Targeting of non-dominant antigens as a vaccine strategy to broaden T-cell responses during chronic viral infection

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In this study, we compared adenoviral vaccine vectors with the capacity to induce equally potent immune responses against non-dominant and immunodominant epitopes of murine lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Our results demonstrate that vaccination targeting non-dominant epitopes facilitates potent virus-induced T-cell responses against immunodominant epitopes during subsequent challenge with highly invasive virus. In contrast, when an immunodominant epitope was included in the vaccine, the T-cell response associated with viral challenge remained focussed on that epitope. Early after challenge with live virus, the CD8+ T cells specific for vaccine-encoded epitopes, displayed a phenotype typically associated with prolonged/persistent antigenic stimulation marked by high levels of KLRG-1, as compared to T cells reacting to epitopes not included in the vaccine. Notably, this association was lost over time in T cells specific for the dominant T cell epitopes, and these cells were fully capable of expanding in response to a new viral challenge. Overall, our data suggests a potential for broadening of the antiviral CD8+ T-cell response by selecting non-dominant antigens to be targeted by vaccination. In addition, our findings suggest that prior adenoviral vaccination is not likely to negatively impact the long-term and protective immune response induced and maintained by a vaccine-attenuated chronic viral infection.

TidsskriftPLOS ONE
Udgave nummer2
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2015

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