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antibody titer, HIV-1, rhesus monkey, Simian immunodeficiency virus, T lymphocyte, Vesicular stomatitis virus, viremia


Vaccination with exogenous antigens such as recombinant viral proteins, immunodeficiency virus-derived whole inactivated virus particles, or virus-like particles (VLP) has generally failed to provide sufficient protection in animal models for AIDS. Pseudotyping VLPs with the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G), which is known to mediate entry into dendritic cells, might allow more efficient stimulation of immune responses. Therefore, we pseudotyped noninfectious immunodeficiency virus-like particles with VSV-G and carried out a preliminary screen of their immunogenicity and vaccination efficacy. Incorporation of VSV-G into HIV-1 VLPs led to hundred-fold higher antibody titers to HIV-1 Gag and enhancement of T cell responses in mice. Repeated vaccination of rhesus monkeys for 65 weeks with VSV-G pseudotyped simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-like particles (VLP[G]) provided initial evidence for efficient suppression of viral load after mucosal challenge with the SIVmac239 virus. Challenge of monkeys after a 28 week vaccination regimen with VLP[G] led to a reduction in peak viremia, but persistent suppression of viral load was not achieved. Due to limitations in the number of animals available for this study, improved efficacy of VSV-G pseudotyped VLPs in nonhuman primates could not be demonstrated. However, mouse experiments revealed that pseudotyping of VLPs with fusion-competent VSV-G clearly improves their immunogenicity. Additional strategies, particularly adjuvants, should be considered to provide greater protection against a challenge with pathogenic immunodeficiency virus.


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