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Removal of the C6 vaccinia virus interferon-β inhibitor in the hepatitis C vaccine candidate MVA-HCV elicited in mice high immunogenicity in spite of reduced host gene expression

AuthorsQ. Marín, María; Pérez, Patricia; Gómez, Carmen E.; Sorzano, Carlos Óscar S.; Esteban, Mariano; García-Arriaza, J.
Host gene expression
Cellular responses
Humoral responses
Issue Date8-Aug-2018
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationViruses 10(8): 414 (2018)
AbstractHepatitis C virus (HCV) represents a major global health problem for which a vaccine is not available. Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-HCV is a unique HCV vaccine candidate based in the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector expressing the nearly full-length genome of HCV genotype 1a that elicits CD8+ T-cell responses in mice. With the aim to improve the immune response of MVA-HCV and because of the importance of interferon (IFN) in HCV infection, we deleted in MVA-HCV the vaccinia virus (VACV) C6L gene, encoding an inhibitor of IFN-β that prevents activation of the interferon regulatory factors 3 and 7 (IRF3 and IRF7). The resulting vaccine candidate (MVA-HCV ΔC6L) expresses all HCV antigens and deletion of C6L had no effect on viral growth in permissive chicken cells. In human monocyte-derived dendritic cells, infection with MVA-HCV ΔC6L triggered severe down-regulation of IFN-β, IFN-β-induced genes, and cytokines in a manner similar to MVA-HCV, as defined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and microarray analysis. In infected mice, both vectors had a similar profile of recruited immune cells and induced comparable levels of adaptive and memory HCV-specific CD8+ T-cells, mainly against p7 + NS2 and NS3 HCV proteins, with a T cell effector memory (TEM) phenotype. Furthermore, antibodies against E2 were also induced. Overall, our findings showed that while these vectors had a profound inhibitory effect on gene expression of the host, they strongly elicited CD8+ T cell and humoral responses against HCV antigens and to the virus vector. These observations add support to the consideration of these vectors as potential vaccine candidates against HCV.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.3390/v10080414
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