The immunogenicity and durability of genetic vaccines are influenced by the composition of gene inserts and choice of delivery vector. DNA vectors are a promising vaccine approach showing efficacy when combined in prime-boost regimens with recombinant protein or viral vectors, but they have shown limited comparative efficacy as a stand-alone platform in primates, due possibly to suboptimal gene expression or cell targeting. Here, regimens using DNA plasmids modified for optimal antigen expression and recombinant adenovirus (rAd) vectors, all encoding the glycoprotein (GP) gene from Angola Marburg virus (MARV), were compared for their ability to provide immune protection against lethal MARV Angola infection. Heterologous DNA-GP/rAd5-GP prime-boost and single-modality rAd5-GP, as well as the DNA-GP-only vaccine, prevented death in all vaccinated subjects after challenge with a lethal dose of MARV Angola. The DNA/DNA vaccine induced humoral responses comparable to those induced by a single inoculation with rAd5-GP, as well as CD4+ and CD8+ cellular immune responses, with skewing toward CD4+ T-cell activity against MARV GP. Vaccine regimens containing rAd-GP, alone or as a boost, exhibited cellular responses with CD8+ T-cell dominance. Across vaccine groups, CD8+ T-cell subset dominance comprising cells exhibiting a tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) double-positive functional phenotype was associated with an absence or low frequency of clinical symptoms, suggesting that both the magnitude and functional phenotype of CD8+ T cells may determine vaccine efficacy against infection by MARV Angola.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science