Primate immune responses to HIV-1 Env formulated in the saponin-based adjuvant AbISCO-100 in the presence or absence of TLR9 co-stimulation

Sci Rep. 2015 Mar 12:5:8925. doi: 10.1038/srep08925.


Protein-based vaccines require adjuvants to achieve optimal responses. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 agonists were previously shown to improve responses to protein-based vaccines, such as the Hepatitis B virus vaccine formulated in alum. Here, we used CpG-C together with the clinically relevant saponin-based adjuvant AbISCO-100/Matrix-M (AbISCO), to assess if TLR9 co-stimulation would quantitatively or qualitatively modulate HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env)-specific B and T cell responses in rhesus macaques. The macaques were inoculated with soluble Env trimers in AbISCO, with or without the addition of CpG-C, using an interval similar to the Hepatitis B virus vaccine. Following a comprehensive evaluation of antigen-specific responses in multiple immune compartments, we show that the Env-specific circulating IgG, memory B cells and plasma cells displayed similar kinetics and magnitude in the presence or absence of CpG-C and that there was no apparent difference between the two groups in the elicited HIV-1 neutralizing antibody titers or antigen-specific CD4+ T cell responses. Importantly, the control of SHIV viremia was significantly improved in animals from both Env-immunized groups relative to adjuvant alone controls, demonstrating the potential of AbISCO to act as a stand-alone adjuvant for Env-based vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibody Specificity
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / administration & dosage
  • Plasma Cells / immunology
  • Plasma Cells / metabolism
  • Primates
  • Saponins* / administration & dosage
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9 / agonists
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9 / metabolism*
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • CpG ODN 2395
  • Cytokines
  • HIV Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Saponins
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus