and activating EMT, and then discusses the potential for targeting the IL-8/IL-8 receptor axis to combat these various resistance mechanisms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aeromonas hydrophila OmpW PLGA Nanoparticle Oral Vaccine Shows a Dose-Dependent Protective Immunity in Rohu (Labeo rohita)
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 21; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020021 -
Abstract
Aeromonas hydrophila is a Gram-negative bacterium that causes high mortality in different fish species and at different growth stages. Although vaccination has significantly contributed to the decline of disease outbreaks in aquaculture, the use of oral vaccines has lagged behind the injectable [...] Read more.
Aeromonas hydrophila is a Gram-negative bacterium that causes high mortality in different fish species and at different growth stages. Although vaccination has significantly contributed to the decline of disease outbreaks in aquaculture, the use of oral vaccines has lagged behind the injectable vaccines due to lack of proven efficacy, that being from primary immunization or by use of boost protocols. In this study, the outer membrane protein W (OmpW) of A. hydrophila was cloned, purified, and encapsulated in poly d,l-lactide-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) for oral vaccination of rohu (Labeo rohita Hamilton). The physical properties of PLGA NPs encapsulating the recombinant OmpW (rOmpW) was characterized as having a diameter of 370–375 nm, encapsulation efficiency of 53% and −19.3 mV zeta potential. In vitro release of rOmpW was estimated at 34% within 48 h of incubation in phosphate-buffered saline. To evaluate the efficacy of the NP-rOmpW oral vaccine, two antigen doses were orally administered in rohu with a high antigen (HiAg) dose that had twice the amount of antigens compared to the low antigen (LoAg) dose. Antibody levels obtained after vaccination showed an antigen dose dependency in which fish from the HiAg group had higher antibody levels than those from the LoAg group. The antibody levels corresponded with post challenge survival proportions (PCSPs) and relative percent survival (RPS) in which the HiAg group had a higher PCSP and RPS than the LoAg group. Likewise, the ability to inhibit A. hydrophila growth on trypticase soy agar (TSA) by sera obtained from the HiAg group was higher than that from the LoAg group. Overall, data presented here shows that OmpW orally administered using PLGA NPs is protective against A. hydrophila infection with the level of protective immunity induced by oral vaccination being antigen dose-dependent. Future studies should seek to optimize the antigen dose and duration of oral immunization in rohu in order to induce the highest protection in vaccinated fish. Full article
Open AccessReview
Mitochondrion: A Promising Target for Nanoparticle-Based Vaccine Delivery Systems
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 18; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020018 -
Abstract
Vaccination is one of the most popular technologies in disease prevention and eradication. It is promising to improve immunization efficiency by using vectors and/or adjuvant delivery systems. Nanoparticle (NP)-based delivery systems have attracted increasing interest due to enhancement of antigen uptake via[...] Read more.
Vaccination is one of the most popular technologies in disease prevention and eradication. It is promising to improve immunization efficiency by using vectors and/or adjuvant delivery systems. Nanoparticle (NP)-based delivery systems have attracted increasing interest due to enhancement of antigen uptake via prevention of vaccine degradation in the biological environment and the intrinsic immune-stimulatory properties of the materials. Mitochondria play paramount roles in cell life and death and are promising targets for vaccine delivery systems to effectively induce immune responses. In this review, we focus on NPs-based delivery systems with surfaces that can be manipulated by using mitochondria targeting moieties for intervention in health and disease. Full article
Open AccessReview
N. meningitidis and TLR Polymorphisms: A Fascinating Immunomodulatory Network
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 20; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020020 -
Abstract
N. meningitidis infections represent a global health problem that can lead to the development of serious permanent sequelae. Although the use of antibiotics and prevention via vaccination have reduced the incidence of meningococcal disease, our understanding regarding N. meningitidis pathogenesis is still [...] Read more.
N. meningitidis infections represent a global health problem that can lead to the development of serious permanent sequelae. Although the use of antibiotics and prevention via vaccination have reduced the incidence of meningococcal disease, our understanding regarding N. meningitidis pathogenesis is still limited, especially of those mechanisms responsible for IMD and fulminant or deadly septic shock. These severe clinical presentations occur in a limited number of subjects, whereas about 10% of healthy individuals are estimated to carry the bacteria as a commensal. Since TLR activation is involved in the defense against N. meningitidis, several studies have highlighted the association between host TLR SNPs and a higher susceptibility and severity of N. meningitidis infections. Moreover, TLR SNPs induced variations in immunological responses and in their persistence upon vaccination against meningococcal disease. In the absence of mass vaccination programs, the early identification of risk factors for meningococcal disease would be recommended in order to start immunization strategies and antibiotic treatment in those subjects carrying the risk variants. In addition, it could allow us to identify individuals with a higher risk for severe disease and sequelae in order to develop a personalized healthcare of high-risk subjects based on their genomic profile. In this review, we have illustrated important preliminary correlations between TLR variants and meningococcal susceptibility/severity and with vaccine-induced immune responses. Full article
Open AccessReview
Entirely Carbohydrate-Based Vaccines: An Emerging Field for Specific and Selective Immune Responses
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 19; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020019 -
Abstract
Carbohydrates are regarded as promising targets for vaccine development against infectious disease because cell surface glycans on many infectious agents are attributed to playing an important role in pathogenesis. In addition, oncogenic transformation of normal cells, in many cases, is associated with [...] Read more.
Carbohydrates are regarded as promising targets for vaccine development against infectious disease because cell surface glycans on many infectious agents are attributed to playing an important role in pathogenesis. In addition, oncogenic transformation of normal cells, in many cases, is associated with aberrant glycosylation of the cell surface glycan generating tumor associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs). Technological advances in glycobiology have added a new dimension to immunotherapy when considering carbohydrates as key targets in developing safe and effective vaccines to combat cancer, bacterial infections, viral infections, etc. Many consider effective vaccines induce T-cell dependent immunity with satisfactory levels of immunological memory that preclude recurrence. Unfortunately, carbohydrates alone are poorly immunogenic as they do not bind strongly to the MHCII complex and thus fail to elicit T-cell immunity. To increase immunogenicity, carbohydrates have been conjugated to carrier proteins, which sometimes can impede carbohydrate specific immunity as peptide-based immune responses can negate antibodies directed at the targeted carbohydrate antigens. To overcome many challenges in using carbohydrate-based vaccine design and development approaches targeting cancer and other diseases, zwitterionic polysaccharides (ZPSs), isolated from the capsule of commensal anaerobic bacteria, will be discussed as promising carriers of carbohydrate antigens to achieve desired immunological responses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Characterization of Reference Standard Lots of HIV-1 Subtype C Gp120 Proteins for Clinical Trials in Southern African Regions
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 17; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020017 -
Abstract
Two HIV-1 subtype C gp120 protein candidates were the selected antigens for several experimental vaccine regimens now under evaluation in HVTN 100 Phase I/II clinical trial aiming to support the start of the HVTN 702 Phase IIb/III trial in southern Africa, which [...] Read more.
Two HIV-1 subtype C gp120 protein candidates were the selected antigens for several experimental vaccine regimens now under evaluation in HVTN 100 Phase I/II clinical trial aiming to support the start of the HVTN 702 Phase IIb/III trial in southern Africa, which is designed to confirm and extend the partial protection seen against HIV-1 infection in the RV144 Thai trial. Here, we report the comprehensive physicochemical characterization of the gp120 reference materials that are representative of the clinical trial materials. Gp120 proteins were stably expressed in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells and subsequently purified and formulated. A panel of analytical techniques was used to characterize the physicochemical properties of the two protein molecules. When formulated in the AS01 Adjuvant System, the bivalent subtype C gp120 antigens elicited 1086.C- and TV1.C-specific binding antibody and CD4+ T cell responses in mice. All the characteristics were highly representative of the Clinical Trial Materials (CTM). Data from this report demonstrate the immunogenicity of the gp120 antigens, provide comprehensive characterization of the molecules, set the benchmark for assessment of current and future CTM lots, and lay the physicochemical groundwork for interpretation of future clinical trial data. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Belgian Serosurveillance/Seroprevalence Study of Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Using a Luminex xMAP Technology-Based Pentaplex
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 16; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020016 -
Abstract
Serosurveillance and seroprevalence studies are an essential tool to monitor vaccine-preventable diseases. We have developed a magnetic bead-based pentaplex immunoassay (MIA) for the simultaneous detection of IgG antibodies against diphtheria toxin (DT), tetanus toxin (TT), pertussis toxin (PT), filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA) and [...] Read more.
Serosurveillance and seroprevalence studies are an essential tool to monitor vaccine-preventable diseases. We have developed a magnetic bead-based pentaplex immunoassay (MIA) for the simultaneous detection of IgG antibodies against diphtheria toxin (DT), tetanus toxin (TT), pertussis toxin (PT), filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA) and pertactin (Prn). The in-house pentaplex MIA showed a good correlation with commercial ELISAs with correlation coefficients between 0.89 for PT and 0.98 for TT. Intra- and inter-assay variability was <10%. A total of 670 anonymized serum samples collected in 2012 in Belgian adults (ages 20–29.9 years) were analyzed. Geometric mean concentrations (GMC) were 0.2 (0.13–0.29) IU/mL for DT, 0.63 (0.45–0.82) IU/mL for TT, 3.9 (2.6–5.8) IU/mL for PT, 16.3 (11.7–22.7) IU/mL for FHA and 15.4 (10.1–23.6) IU/mL for Prn. Antibody concentrations were below the protective level of 0.1 IU/mL in 26.4% of the sera for DT and in 8.6% of the sera for TT. Anti-PT IgG concentrations indicative of recent pertussis infection (>125 IU/mL) were detected in 1.2% of the subjects. High anti-PT antibodies were not correlated with high antibodies against any of the four other vaccine antigens. This pentaplex MIA will be used for a new large-scale Belgian serosurveillance/seroprevalence study of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Coupling Peptide Antigens to Virus-Like Particles or to Protein Carriers Influences the Th1/Th2 Polarity of the Resulting Immune Response
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 15; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020015 -
Abstract
We have conjugated the S9 peptide, a mimic of the group B streptococcal type III capsular polysaccharide, to different carriers in an effort to elicit an optimal immune response. As carriers, we utilized the soluble protein keyhole limpet hemocyanin and virus-like particles [...] Read more.
We have conjugated the S9 peptide, a mimic of the group B streptococcal type III capsular polysaccharide, to different carriers in an effort to elicit an optimal immune response. As carriers, we utilized the soluble protein keyhole limpet hemocyanin and virus-like particles (VLPs) from two plant viruses, Cowpea Chlorotic Mottle Virus and Cowpea Mosaic Virus. We have found that coupling the peptide to the soluble protein elicits a Th2 immune response, as evidenced by the production of the peptide-specific IgG1 antibody and IL-4/IL-10 production in response to antigen stimulation, whereas the peptide conjugated to VLPs elicited a Th1 response (IgG2a, IFN-γ). Because the VLPs used as carriers package RNA during the assembly process, we hypothesize that this effect may result from the presence of nucleic acid in the immunogen, which affects the Th1/Th2 polarity of the response. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of KLK Peptide on Adjuvanticity of Different ODN Sequences
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 14; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020014 -
Abstract
Endosomal Toll-like receptors (TLR) such as TLR3, 7, 8 and 9 recognize pathogen associated nucleic acids. While DNA sequence does influence degree of binding to and activation of TLR9, it also appears to influence the ability of the ligand to reach the [...] Read more.
Endosomal Toll-like receptors (TLR) such as TLR3, 7, 8 and 9 recognize pathogen associated nucleic acids. While DNA sequence does influence degree of binding to and activation of TLR9, it also appears to influence the ability of the ligand to reach the intracellular endosomal compartment. The KLK (KLKL5KLK) antimicrobial peptide, which is immunostimulatory itself, can translocate into cells without cell membrane permeabilization and thus can be used for endosomal delivery of TLR agonists, as has been shown with the IC31 formulation that contains an oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) TLR9 agonist. We evaluated the adjuvant activity of KLK combined with CpG or non-CpG (GpC) ODN synthesized with nuclease resistant phosphorothioate (S) or native phosphodiester (O) backbones with ovalbumin (OVA) antigen in mice. As single adjuvants, CpG(S) gave the strongest enhancement of OVA-specific immunity and the addition of KLK provided no benefit and was actually detrimental for some readouts. In contrast, KLK enhanced the adjuvant effects of CpG(O) and to a lesser extent of GpC (S), which on their own had little or no activity. Indeed while CD8 T cells, IFN-γ secretion and humoral response to vaccine antigen were enhanced when CpG(O) was combined with KLK, only IFN-γ secretion was enhanced when GpC (S) was combined to KLK. The synergistic adjuvant effects with KLK/ODN combinations were TLR9-mediated since they did not occur in TLR9 knock-out mice. We hypothesize that a nuclease resistant ODN with CpG motifs has its own mechanism for entering cells to reach the endosome. For ODN without CpG motifs, KLK appears to provide an alternate mechanism for accessing the endosome, where it can activate TLR9, albeit with lower potency than a CpG ODN. For nuclease sensitive (O) backbone ODN, KLK may also provide protection from nucleases in the tissues. Full article
Open AccessArticle
SupT1 Cell Infusion as a Possible Cell-Based Therapy for HIV: Results from a Pilot Study in Hu-PBMC BRGS Mice
Vaccines 2016, 4(2), 13; doi:10.3390/vaccines4020013 -
Abstract
In a previous in vitro study, the SupT1 cell line was explored as a decoy target for HIV-1, proposing SupT1 cell infusion as a possible cell-based therapy for HIV. In the present work, the previous in vitro model was translated into an [...] Read more.
In a previous in vitro study, the SupT1 cell line was explored as a decoy target for HIV-1, proposing SupT1 cell infusion as a possible cell-based therapy for HIV. In the present work, the previous in vitro model was translated into an in vivo setting. Specifically, Hu-PBMC BRGS mice were infected with a high input of HIV-1 LAI (100,000 TCID50), and 40 million 30 Gy-irradiated SupT1 cells were infused weekly for 4 weeks as a therapy. Blood samples were taken to monitor CD4+ T cell count and viral load, and mice were monitored daily for signs of illness. At the earliest time point analyzed (Week 1), there was a significantly lower plasma viral load (~10-fold) in all animals treated with SupT1 cell infusion, associated with a higher CD4+ T cell count. At later time points, infection proceeded with robust viral replication and evident CD4+ T cell depletion, except in one mouse that showed complete suppression of viral replication and preservation of CD4+ T cell count. No morbidity or mortality was associated with SupT1 cell infusion. The interesting tendencies observed in the generated data suggest that this approach should be further investigated as a possible cell-based HIV therapy. Full article