T-cell immunity induced and reshaped by an anti-HPV immuno-oncotherapeutic lentiviral vector

Fert I£, Douguet L£, Vesin B£, Moncoq F, Noirat A, Authié P, Ciret S, Le Chevalier F, Blanc C, Vitrenko Y, Charneau P$, Majlessi L$, Anna F$

£ Co-first authors
$ Senior authors

Fert, Douguet, Vesin et al, NPJ Vaccines Jun 10;9(1):102 / 2024

We recently developed an immuno-oncotherapy against human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced tumors based on a lentiviral vector encoding the Early E6 and E7 oncoproteins of HPV16 and HPV18 genotypes, namely “Lenti-HPV-07”. The robust and long-lasting anti-tumor efficacy of Lenti-HPV-07 is dependent on CD8+ T-cell induction and remodeling of the tumor microenvironment. Here, we first established that anti-vector immunity induced by Lenti-HPV-07 prime has no impact on the efficacy of a homologous boost to amplify anti-HPV T-cell immunity. To longitudinally monitor the evolution of the T-cell repertoire generated after the prime, homologous or heterologous boost with Lenti-HPV-07, we tracked T-cell clonotypes by deep sequencing of T-Cell Receptor (TCR) variable β and α chain mRNA, applied to whole peripheral blood cells (PBL) and a T cell population specific of an immunodominant E7HPV16 epitope. We observed a hyper-expansion of clonotypes post prime, accompanied by increased frequencies of HPV-07-specific T cells. Additionally, there was a notable diversification of clonotypes post boost in whole PBL, but not in the E7HPV16-specific T cells. We then demonstrated that the effector functions of such Lenti-HPV-07-induced T cells synergize with anti-checkpoint inhibitory treatments by systemic administration of anti-TIM3 or anti-NKG2A monoclonal antibodies. While Lenti-HPV-07 is about to enter a Phase I/IIa clinical trial, these results will help better elucidate its mode of action in immunotherapy against established HPV-mediated malignancies.


Preclinical proof of concept of a tetravalent lentiviral T-cell vaccine against dengue viruses

Kirill Nemirov, Pierre Authié, Philippe Souque, Fanny Moncoq, Amandine Noirat, Catherine Blanc, Maryline Bourgine, Laleh Majlessi, Pierre Charneau

Nemirov et al, Front Immunol. 2023 Aug 15; 14:1208041

Dengue virus (DENV) is responsible for approximately 100 million cases of dengue fever annually, including severe forms such as hemorrhagic dengue and dengue shock syndrome. Despite intensive vaccine research and development spanning several decades, a universally accepted and approved vaccine against dengue fever has not yet been developed. The major challenge associated with the development of such a vaccine is that it should induce simultaneous and equal protection against the four DENV serotypes, because past infection with one serotype may greatly increase the severity of secondary infection with a distinct serotype, a phenomenon known as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). Using a lentiviral vector platform that is particularly suitable for the induction of cellular immune responses, we designed a tetravalent T-cell vaccine candidate against DENV (“LV-DEN”). This vaccine candidate has a strong CD8+ T-cell immunogenicity against the targeted non-structural DENV proteins, without inducing antibody response against surface antigens. Evaluation of its protective potential in the preclinical flavivirus infection model, i.e., mice knockout for the receptor to the type I IFN, demonstrated its significant protective effect against four distinct DENV serotypes, based on reduced weight loss, viremia, and viral loads in peripheral organs of the challenged mice. These results provide proof of concept for the use of lentiviral vectors for the development of efficient polyvalent T-cell vaccine candidates against all DENV serotypes.


Full Eradication of Pre-clinical Human PapillomaVirus-Induced Tumors by a Lentiviral Vaccine

Laëtitia Douguet£, Ingrid Fert£, Jodie Lopez£, Benjamin Vesin£, Fabien Le Chevalier, Fanny Moncoq, Pierre Authié, Trang-My Nguyen, Amandine Noirat, Fabien Névo, Catherine Blanc, Maryline Bourgine, David Hardy, François Anna, Laleh Majlessi$, Pierre Charneau$

£ Co-first authors
$ Senior authors

Douguet, Fert, Lopez, Vesin et al, EMBO, Molecular Medicine e17723 | 2023

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are the cause of all cervical and numerous oropharyngeal and anogenital cancers. The currently available HPV vaccines, which induce neutralizing antibodies, have no therapeutic effect on established tumors. Here, we developed an immuno-oncotherapy against HPV-induced tumors based on a non-integrative lentiviral vector encoding detoxified forms of the Early E6 and E7 oncoproteins of HPV16 and 18 genotypes, namely, “Lenti-HPV-07”. A single intramuscular injection of Lenti-HPV-07 into mice bearing established HPV-induced tumors resulted in complete tumor eradication in 100% of the animals and was also effective against lung metastases. This effect correlated with CD8+ T-cell induction and profound remodeling of the tumor microenvironment. In the intra-tumoral infiltrates of vaccinated mice, the presence of large amounts of activated effector, resident memory, and transcription factor T cell factor-1 (TCF-1)+ “stem-like” CD8+ T cells was associated with full tumor eradication. The Lenti-HPV-07-induced immunity was long-lasting and prevented tumor growth after a late re-challenge, mimicking tumor relapse. Lenti-HPV-07 therapy synergizes with an anti-checkpoint inhibitory treatment and therefore shows promise as an immuno-oncotherapy against established HPV-mediated malignancies.


Lentiviral Vectors as a Vaccine Platform against Infectious Diseases

Kirill Nemirov*, Maryline Bourgine*, François Anna*, Yu Wei, Pierre Charneau and Laleh Majlessi

*Co-first authors

Nemirov et al, Pharmaceutics MDPI, 2023, 15, 846

Lentiviral vectors are among the most effective viral vectors for vaccination. In clear con- trast to the reference adenoviral vectors, lentiviral vectors have a high potential for transducing dendritic cells in vivo. Within these cells, which are the most efficient at activating naive T cells, lentiviral vectors induce endogenous expression of transgenic antigens that directly access antigen presentation pathways without the need for external antigen capture or cross-presentation. Lentivi- ral vectors induce strong, robust, and long-lasting humoral, CD8+ T-cell immunity and effective protection against several infectious diseases. There is no pre-existing immunity to lentiviral vectors in the human population and the very low pro-inflammatory properties of these vectors pave the way for their use in mucosal vaccination. In this review, we have mainly summarized the immuno- logical aspects of lentiviral vectors, their recent optimization to induce CD4+ T cells, and our recent data on lentiviral vector-based vaccination in preclinical models, including prophylaxis against fla- viviruses, SARS-CoV-2, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


Full-Lung Prophylaxis against SARS-CoV-2 by One-Shot or Booster Intranasal Lentiviral Vaccination in Syrian Golden Hamsters

Benjamin Vesin, Pierre Authié, Catherine Blanc, Ingrid Fert, Amandine Noirat, Fabien Le Chevalier, Yu Wei, Min-Wen Ku, Kirill Nemirov, François Anna, David Hardy, Cyril Planchais, Hugo Mouquet, Françoise Guinet, Pierre Charneau*, Laleh Majlessi*, and Maryline Bourgine*

*Co-senior authors

Vesin et al, Vaccines (Basel) MDPI, 2022 Dec 21, 2022

Following the breakthrough of numerous severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants in recent months and the incomplete efficiency of the currently available vaccines, development of more effective vaccines is desirable. Non-integrative, non-cytopathic and non-inflammatory lentiviral vectors elicit sterilizing prophylaxis against SARS-CoV-2 in preclinical animal models and are particularly suitable for mucosal vaccination, which is acknowledged as the most effective in reducing viral transmission. Here, we demonstrate that a single intranasal administration of a vaccinal lentiviral vector encoding a stabilized form of the original SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein induces full-lung protection of respiratory tracts and strongly reduces pulmonary inflammation in the susceptible Syrian golden hamster model against the prototype SARS-CoV-2. In addition, we show that a lentiviral vector encoding stabilized Spike of SARS-CoV-2 Beta variant (LV::SBeta-2P) prevents pathology and reduces infectious viral loads in lungs and nasal turbinates following inoculation with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. Importantly, an intranasal boost with LV::SBeta-2P improves cross-seroneutralization much better in LV::SBeta-2P-primed hamsters than in their counterparts primed with an LV-encoding Spike from the ancestral SARS-CoV-2. These results strongly suggest that an immune imprint with the original Spike sequence has a negative impact on cross-protection against new variants. Our results tackle the issue of vaccine effectiveness in people who have already been vaccinated and have vanished immunity and indicate the efficiency of LVbased intranasal vaccination, either as a single dose or as booster.


Mice Humanized for Major Histocompatibility Complex and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 with High Permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Replication

Fabien Le Chevalier£, Pierre Authié£, Sébastien Chardenoux£, Maryline Bourgine, Benjamin Vesin, Delphine Cussigh, Yohann Sassier, Ingrid Fert, Amandine Noirat, Kirill Nemirov, François Anna, Marion Bérard, Françoise Guinet, David Hardy, Pierre Charneau, François Lemonnier*, Francina Langa-Vives*, Laleh Majlessi

£co-first authors
*Senior authors

Le Chevalier, Authié, Chardenoux et al, Microbes Infect. 2023 Apr 18;105142

Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (hACE2) is the major receptor enabling host cell invasion by SARS-CoV-2 via interaction with Spike glycoprotein. The murine ACE2 ortholog does not interact efficiently with SARS-CoV-2 Spike and therefore the conventional laboratory mouse strains are not permissive to SARS-CoV-2 replication. Here, we generated three new hACE2 transgenic mice, which harbor the hACE2 gene under the human keratin 18 promoter, in C57BL/6 “HHD-DR1” background. HHD-DR1 mice are fully devoid of murine Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules of class-I and -II and express only MHC molecules from Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) HLA 02.01, DRA01.01, DRB1.01.01 alleles, widely expressed in human Caucasian populations. We selected three transgenic strains, with various hACE2 mRNA expression levels and distinctive profiles of lung and/or brain permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 replication. Compared to the previously available B6.K18-ACE22Prlmn/JAX mice, which have limited permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 Omicron replication, these three new hACE2 transgenic strains display higher levels of hACE2 mRNA expression, associated with high permissiveness to the replication of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sub-variants. As a first application, one of these MHC- and ACE2-humanized strains was successfully used to show the efficacy of a lentiviral vector-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate.


A lentiviral vector expressing a dendritic cell-targeting multimer induces mucosal anti-mycobacterial CD4+ T-cell immunity

François Anna, Jodie Lopez, Fanny Moncoq, Catherine Blanc, Pierre Authié, Amandine Noirat, Ingrid Fert, Philippe Souque, Fabien Nevo, Alexandre Pawlik, David Hardy, Sophie Goyard, Denis Hudrisier, Roland Brosch, Françoise Guinet, Olivier Neyrolles, Pierre Charneau and Laleh Majlessi

Anna et al., 2022, Mucosal Immunology Sep 14, 2022

Most viral vectors, including the potently immunogenic lentiviral vectors (LVs), only poorly direct antigens to the MHC-II endosomal pathway and elicit CD4+ T cells. We developed a new generation of LVs encoding antigen-bearing monomers of collectins substituted at their C-terminal domain with the CD40 ligand ectodomain to target and activate antigen-presenting cells. Host cells transduced with such optimized LVs secreted soluble collectin-antigen polymers with the potential to be endocytosed in vivo and reach the MHC-II pathway. In the murine tuberculosis model, such LVs induced efficient MHC-II antigenic presentation and triggered both CD8+ and CD4+ T cells at the systemic and mucosal levels. They also conferred a significant booster effect, consistent with the importance of CD4+ T cells for protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Given the pivotal role of CD4+ T cells in orchestrating innate and adaptive immunity, this strategy could have a broad range of applications in the vaccinology field.


A lentiviral vector encoding fusion of light invariant chain and mycobacterial antigens induces protective CD4+ T cell immunity

Jodie Lopez, François Anna, Pierre Authié, Alexandre Pawlik, Min-Wen Ku, Catherine Blanc, Philippe Souque, Fanny Moncoq, Amandine Noirat, David Hardy, Wladimir Sougakoff, Roland Brosch, Françoise Guinet, Pierre Charneau* and Laleh Majlessi*

*co-senior authors

Lopez et al., 2022, Cell Reports July 26, 2022

Lentiviral vectors (LVs) are highly efficient at inducing CD8+ T cell responses. However, LV-encoded antigens are processed inside the cytosol of antigen-presenting cells, which does not directly communicate with the endosomal major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) presentation pathway. LVs are thus poor at inducing CD4+ T cell response. To overcome this limitation, we devised a strategy whereby LV-encoded antigens are extended at their N-terminal end with the MHC-II-associated light invariant chain (li), which contains an endosome-targeting signal sequence. When evaluated with an LV-encoded polyantigen composed of CD4+ T cell targets from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, intranasal vaccination in mice triggers pulmonary polyfunctional CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses. Adjuvantation of these LVs extends the mucosal immunity to Th17 and Tc17 responses. A systemic prime and an intranasal boost with one of these LV induces protection against M. tuberculosis. This strategy improves the protective power of LVs against infections and cancers, where CD4+ T cell immunity plays an important role.


An intranasal lentiviral booster reinforces the waning mRNA vaccine-induced SARSCoV-2 immunity that it targets to lung mucosa

Benjamin Vesin£, Jodie Lopez£, Amandine Noirat£, Pierre Authié£, Ingrid Fert, Fabien Le Chevalier, Fanny Moncoq, Kirill Nemirov, Catherine Blanc, Cyril Planchais, Hugo Mouquet, Françoise Guinet, David Hardy, Francina Langa Vives, Christiane Gerke, François Anna, Maryline Bourgine, Laleh Majlessi*, and Pierre Charneau*

£co-first authors
*co-senior authors

Vesin, Lopez, Noirat, Authié et al, 2022, Molecular Therapy Apr 22, 2022

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern emerge, the adaptive immunity initially induced by the first-generation COVID-19 vaccines starts waning and needs to be strengthened and broadened in specificity. Vaccination by the nasal route induces mucosal, humoral and cellular immunity at the entry point of SARS-CoV-2 into the host organism and has been shown to be the most effective for reducing viral transmission. The lentiviral vaccination vector (LV) is particularly suitable for this route of immunization due to its non-cytopathic, non-replicative and scarcely inflammatory properties. Here, to set up an optimized cross-protective intranasal booster against COVID-19, we generated an LV encoding stabilized Spike of SARS-CoV-2 Beta variant (LV::SBeta-2P). mRNA vaccine-primed and -boosted mice, with waning primary humoral immunity at 4 months post-vaccination, were boosted intranasally with LV::SBeta-2P. Strong boost effect was detected on cross-sero-neutralizing activity and systemic T-cell immunity. In addition, mucosal anti-Spike IgG and IgA, lung resident B cells, and effector memory and resident T cells were efficiently induced, correlating with complete pulmonary protection against the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, demonstrating the suitability of the LV::SBeta-2P vaccine candidate as an intranasal booster against COVID-19. LV::SBeta-2P vaccination was also fully protective against Omicron infection of the lungs and central nervous system, in the highly susceptible B6.K18-hACE2IP-THV transgenic mice.


Antigens in Immune-Oncotherapy

Laetitia Douguet, Pierre Charneau and Laleh Majlessi

Douguet al, Novel Approaches in Cancer Study March 21, 2022

Therapeutic vaccination is admitted to be a promising axis in onco-therapy. Contrary to preventive vaccination, which is mainly effective through the action of antibodies, onco-therapeutic vaccination requires the action of cellular immunity and in particular cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes. Development of such vaccines requires a rational antigenic choice and efficient vaccination vectors to induce robust, high quality and durable T-cell responses, and when necessary to overcome the T-cell tolerance. Here, we review the two categories of antigens that can be targeted by onco-therapeutic vaccines, namely Tumor-Associated Antigens (TAAs) and Tumor-Specific Antigens (TSAs), by giving examples and describing advantages and limitations of each antigen category. Combination of one or more appropriately selected antigens with, for instance, the powerful lentiviral vaccine vector platform, is a novel approach for the development of new generations of onco-therapeutic vaccines.


An anti-Covid-19 lentiviral vaccine candidate that can be administered by the nasal route

L. Majlessi, P.Charneau

Med Sci (Paris) 2021 37 : 1172–1175

Collective immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-coronavirus 2), a beta-coronavirus responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome, is gradually establishing itself in human populations following the epidemic waves of the disease. COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) which have followed one another since the end of 2019, and thanks to the massive use of first-generation vaccines directed against the Spike envelope glycoprotein of this virus. However, experimental or clinical arguments indicate that this immunity may be short-lived. There is also concern that it may be ineffective against certain new variants of the virus which are currently emerging, or which will emerge if the circulation of the virus is prolonged. In this context, second generation vaccines will be needed to strengthen collective immunity against this virus. Here, we propose the use of lentiviral vaccination vector for mucosal vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 to fight the virus at the entry gateway to the host organism.


Brain cross-protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants by a lentiviral vaccine in new transgenic mice

Ku MK£, Authié P£., Bourgine M£, Anna, F, Noirat A, Moncoq F, Vesin B, Nevo F, Lopez J, Souque P, Blanc C, Fert I, Chardenoux S, Lafosse l, Cussigh D, Hardy D, Nemirov K, Guinet F, Langa Vives F, Majlessi L* and Charneau P*

£co-first authors
*co-senior authors

Ku, Authié, Bourgine, et al, EMBO Mol Med. Oct 25, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines already in use or in clinical development may have reduced efficacy against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. In addition, although the neurotropism of SARS-CoV-2 is well established, the vaccine strategies currently developed have not taken into account protection of the central nervous system. Here, we generated a transgenic mouse strain expressing the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and displaying unprecedented brain permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 replication, in addition to high permissiveness levels in the lung. Using this stringent transgenic model, we demonstrated that a non-integrative lentiviral vector, encoding for the spike glycoprotein of the ancestral SARS-CoV-2, used in intramuscular prime and intranasal boost elicits sterilizing protection of lung and brain against both the ancestral virus, and the Gamma (P.1) variant of concern, which carries multiple vaccine escape mutations. Beyond induction of strong neutralizing antibodies, the mechanism underlying this broad protection spectrum involves a robust protective T-cell immunity, unaffected by the recent mutations accumulated in the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Use of lentiviral vectors in vaccination

Ku MW, Charneau P, and Majlessi L.

Ku et al, Expert Rev Vaccines. Oct 11, 2021

Lentiviral vectors have emerged as powerful vectors for vaccination, due to their high efficiency to transduce dendritic cells and to induce long-lasting humoral immunity, CD8+ T cells, and effective protection in numerous preclinical animal models of infection and oncology. Here, we reviewed the literature, highlighting the relevance of lentiviral vectors in vaccinology. We recapitulated both their virological and immunological aspects of lentiviral vectors. We compared lentiviral vectors to the gold standard viral vaccine vectors, i.e., adenoviral vectors, and updated the latest results in lentiviral vector-based vaccination in preclinical models. Lentiviral vectors are non-replicative, negligibly inflammatory, and not targets of preexisting immunity in human populations. These are major characteristics to consider in vaccine development. The potential of lentiviral vectors to transduce non-dividing cells, including dendritic cells, is determinant in their strong immunogenicity. Notably, lentiviral vectors can be engineered to target antigen expression to specific host cells. The very weak inflammatory properties of these vectors allow their use in mucosal vaccination, with particular interest in infectious diseases that affect the lungs or brain, including COVID-19. Recent results in various preclinical models have reinforced the interest of these vectors in prophylaxis against infectious diseases and in onco-immunotherapy.


Lentiviral vector induces high-quality memory T cells via dendritic cells transduction

Ku MK, Authié P., Nevo F., Souque P., Bourgine M., Romano M., Charneau P*, and Majlessi L*.

*co-senior authors

Ku et al, Comm. Biol. June 10, 2021

We report a lentiviral vector harboring the human β2-microglobulin promoter, with predominant expression in immune cells and minimal proximal enhancers to improve vector safety. This lentiviral vector efficiently transduces major dendritic cell subsets in vivo. With a mycobacterial immunogen, we observed distinct functional signatures and memory phenotype in lentiviral vector- or Adenovirus type 5 (Ad5)-immunized mice, despite comparable antigen-specific CD8+ T cell magnitudes. Compared to Ad5, lentiviral vector immunization resulted in higher multifunctional and IL-2-producing CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, lentiviral vector immunization primed CD8+ T cells towards central memory phenotype, while Ad5 immunization favored effector memory phenotype. Studies using HIV antigens in outbred rats demonstrated additional clear-cut evidence for an immunogenic advantage of lentiviral vector over Ad5. Additionally, lentiviral vector provided enhance therapeutic anti-tumor protection than Ad5. In conclusion, coupling lentiviral vector with β2-microglobulin promoter represents a promising approach to produce long-lasting, high-quality cellular immunity for vaccinal purposes.


Intranasal vaccination with a lentiviral vector protects against SARS-CoV-2 in preclinical animal models

Ku, MW£, M. Bourgine£, P. Authié£, J. Lopez, K. Nemirov, F. Moncoq, A. Noirat, B. Vesin, F. Nevo, C. Blanc, P. Souque, H. Tabbal, E. Simon, D. Hardy, M. Le Dudal, F. Guinet, L. Fiette, H. Mouquet, F. Anna, A. Martin, N. Escriou, L. Majlessi* and P. Charneau*

£co-first authors
*co-senior authors

Ku, Bourgine, Authié et al, Cell host & Microbes Feb 10, 2021

To develop a vaccine candidate against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we generated a lentiviral vector (LV) eliciting neutralizing antibodies against the Spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. Systemic vaccination by this vector in mice, in which the expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor hACE2 has been induced by transduction of respiratory tract cells by an adenoviral vector, confers only partial protection despite high levels of serum neutralizing activity. However, eliciting an immune response in the respiratory tract through an intranasal boost results in a >3 log10 decrease in the lung viral loads and reduces local inflammation. Moreover, both integrative and non-integrative LV platforms display strong vaccine efficacy and inhibit lung deleterious injury in golden hamsters, which are naturally permissive to SARS-CoV-2 replication and closely mirror human COVID-19 physiopathology. Our results provide evidence of marked prophylactic effects of LV-based vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 and designate intranasal immunization as a powerful approach against COVID-19.


A Single Dose of NILV-Based Vaccine Provides Rapid and Durable Protection against Zika

Ku, M.W., F. Anna, P. Souque, S. Petres, M. Prot, E. Simon-Loriere, P. Charneau and M. Bourgine

Ku et al. Molecular Therapy, Aug 05, 2020

Zika virus, a member of the Flaviviridae family, is primarily transmitted by infected Aedes species mosquitoes. In 2016, Zika infection emerged as a global health emergency for its explosive spread and the remarkable neurological defects in the developing fetus. Development of a safe and effective Zika vaccine remains a high priority owing to the risk of re-emergence and limited understanding of Zika virus epidemiology. We engineered a non-integrating lentiviralvector(NILV)-based Zika vaccine encoding the consensus pre-membrane and envelope glycoprotein of circulating Zika virus strains. We further evaluated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of this vaccine in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent mouse models. A single immunization in both mouse models elicited a robust neutralizing antibody titer and afforded full protection against Zika challenge as early as 7 days post-immunization. This NILV-based vaccine also induced a long-lasting immunity when immunized mice were challenged 6 months after immunization. Altogether, our NILV Zika vaccine provides a rapid yet durable protection through a single dose of immunization without extra adjuvant formulation. Our data suggest a promising Zika vaccine candidate for an emergency situation, and demonstrate the capacity of lentiviral vector as an efficient vaccine delivery platform.


Multiplexed Quantitation of Intraphagocyte Mycobacterium tuberculosis Secreted Protein Effectors

Sayes F, C. Blanc, L.S. Ates, N. Deboosere, M. Orgeur, F. Le Chevalier, MI. Gröschel, W. Frigui, OR Song, R. Lo-Man, F. Brossier, W. Sougakoff, D. Bottai, P. Brodin, P. Charneau, R. Brosch, and L. Majlessi

Cell reports, Apr 24, 2018

The pathogenic potential of Mycobacterium tuberculosis largely depends on ESX secretion systems exporting members of the multigenic Esx, Esp, and PE/PPE protein families. To study the secretion and regulation patterns of these proteins while circumventing immune cross-reactions due to their extensive sequence homologies, we developed an approach that relies on the recognition of their MHC class II epitopes by highly discriminative T cell receptors (TCRs) of a panel of T cell hybridomas. The latter were engineered so that each expresses a unique fluorescent reporter linked to specific antigen recognition. The resulting polychromatic and multiplexed imaging assay enabled us to measure the secretion of mycobacterial effectors inside infected host cells. We applied this novel technology to a large panel of mutants, clinical isolates, and host-cell types to explore the host-mycobacteria interplay and its impact on the intracellular bacterial secretome, which also revealed the unexpected capacity of phagocytes from lung granuloma to present mycobacterial antigens via MHC class II.


A Japanese Encephalitis Virus Vaccine Inducing Antibodies Strongly Enhancing In Vitro Infection Is Protective in Pigs

Viruses | 2017

The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is responsible for zoonotic severe viral encephalitis transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. Although birds are reservoirs, pigs play a role as amplifying hosts, and are affected in particular through reproductive failure. Here, we show that a lentiviral JEV vector, expressing JEV prM and E proteins (TRIP/JEV.prME), but not JEV infection induces strong antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) activities for infection of macrophages. Such antibodies strongly promoted infection via Fc receptors. ADE was found at both neutralizing and non-neutralizing serum dilutions. Nevertheless, in vivo JEV challenge of pigs demonstrated comparable protection induced by the TRIP/JEV.prME vaccine or heterologous JEV infection. Thus, either ADE antibodies cause no harm in the presence of neutralizing antibodies or may even have protective effects in vivo in pigs. Additionally, we found that both pre-infected and vaccinated pigs were not fully protected as low levels of viral RNA were found in lymphoid and nervous system tissue in some animals. Strikingly, the virus from the pre-infection persisted in the tonsils throughout the experiment. Finally, despite the vaccination challenge, viral RNA was detected in the oronasal swabs in all vaccinated pigs. These latter data are relevant when JEV vaccination is employed in pigs.


A Lentiviral Vector Expressing Japanese Encephalitis Virus-like Particles Elicits Broad Neutralizing Antibody Response in Pigs

PLoS neglected tropical diseases | 2015

“Background: Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of viral encephalitis in Southeast Asia. Vaccination of domestic pigs has been suggested as a “”one health”” strategy to reduce viral disease transmission to humans. The efficiency of two lentiviral TRIP/JEV vectors expressing the JEV envelope prM and E glycoproteins at eliciting protective humoral response was assessed in a mouse model and piglets.

Methodology/principal findings: A gene encoding the envelope proteins prM and E from a genotype 3 JEV strain was inserted into a lentiviral TRIP vector. Two lentiviral vectors TRIP/JEV were generated, each expressing the prM signal peptide followed by the prM protein and the E glycoprotein, the latter being expressed either in its native form or lacking its two C-terminal transmembrane domains. In vitro transduction of cells with the TRIP/JEV vector expressing the native prM and E resulted in the efficient secretion of virus-like particles of Japanese encephalitis virus. Immunization of BALB/c mice with TRIP/JEV vectors resulted in the production of IgGs against Japanese encephalitis virus, and the injection of a second dose one month after the prime injection greatly boosted antibody titers. The TRIP/JEV vectors elicited neutralizing antibodies against JEV strains belonging to genotypes 1, 3, and 5. Immunization of piglets with two doses of the lentiviral vector expressing JEV virus-like particles led to high titers of anti-JEV antibodies, that had efficient neutralizing activity regardless of the JEV genotype tested.

Conclusions/significance: Immunization of pigs with the lentiviral vector expressing JEV virus-like particles is particularly efficient to prime antigen-specific humoral immunity and trigger neutralizing antibody responses against JEV genotypes 1, 3, and 5. The titers of neutralizing antibodies elicited by the TRIP/JEV vector are sufficient to confer protection in domestic pigs against different genotypes of JEV and this could be of a great utility in endemic regions where more than one genotype is circulating.”


A nonintegrative lentiviral vector-based vaccine provides long-term sterile protection against malaria

PloS one | 2012

Trials testing the RTS,S candidate malaria vaccine and radiation-attenuated sporozoites (RAS) have shown that protective immunity against malaria can be induced and that an effective vaccine is not out of reach. However, longer-term protection and higher protection rates are required to eradicate malaria from the endemic regions. It implies that there is still a need to explore new vaccine strategies. Lentiviral vectors are very potent at inducing strong immunological memory. However their integrative status challenges their safety profile. Eliminating the integration step obviates the risk of insertional oncogenesis. Providing they confer sterile immunity, nonintegrative lentiviral vectors (NILV) hold promise as mass pediatric vaccine by meeting high safety standards. In this study, we have assessed the protective efficacy of NILV against malaria in a robust pre-clinical model. Mice were immunized with NILV encoding Plasmodium yoelii Circumsporozoite Protein (Py CSP) and challenged with sporozoites one month later. In two independent protective efficacy studies, 50% (37.5-62.5) of the animals were fully protected (p = 0.0072 and p = 0.0008 respectively when compared to naive mice). The remaining mice with detectable parasitized red blood cells exhibited a prolonged patency and reduced parasitemia. Moreover, protection was long-lasting with 42.8% sterile protection six months after the last immunization (p = 0.0042). Post-challenge CD8+ T cells to CSP, in contrast to anti-CSP antibodies, were associated with protection (r = -0.6615 and p = 0.0004 between the frequency of IFN-g secreting specific T cells in spleen and parasitemia). However, while NILV and RAS immunizations elicited comparable immunity to CSP, only RAS conferred 100% of sterile protection. Given that a better protection can be anticipated from a multi-antigen vaccine and an optimized vector design, NILV appear as a promising malaria vaccine.


HIV-derived vectors for therapy and vaccination against HIV

Vaccine | 2012

Despite being at the origin of one of the world’s most devastating public health concerns, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has properties that can be harnessed for therapeutic purposes. Indeed, the ability of HIV to efficiently deliver its genome into the nuclear compartment makes it an ideal vector for gene delivery into target cells. The design of so-called HIV-derived vectors, or more generally lentiviral vectors (LVs), consists in keeping only the parts of the virus that ensure efficient nuclear delivery while entirely removing all coding sequences that contribute towards the replication and pathogenesis of the virus: as a result, the vector genome is composed of less than 10% of the original virus genome and exclusively cis-active sequences. Proteins required for the formation of the lentivector particles and for the early steps of viral replication (including Gag- and Pol-derived proteins) are provided in trans. HIV-derived vectors are thus non-replicative virus shells that deliver genes of interest into target cells with high efficiency. Undoubtedly, there is a hopeful twist of fate in our fight against AIDS, which consists in using these vectors to achieve gene therapy and vaccination against HIV itself. This review summarises the current generation of LVs with a special focus on vaccine applications against AIDS. Preclinical data are very encouraging and efforts are ongoing to optimise these vectors, to increase their safety and improve their immunogenicity.


Reprogrammed quiescent B cells provide an effective cellular therapy against chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

European journal of immunology | 2011

Activated B cells can regulate immunity and have been envisaged as a potential cell-based therapy for treating autoimmune diseases. However, activated human B cells can also propagate immune responses, and the effects resulting from their infusion into patients cannot be predicted. This led us to consider resting B cells, which in contrast are poorly immunogenic, as an alternative cellular platform for the suppression of unwanted immunity. Here, we report that resting B cells can be directly engineered with lentiviral vectors to express antigens in a remarkably simple, rapid, and effective way. Notably, this neither required nor induced activation of the B cells. With this approach we were able to produce reprogrammed resting B cells that inhibited antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells, CD8(+) T cells, and B cells upon adoptive transfer in mice. Furthermore, resting B cells engineered to ectopically express myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antigen protected recipient mice from severe disability and demyelination in EAE, and even induced complete remission from disease in mice lacking functional natural Tregs, which otherwise developed chronic paralysis. In conclusion, our study introduces reprogrammed quiescent B cells as a novel tool for suppressing undesirable immunity.


Immunogenicity of a recombinant lentiviral vector carrying human telomerase tumor antigen in HLA-B*0702 transgenic mice

Vaccine | 2010

“Over expression of telomerase represents a hallmark of cancer cells and the induction of T cell immunity against this universal tumor antigen have gained promising interest for anticancer immunotherapy. In this study we evaluated a recombinant lentiviral vector expressing the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (lv-hTERT) vaccination in the humanized HLA-B*0702 transgenic (HLA-B7 Tg) mice. A single lv-hTERT vector immunization induces potent and broad HLA-B7-restricted CTL responses against hTERT. Unlike conventional hTERT peptide or DNA immunization, the lv-hTERT vector triggers high and sustained IFN-gamma producing CD8(+) T cell responses in HLA-B7 Tg mice. The avidity and in vivo cytotoxicity of CD8(+) T cells were stronger in lv-hTERT vector-immunized mice than in hTERT peptide or DNA vaccinated groups. The study also showed that the use of prime-boost vaccination drastically improved the magnitude and strength of lentivector-primed CD8(+) T cells. Our data indicated that lentiviral delivery of hTERT is suitable for enhancing cellular immunity against hTERT and offers a promising alternative for telomerase-based cancer vaccine.”


Targeting human telomerase reverse transcriptase with recombinant lentivector is highly effective to stimulate antitumor CD8 T-cell immunity in vivo

Blood | 2010

The success of active immunotherapy is based on the vaccine’s ability to overcome immune tolerance through recalibrating the immune system so that it is able to recognize tumor antigens as foreign rather than self. In this study, we used a lentiviral vector system to target human telomerase reverse transcriptase (lv-hTERT), a widely expressed tumor antigen. Immunization of HLA-A*0201 transgenic HHD mice with recombinant lv-hTERT vector induces potent and diversified cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses that recognize in vitro murine tumor cells, which overexpress telomerase. Compared with peptide-based vaccinations, the lv-hTERT vector triggers better and more sustained CD8(+) T-cell response against self/TERT epitope in vivo. The study found that the additional use of a heterologous boosted vaccination drastically improves self/TERT-specific CD8 responses in lv-hTERT primed mice. Both primary and long-lasting self/TERT-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses induced with Iv-hTERT vector required the presence of CD4 T cells in vivo. This lv-hTERT-based active immunotherapy efficiently inhibits the growth of telomerase expressing tumors (B16/HLA-A2.1 murine melanoma) in HHD mice. These data show that targeting hTERT with lentivector is highly effective in stimulating a broad range of CD8 T-cell immunity that can be exploited for cancer immunotherapy.


Lentiviral vector-based prime/boost vaccination against AIDS: pilot study shows protection against Simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac251 challenge in macaques

Journal of virology | 2009

AIDS vaccination has a pressing need for more potent vaccination vectors capable of eliciting strong, diversified, and long-lasting cellular immune responses against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Lentiviral vectors have demonstrated efficiency not only as gene delivery vehicles for gene therapy applications but also as vaccination tools. This is likely due to their ability to transduce nondividing cells, including dendritic cells, enabling sustained endogenous antigen presentation and thus the induction of high proportions of specific cytotoxic T cells and long-lasting memory T cells. We show in a first proof-of-concept pilot study that a prime/boost vaccination strategy using lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with a glycoprotein G from two non-cross-reactive vesicular stomatitis virus serotypes elicited robust and broad cellular immune responses against the vector-encoded antigen, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) GAG, in cynomolgus macaques. Vaccination conferred strong protection against a massive intrarectal challenge with SIVmac251, as evidenced both by the reduction of viremia at the peak of acute infection (a mean of over 2 log(10) fold reduction) and by the full preservation of the CD28(+) CD95(+) memory CD4(+) T cells during the acute phase, a strong correlate of protection against pathogenesis. Although vaccinees continued to display lower viremia than control macaques during the early chronic phase, these differences were not statistically significant by day 50 postchallenge. A not-optimized SIV GAG antigen was chosen to show the strong potential of the lentiviral vector system for vaccination. Given that a stronger protection can be anticipated from a modern HIV-1 antigen design, gene transfer vectors derived from HIV-1 appear as promising candidates for vaccination against HIV-1 infection.


Bisarsenical labeling of HIV-1 for real-time fluorescence microscopy

Methods Mol. Biol | 2009

Imaging studies have benefited from the development of a novel technique for non-destructive labeling of proteins within living cells, based on the use of a reagent called FlAsH-EDT2, a bisarsenical derivative of fluorescein capable of binding with high affinity and specificity to a tetracysteine motif in the protein of interest. This technique has been adapted for the stable, sensitive and specific molecular tagging of HIV-1 IN enabling the tracking of incoming viral particles inside infected living cells. Here we present the experimental steps required for the efficient labeling of HIV-1 IN, namely, molecular insertion of a tetracysteine tag, production of viruses, labeling in vitro of tagged viruses, infection of target cells and visualization of particles by fluorescence microscopy.


Protective antiviral immunity conferred by a nonintegrative lentiviral vector-based vaccine

PloS one | 2008

Lentiviral vectors are under intense scrutiny as unique candidate viral vector vaccines against tumor and aggressive pathogens because of their ability to initiate potent and durable specific immune responses. Strategies that alleviate safety concerns will facilitate the clinical developments involving lentiviral vectors. In this respect, the development of integration deficient lentiviral vectors circumvents the safety concerns relative to insertional mutagenesis and might pave the way for clinical applications in which gene transfer is targeted to non-dividing cells. We thus evaluated the potential use of nonintegrative lentiviral vectors as vaccination tools since the main targeted cell in vaccination procedures is the non-dividing dendritic cell (DC). In this study, we demonstrated that a single administration of nonintegrative vectors encoding a secreted form of the envelope of a virulent strain of West Nile Virus (WNV) induces a robust B cell response. Remarkably, nonintegrative lentiviral vectors fully protected mice from a challenge with a lethal dose of WNV and a single immunization was sufficient to induce early and long-lasting protective immunity. Thus, nonintegrative lentiviral vectors might represent a safe and efficacious vaccination platform for the development of prophylactic vaccines against infectious agents.


HIV-1 DNA Flap formation promotes uncoating of the pre-integration complex at the nuclear pore

EMBO journal | 2007

The HIV-1 central DNA Flap acts as a cis-acting determinant of HIV-1 genome nuclear import. Indeed, DNA-Flap re-insertion within lentiviral-derived gene transfer vectors strongly stimulates gene transfer efficiencies. In this study, we sought to understand the mechanisms by which the central DNA Flap mediates HIV-1 nuclear import. Here, we show that reverse transcription (RT degrees) occurs within an intact capsid (CA) shell, independently of the routing process towards the nuclear membrane, and that uncoating is not an immediate post-fusion event, but rather occurs at the nuclear pore upon RT degrees completion. We provide the first observation with ultrastructural resolution of intact intracellular HIV-1 CA shells by scanning electron microscopy. In the absence of central DNA Flap formation, uncoating is impaired and linear DNA remains trapped within an integral CA shell precluding translocation through the nuclear pore. These data show that DNA Flap formation, the very last event of HIV-1 RT degrees, acts as a viral promoting element for the uncoating of HIV-1 at the nuclear pore.


Lentiviral vectors encoding HIV-1 polyepitopes induce broad CTL responses in vivo

Molecular therapy | 2007

Lentiviral vectors have been tested as vaccination vectors in anti-tumoral and anti-viral models. They efficiently transduce dendritic cells and stimulate strong T-cell responses against the encoded antigen. However, their capacity to stimulate a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response against several antigens has not been evaluated. Broad anti-human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) T-cell immune responses are important for the control of HIV replication. We evaluated the potential of polyepitope-encoding lentiviral vectors to induce broad anti-HIV CTL responses. We constructed two lentiviral vectors coding for an HLA-A2- or HLA-B7-restricted polyepitope and evaluated their immunogenicity by direct injection of vector particles in HLA-A2 or HLA-B7 transgenic mice. In vitro cytotoxicity assays showed that a single immunization induces a strong, diversified, and long-lasting CTL response in both mouse models. CTL responses were directed against all 13 epitopes in the HLA-A2 system and 8 out of 12 in the HLA-B7 system. A second immunization augmented the number of responding mice in the HLA-A2 system but not in the HLA-B7 system. HLA-B7-immunized mice mounted strong interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-secreting T-cell responses against a majority of the epitopes and lysed peptide-loaded target cells in vivo. CTL responses in HLA-B7 mice were only partially dependent on CD4 T-cell help. This work underlines the potential of lentiviral vectors as candidates for therapeutic vaccination against acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.


A single immunization with a minute dose of a lentiviral vector-based vaccine is highly effective at eliciting protective humoral immunity against West Nile virus

The journal of gene medicine | 2006

Lentiviral vectors, due to their capacity to transduce non-dividing cells, have become precious and worldwide used gene transfer systems. Their ability to efficiently and stably transduce dendritic cells (DCs) has led to their successful use as vaccination vectors for eliciting strong, specific and protective cellular immune responses mostly in anti-tumoral but also in anti-viral applications. However, the ability of lentiviral vectors to elicit an antibody-based protective immunity has, to date, not been evaluated. In the present study, we evaluated the potential of a lentiviral vector-based vaccine to elicit humoral immunity against West Nile virus (WNV). WNV is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that emerged in North America and causes encephalitis in humans, birds and horses. Neutralizing anti-WNV antibodies have been shown to be crucial for protection against WNV encephalitis.


Direct recognition by alphabeta cytolytic T cells of Hfe, a MHC class Ib molecule without antigen-presenting function

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | 2005

Crystallographic analysis of human Hfe has documented an overall structure similar to classical (class Ia) MHC molecules with a peptide binding groove deprived of ligand. Thus, to address the question of whether alphabeta T cells could recognize MHC molecules independently of bound ligands, we studied human and mouse Hfe interactions with T lymphocytes. We provide formal evidence of direct cytolytic recognition of human Hfe by mouse alphabeta T cell receptors (TCR) in HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice and that this interaction results in ZAP-70 phosphorylation. Furthermore, direct recognition of mouse Hfe molecules by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) was demonstrated in DBA/2 Hfe knockout mice. These CTLs express predominantly two T cell antigen receptor alpha variable gene segments (AV6.1 and AV6.6). Interestingly, in wild-type mice we identified a subset of CD8+ T cells positively selected by Hfe that expresses the AV6.1/AV6.6 gene segments. T cell antigen receptor recognition of MHC molecules independently of bound ligand has potential general implications in alloreactivity and identifies in the Hfe case a cognitive link supporting the concept that the immune system could be involved in the control of iron metabolism.


A single injection of recombinant measles virus vaccines expressing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 clade B envelope glycoproteins induces neutralizing antibodies and cellular immune responses to HIV

Journal of virology | 2004

The anchored and secreted forms of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) 89.6 envelope glycoprotein, either complete or after deletion of the V3 loop, were expressed in a cloned attenuated measles virus (MV) vector. The recombinant viruses grew as efficiently as the parental virus and expressed high levels of the HIV protein. Expression was stable during serial passages. The immunogenicity of these recombinant vectors was tested in mice susceptible to MV and in macaques. High titers of antibodies to both MV and HIV-Env were obtained after a single injection in susceptible mice. These antibodies neutralized homologous SHIV89.6p virus, as well as several heterologous HIV-1 primary isolates. A gp160 mutant in which the V3 loop was deleted induced antibodies that neutralized heterologous viruses more efficiently than antibodies induced by the native envelope protein. A high level of CD8+ and CD4+ cells specific for HIV gp120 was also detected in MV-susceptible mice. Furthermore, recombinant MV was able to raise immune responses against HIV in mice and macaques with a preexisting anti-MV immunity. Therefore, recombinant MV vaccines inducing anti-HIV neutralizing antibodies and specific T lymphocytes responses deserve to be tested as a candidate AIDS vaccine.