We have established that the efficacy of a heterologous poxvirus vectored HIV vaccine, fowlpox virus (FPV)-HIV gag/pol prime followed by attenuated vaccinia virus (VV)-HIV gag/pol booster immunisation, is strongly influenced by the cytokine milieu at the priming vaccination site, with endogenous IL-13 detrimental to the quality of the HIV specific CD8+ T cell response induced. We have now developed a novel HIV vaccine that co-expresses a C-terminal deletion mutant of the mouse IL-4, deleted for the essential tyrosine (Y119) required for signalling. In our vaccine system, the mutant IL-4C118 can bind to IL-4 type I and II receptors with high affinity, and transiently prevent the signalling of both IL-4 and IL-13 at the vaccination site. When this IL-4C118 adjuvanted vaccine was used in an intranasal rFPV/intramuscular rVV prime-boost immunisation strategy, greatly enhanced mucosal/systemic HIV specific CD8+ T cells with higher functional avidity, expressing IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-2 and greater protective efficacy were detected. Surprisingly, the IL-4C118 adjuvanted vaccines also induced robust long-lived HIV gag-specific serum antibody responses, specifically IgG1 and IgG2a. The p55-gag IgG2a responses induced were of a higher magnitude relative to the IL-13Rα2 adjuvant vaccine. More interestingly, our recently tested IL-13Rα2 adjuvanted vaccine which only inhibited IL-13 activity, even though induced excellent high avidity HIV-specific CD8+ T cells, had a detrimental impact on the induction of gag-specific IgG2a antibody immunity. Our observations suggest that (i) IL-4 cell-signalling in the absence of IL-13 retarded gag-specific antibody isotype class switching, or (ii) IL-13Rα2 signalling was involved in inducing good gag-specific B cell immunity. Thus, we believe our novel IL-4R antagonist adjuvant strategy offers great promise not only for HIV-1 vaccines, but also against a range of chronic infections where sustained high quality mucosal and systemic T and B cell immunity are required for protection.
Jackson, R. J., Worley, M., Trivedi, S., & Ranasinghe, C. (2014). Novel HIV IL-4R antagonist vaccine strategy can induce both high avidity CD8 T and B cell immunity with greater protective efficacy. Vaccine, 32(43), 5703–5714. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.08.023