Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1) 0ΔNLS Live-Attenuated Vaccine Protects against Ocular HSV-1 Infection in the Absence of Neutralizing Antibody in HSV-1 gB T Cell Receptor-Specific Transgenic Mice

J Virol. 2020 Nov 23;94(24):e01000-20. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01000-20. Print 2020 Nov 23.


The contribution of T cell and antibody responses following vaccination in resistance to herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infection continues to be rigorously investigated. In the present article, we explore the contribution of CD8+ T cells specific for the major antigenic epitope for HSV-1 glycoprotein B (gB498-505, gB) in C57BL/6 mice using a transgenic mouse (gBT-I.1) model vaccinated with HSV-1 0ΔNLS. gBT-I.1-vaccinated mice did not generate a robust neutralization antibody titer in comparison to the HSV-1 0ΔNLS-vaccinated wild-type C57BL/6 counterpart. Nevertheless, the vaccinated gBT-I.1 mice were resistant to ocular challenge with HSV-1 compared to vehicle-vaccinated animals based on survival and reduced corneal neovascularization but displayed similar levels of corneal opacity. Whereas there was no difference in the virus titer recovered from the cornea comparing vaccinated mice, HSV-1 0ΔNLS-vaccinated animals possessed significantly less infectious virus during acute infection in the trigeminal ganglia (TG) and brain stem compared to the control-vaccinated group. These results correlated with a significant increase in gB-elicited interferon-γ (IFN-γ), granzyme B, and CD107a and a reduction in lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG-3), programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), and T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-containing protein 3 (TIM-3) expressed by TG infiltrating gB-specific CD8+ T cells from the HSV-1 0ΔNLS-vaccinated group. Antibody depletion of CD8+ T cells in HSV-1 0ΔNLS-vaccinated mice rendered animals highly susceptible to virus-mediated mortality similar to control-vaccinated mice. Collectively, the HSV-1 0ΔNLS vaccine is effective against ocular HSV-1 challenge, reducing ocular neovascularization and suppressing peripheral nerve virus replication in the near absence of neutralizing antibody in this unique mouse model.IMPORTANCE The role of CD8+ T cells in antiviral efficacy using a live-attenuated virus as the vaccine is complicated by the humoral immune response. In the case of the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) 0ΔNLS vaccine, the correlate of protection has been defined to be primarily antibody driven. The current study shows that in the near absence of anti-HSV-1 antibody, vaccinated mice are protected from subsequent challenge with wild-type HSV-1 as measured by survival. The efficacy is lost following depletion of CD8+ T cells. Whereas increased survival and reduction in virus replication were observed in vaccinated mice challenged with HSV-1, cornea pathology was mixed with a reduction in neovascularization but no change in opacity. Collectively, the study suggests CD8+ T cells significantly contribute to the host adaptive immune response to HSV-1 challenge following vaccination with an attenuated virus, but multiple factors are involved in cornea pathology in response to ocular virus challenge.

Keywords: CD8 T cell; HSV-1; eye; interferon; metabolism; transgenic mice; vaccines.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cornea
  • Female
  • Herpes Simplex / immunology
  • Herpes Simplex / prevention & control*
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Vaccines / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / immunology*
  • Immunization / methods
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / metabolism
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / virology
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Vaccines
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein B, Simplexvirus