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Journal of virology

Topical herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) vaccination with human papillomavirus vectors expressing gB/gD ectodomains induces genital-tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells and reduces genital disease and viral shedding after HSV-2 challenge.


PMID 25320297

Abstract

No herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) vaccine has been licensed for use in humans. HSV-2 glycoproteins B (gB) and D (gD) are targets of neutralizing antibodies and T cells, but clinical trials involving intramuscular (i.m.) injection of HSV-2 gB and gD in adjuvants have not been effective. Here we evaluated intravaginal (ivag) genetic immunization of C57BL/6 mice with a replication-defective human papillomavirus pseudovirus (HPV PsV) expressing HSV-2 gB (HPV-gB) or gD (HPV-gD) constructs to target different subcellular compartments. HPV PsV expressing a secreted ectodomain of gB (gBsec) or gD (gDsec), but not PsV expressing a cytoplasmic or membrane-bound form, induced circulating and intravaginal-tissue-resident memory CD8(+) T cells that were able to secrete gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) as well as moderate levels of serum HSV neutralizing antibodies. Combined immunization with HPV-gBsec and HPV-gDsec (HPV-gBsec/gDsec) vaccines conferred longer survival after vaginal challenge with HSV-2 than immunization with HPV-gBsec or HPV-gDsec alone. HPV-gBsec/gDsec ivag vaccination was associated with a reduced severity of genital lesions and lower levels of viral shedding in the genital tract after HSV-2 challenge. In contrast, intramuscular vaccination with a soluble truncated gD protein (gD2t) in alum and monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) elicited high neutralizing antibody titers and improved survival but did not reduce genital lesions and viral shedding. Vaccination combining ivag HPV-gBsec/gDsec and i.m. gD2t-alum-MPL improved survival and reduced genital lesions and viral shedding. Finally, high levels of circulating HSV-2-specific CD8(+) T cells, but not serum antibodies, correlated with reduced viral shedding. Taken together, our data underscore the potential of HPV PsV as a platform for a topical mucosal vaccine to control local manifestations of primary HSV-2 infection. Genital herpes is a highly prevalent chronic disease caused by HSV infection. To date, there is no licensed vaccine against HSV infection. This study describes intravaginal vaccination with a nonreplicating HPV-based vector expressing HSV glycoprotein antigens. The data presented in this study underscore the potential of HPV-based vectors as a platform for the induction of genital-tissue-resident memory T cell responses and the control of local manifestations of primary HSV infection.