Induction of genotype cross-reactive, hepatitis C virus-specific, cellmediated immunity in DNA-vaccinated mice

Danushka K. Wijesundara, Jason Gummow, Yanrui Li, Wenbo Yu, Benjamin J. Quah, Charani Ranasinghe, Joseph Torresi, Eric J. Gowans*, Branka Grubor-Bauk

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    A universal hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine should elicit multiantigenic, multigenotypic responses, which are more likely to protect against challenge with the range of genotypes and subtypes circulating in the community. A vaccine cocktail and vaccines encoding consensus HCV sequences are attractive approaches to achieve this goal. Consequently, in a series of mouse vaccination studies, we compared the immunogenicity of a DNA vaccine encoding a consensus HCV nonstructural 5B (NS5B) protein to that of a cocktail of DNA plasmids encoding the genotype 1b (Gt1b) and Gt3a NS5B proteins. To complement this study, we assessed responses to a multiantigenic cocktail regimen by comparing a DNA vaccine cocktail encoding Gt1b and Gt3a NS3, NS4, and NS5B proteins to a single-genotype NS3/ 4/5B DNA vaccine. To thoroughly evaluate in vivo cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) and T helper (Th) cell responses against Gt1b and Gt3a HCV peptide-pulsed target cells, we exploited a novel fluorescent-target array (FTA). FTA and enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISpot) analyses collectively indicated that the cocktail regimens elicited higher responses to Gt1b and Gt3a NS5B proteins than those with the consensus vaccine, while the multiantigenic DNA cocktail significantly increased the responses to NS3 and NS5B compared to those elicited by the single-genotype vaccines. Thus, a DNA cocktail vaccination regimen is more effective than a consensus vaccine or a monovalent vaccine at increasing the breadth of multigenotypic T cell responses, which has implications for the development of vaccines for communities where multiple HCV genotypes circulate.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere02133-17
    JournalJournal of Virology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


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