Assessment of an LSDV-Vectored Vaccine for Heterologous Prime-Boost Immunizations against HIV

The modest protective effects of the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial have prompted the further exploration of improved poxvirus vector systems that can yield better immune responses and protection. In this study, a recombinant lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) expressing HIV-1 CAP256.SU gp150 (Env) and a subtype C mosaic Gag was constructed (LSDVGC5) and compared to the equivalent recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVAGC5). In vitro characterization confirmed that cells infected with recombinant LSDV produced Gag virus-like particles containing Env, and that Env expressed on the surface of the cells infected with LSDV was in a native-like conformation. This candidate HIV-1 vaccine (L) was tested in a rabbit model using different heterologous vaccination regimens, in combination with DNA (D) and MVA (M) vectors expressing the equivalent HIV-1 antigens. The four different vaccination regimens (DDMMLL, DDMLML, DDLMLM, and DDLLMM) all elicited high titers of binding and Tier 1A neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), and some regimens induced Tier 1B NAbs. Furthermore, two rabbits in the DDLMLM group developed low levels of autologous Tier 2 NAbs. The humoral immune responses elicited against HIV-1 Env by the recombinant LSDVGC5 were comparable to those induced by MVAGC5.