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Cross-clade immunity and immunosuppressive effects of DNA vaccines encoding conserved and promiscuous HIV-1 M-group peptides

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Rafael Ribeiro Almeida
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina (FM/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Edecio Cunha Neto; Aluisio Augusto Cotrim Segurado; Carlos Pelleschi Taborda; José Ronnie Carvalho de Vasconcelos
Advisor: Edecio Cunha Neto

The search for an HIV-1 vaccine construct is urgent. The CD4+ T cells have assumed a prominent role in the vaccine field participating in the control of HIV-1 replication either by helping CD8+ T cell effector function and B cell-mediated antibody production or by acting as citotoxic cells on infected macrophages. The use of HIV-1 M-group consensus sequences is pointed as an alternative to overcome viral diversity. Besides, it is necessary to construct vaccines that would potentially induce immune responses with broad population coverage. Intending to induce a broad CD4+ T-cell immune response against different HIV-1 subtypes in a population bearing diverse HLA-DR molecules we have previously identified 34 promiscuous peptides (potentially binding to multiple HLA-DR molecules) and conserved within the HIV-1 M-group consensus sequence. We construct a DNA vaccine encoding 7 Env peptides (HIVenv7) and another vaccine (HIVBr27) encoding 27 peptides. The HIVBr27 vaccine was immunogenic in BALB/c mice, inducing a broad and polyfunctional CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell response. The HIVenv7 vaccine was much less immunogenic and suppressed HIVBr27-induced immune responses when co-immunized. Here, we have shown that HIVBr27 immunization leads to a cross-clade CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell immune response. Besides, HIVBr27 immunization has partially protected mice challenged with a recombinant Vaccinia virus encoding HIV-1 Gag e Pol. In vitro assays have shown that HIVBr27- encoded peptides bind to multiple HLA class II molecules and are recognized by HIV- 1-infected patients. We have also shown that HIVenv7 has no consistent immunosuppressive properties, contradicting our previous results. The HIVenv7- encoded peptides bound to multiple HLA class II molecules but were recognized by a low number of HIV-1-infected patients. We believe that our vaccine HIVBr27 has potential to induce an immune response with broad population coverage, towards different HIV-1 variants. On the other hand, the HIVenv7 vaccine was poorly immunogenic and should not be used in future studies (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/03760-3 - Cross-clade recognition and supressive effect induced by DNA vaccines encoding conserved and promiscuous HIV-1 M-group peptides
Grantee:Rafael Ribeiro Almeida
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate