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gamma interferon, glycoprotein gp 39, interleukin 4, virus RNA, dendritic cell, HIV-1, T lymphocyte, virus replication


Nonreplicating vectors are being considered in HIV-1 vaccine design. However, nonreplicating viruses are typically weak immunogens, leading to efforts to target the vaccine to mature dendritic cells (DCs). We have studied a single-cycle form of HIV-1, prepared by pseudotyping envelope-defective HIV-1 plasmids with the envelope from vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) G protein (VSV-G), to which most humans lack preexisting immunity. The nonreplicating, VSV/HIV-1 efficiently infected the immature stage of DC development, in this case represented by monocytes cultured with GM-CSF and IL-4. A majority of the cells reverse transcribed the HIV-1 RNA, and a minority expressed gag protein. The infected populations were further matured with CD40 ligand, leading to strong stimulation of autologous T cells from HIV-1-infected individuals, but not controls. Enriched CD8+ T cells from 12/12 donors released IFN-γ (50-300 enzyme-linked immunospots/200,000 T cells) and proliferated. Macrophages were much less efficient in expanding HIV-1-responsive T cells, and bulk mononuclear cells responded weakly to VSV/HIV-1. CD4+ T cells from at least half of the donors showed strong responses to VSV/HIV-1-infected DCs. Presentation to CD8+ T cells, but not to CD4+, was primarily through an endogenous pathway, because the responses were markedly reduced if envelope-defective virus particles or reverse transcriptase inhibitors were added. Therefore, nonreplicating vaccines can be targeted to immature DCs, which upon further maturation induce combined and robust CD4+ and CD8+ immunity.


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