Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics

Induction of innate immune signatures following polyepitope protein-glycoprotein B-TLR4&9 agonist immunization generates multifunctional CMV-specific cellular and humoral immunity.

PMID 24463331


Recent studies have suggested that a successful subunit human cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine requires improved formulation to generate broad-based anti-viral immunity following immunization. Here we report the development of a non-live protein-based vaccine strategy for CMV based on a polyepitope protein and CMV glycoprotein B (gB) adjuvanted with TLR4 and/or TLR9 agonists. The polyepitope protein includes contiguous multiple MHC class I-restricted epitopes with an aim to induce CD8(+) T cell immunity, while gB is an important target for CD4(+) T cell immunity and neutralizing antibodies. Optimal immunogenicity of this bivalent non-live protein vaccine formulation was dependent upon the co-administration of both the TLR4 and TLR9 agonist, which was associated with the activation of innate immune signatures and the influx of different DC subsets including plasmacytoid DCs and migratory CD8-DEC205+CD103-CD326- langerin-negative dermal DCs into the draining lymph nodes. Furthermore these professional antigen presenting cells also expressed IL-6, IL-12p70, TNFα, and IFNα which play a crucial role in the activation of adaptive immunity. In summary, this study provides a novel platform technology in which broad-based anti-CMV immune responses upon vaccination can be maximised by co-delivery of viral antigens and TLR4 and 9 agonists which induce activation of innate immune signatures and promote potent antigen acquisition and cross-presentation by multiple DC subsets.