DNA Vaccine-Induced Long-Lasting Cytotoxic T Cells Targeting Conserved Elements of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Gag Are Boosted Upon DNA or Recombinant Modified Vaccinia Ankara Vaccination

Hum Gene Ther. 2018 Sep;29(9):1029-1043. doi: 10.1089/hum.2018.065. Epub 2018 Jun 21.


DNA-based vaccines able to induce efficient cytotoxic T-cell responses targeting conserved elements (CE) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag have been developed. These CE were selected by stringent conservation, the ability to induce T-cell responses with broad human leukocyte antigen coverage, and the association between recognition of CE epitopes and viral control in HIV-infected individuals. Based on homology to HIV, a simian immunodeficiency virus p27gag CE DNA vaccine has also been developed. This study reports on the durability of the CE-specific T-cell responses induced by HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus CE DNA-based prime/boost vaccine regimens in rhesus macaques, and shows that the initially primed CE-specific T-cell responses were efficiently boosted by a single CE DNA vaccination after the long rest period (up to 2 years). In another cohort of animals, the study shows that a single inoculation with non-replicating recombinant Modified Vaccinia Ankara (rMVA62B) also potently boosted CE-specific responses after around 1.5 years of rest. Both CE DNA and rMVA62B booster vaccinations increased the magnitude and cytotoxicity of the CE-specific responses while maintaining the breadth of CE recognition. Env produced by rMVA62B did not negatively interfere with the recall of the Gag CE responses. rMVA62B could be beneficial to further boosting the immune response to Gag in humans. Vaccine regimens that employ CE DNA as a priming immunogen hold promise for application in HIV prevention and therapy.

Keywords: durability; electroporation; immunization; long-lasting; macaque; vaccination; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / drug effects
  • DNA / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • HIV-1 / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / pathogenicity
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • Vaccines, DNA / administration & dosage*
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology
  • Vaccinia / immunology
  • Vaccinia virus / genetics
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • DNA