Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-based vaccines have shown remarkable efficacy in the rhesus macaque model of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, enabling 50% of vaccinated monkeys to clear a subsequent virulent simian immunodeficiency virus challenge. The protective vaccine elicited unconventional CD8 T cell responses that were entirely restricted by MHC II or the nonclassical MHC I molecule, MHC-E. These unconventional responses were only elicited by a fibroblast-adapted rhesus CMV vector with limited tissue tropism; a repaired vector with normal tropism elicited conventional responses. Testing whether these unusual protective CD8 T responses could be elicited in humans requires vaccinating human subjects with a fibroblast-adapted mutant of human CMV (HCMV). In this study, we describe the CD8 T cell responses of human subjects vaccinated with two fibroblast-adapted HCMV vaccines. Most responses were identified as conventional classically MHC I restricted, and we found no evidence for MHC II or HLA-E restriction. These results indicate that fibroblast adaptation alone is unlikely to explain the unconventional responses observed in macaques.
© 2017 Murray et al.