Immunological characterization of a modified vaccinia virus Ankara vector expressing the human papillomavirus 16 E1 protein

Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2014 Feb;21(2):147-55. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00678-13. Epub 2013 Dec 4.


Women showing normal cytology but diagnosed with a persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection have a higher risk of developing high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cervical cancer than noninfected women. As no therapeutic management other than surveillance is offered to these women, there is a major challenge to develop novel targeted therapies dedicated to the treatment of these patients. As such, E1 and E2 antigens, expressed early in the HPV life cycle, represent very interesting candidates. Both proteins are necessary for maintaining coordinated viral replication and gene synthesis during the differentiation process of the epithelium and are essential for the virus to complete its normal and propagative replication cycle. In the present study, we evaluated a new active targeted immunotherapeutic, a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector containing the E1 sequence of HPV16, aimed at inducing cellular immune responses with the potential to help and clear persistent HPV16-related infection. We carried out an extensive comparative time course analysis of the cellular immune responses induced by different schedules of immunization in C57BL/6 mice. We showed that multiple injections of MVA-E1 allowed sustained HPV16 E1-specific cellular immune responses in vaccinated mice and had no impact on the exhaustion phenotype of the generated HPV16 E1-specific CD8⁺ T cells, but they led to the differentiation of multifunctional effector T cells with high cytotoxic capacity. This study provides proof of concept that an MVA expressing HPV16 E1 can induce robust and long-lasting E1-specific responses and warrants further development of this candidate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral / immunology*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / genetics
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / genetics
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology
  • Vaccinia virus / genetics*


  • Drug Carriers
  • E1 protein, Human papillomavirus 16
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Synthetic