Combined prophylactic and therapeutic immune responses against human papillomaviruses induced by a thioredoxin-based L2-E7 nanoparticle vaccine.
ABSTRACT: Global burden of cervical cancer, the most common cause of mortality caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), is expected to increase during the next decade, mainly because current alternatives for HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening programs are costly to be established in low-and-middle income countries. Recently, we described the development of the broadly protective, thermostable vaccine antigen Trx-8mer-OVX313 based on the insertion of eight different minor capsid protein L2 neutralization epitopes into a thioredoxin scaffold from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus and conversion of the resulting antigen into a nanoparticle format (median radius ~9 nm) upon fusion with the heptamerizing OVX313 module. Here we evaluated whether the engineered thioredoxin scaffold, in addition to humoral immune responses, can induce CD8+ T-cell responses upon incorporation of MHC-I-restricted epitopes. By systematically examining the contribution of individual antigen modules, we demonstrated that B-cell and T-cell epitopes can be combined into a single antigen construct without compromising either immunogenicity. While CD8+ T-cell epitopes had no influence on B-cell responses, the L2 polytope (8mer) and OVX313-mediated heptamerization of the final antigen significantly increased CD8+ T-cell responses. In a proof-of-concept experiment, we found that vaccinated mice remained tumor-free even after two consecutive tumor challenges, while unvaccinated mice developed tumors. A cost-effective, broadly protective vaccine with both prophylactic and therapeutic properties represents a promising option to overcome the challenges associated with prevention and treatment of HPV-caused diseases.
Project description:Vaccines targeting the human papillomavirus (HPV) minor capsid protein L2 are emerging as chemico-physically robust and broadly protective alternatives to the current HPV (L1-VLP) vaccines. We have previously developed a trivalent L2 vaccine prototype exploiting Pyrococcus furiosus thioredoxin (PfTrx) as a thermostable scaffold for the separate presentation of three distinct HPV L2(20-38) epitopes. With the aim of achieving a highly immunogenic, yet simpler and more GMP-production affordable formulation, we report here on a novel thermostable nanoparticle vaccine relying on genetic fusion of PfTrx-L2 with the heptamerizing coiled-coil polypeptide OVX313. A prototype HPV16 monoepitope version of this nanoparticle vaccine (PfTrx-L2-OVX313; median radius: 8.6 ± 1.0 nm) proved to be approximately 10-fold more immunogenic and with a strikingly enhanced cross-neutralization capacity compared to its monomeric counterpart. Vaccine-induced (cross-)neutralizing responses were further potentiated in a multiepitope derivative displaying eight different L2(20-38) epitopes, which elicited neutralizing antibodies against 10 different HPVs including three viral types not represented in the vaccine. Considering the prospective safety of the PfTrx scaffold and of the OVX313 heptamerization module, PfTrx-OVX313 nanoparticles lend themselves as robust L2-based immunogens with a high translational potential as a 3rd generation HPV vaccine, but also as a novel and extremely versatile peptide-antigen presentation platform.
Project description:Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, most commonly types 6 (HPV-6) and 11 (HPV-11). Due to failed host immune responses, HPV is unable to be cleared from the host, resulting in recurrent growth of HPV-related lesions that can obstruct the lumen of the airway within the upper aerodigestive tract. In our murine model, the HPV-6b and HPV-11 E7 antigens are not innately immunogenic. In order to enhance the host immune responses against the HPV E7 antigen, we linked calreticulin (CRT) to HPV-6b E7 and found that vaccinating C57BL/6 mice with the HPV-6b CRT/E7 DNA vaccine is able to induce a CD8+ T cell response that recognizes an H-2D(b)-restricted E7aa21-29 epitope. Additionally, vaccination of HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice with HPV-6b CRT/E7 DNA generated a CD8+ T cell response against the E7aa82-90 epitope that was not observed in the wild-type C57BL/6 mice, indicating this T cell response is restricted to HLA-A*0201. In vivo cytotoxic T cell killing assays demonstrated that the vaccine-induced CD8+ T cells are able to efficiently kill target cells. Interestingly, the H-2D(b)-restricted E7aa21-29 sequence and the HLA-A*0201-restricted E7aa82-90 sequence are conserved between HPV-6b and HPV-11 and may represent shared immunogenic epitopes. The identification of the HPV-6b/HPV-11 CD8+ T cell epitopes facilitates the evaluation of various immunomodulatory strategies in preclinical models. More importantly, the identified HLA-A*0201-restricted T cell epitope may serve as a peptide vaccination strategy, as well as facilitate the monitoring of vaccine-induced HPV-specific immunologic responses in future human clinical trials.
Project description:We have examined non-replicative human papillomavirus (HPV) pseudovirions as an approach in the delivery of naked DNA vaccines without safety concerns associated with live viral vectors. In this study, we have generated HPV-16 pseudovirions encapsidating a DNA vaccine encoding the model antigen, ovalbumin (OVA) (HPV16-OVA pseudovirions). Vaccination with HPV16-OVA pseudovirions subcutaneously elicited significantly stronger OVA-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses compared with OVA DNA vaccination via gene gun in a dose-dependent manner. We showed that a single amino acid mutation in the L2 minor capsid protein that eliminates the infectivity of HPV16-OVA pseudovirion significantly decreased the antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell responses in vaccinated mice. Furthermore, a subset of CD11c+ cells and B220+ cells in draining lymph nodes became labeled on vaccination with fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled HPV16-OVA pseudovirions in injected mice. HPV pseudovirions were found to infect bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) in vitro. We also showed that pretreatment of HPV16-GFP pseudovirions with furin leads to enhanced HPV16-OVA pseudovirion infection of BMDCs and OVA antigen presentation. Our data suggest that DNA vaccines delivered using HPV pseudovirions represent an efficient delivery system that can potentially affect the field of DNA vaccine delivery.
Project description:Non-antigen-specific stimulatory cancer immunotherapies are commonly complicated by off-target effects. Antigen-specific immunotherapy, combining viral tumor antigen or personalized neoepitopes with immune targeting, offers a solution. However, the lack of flexible systems targeting tumor antigens to cross-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) limits clinical development. Although antigen-anti-Clec9A mAb conjugates target cross-presenting DCs, adjuvant must be codelivered for cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) induction. We functionalized tailored nanoemulsions encapsulating tumor antigens to target Clec9A (Clec9A-TNE). Clec9A-TNE encapsulating OVA antigen targeted and activated cross-presenting DCs without additional adjuvant, promoting antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation and CTL and antibody responses. OVA-Clec9A-TNE-induced DC activation required CD4 and CD8 epitopes, CD40, and IFN-?. Clec9A-TNE encapsulating HPV E6/E7 significantly suppressed HPV-associated tumor growth, while E6/E7-CpG did not. Clec9A-TNE loaded with pooled B16-F10 melanoma neoepitopes induced epitope-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses, permitting selection of immunogenic neoepitopes. Clec9A-TNE encapsulating 6 neoepitopes significantly suppressed B16-F10 melanoma growth in a CD4+ T cell-dependent manner. Thus, cross-presenting DCs targeted with antigen-Clec9A-TNE stimulate therapeutically effective tumor-specific immunity, dependent on T cell help.
Project description:Presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) predicts survival in many cancer types. In HPV-driven cancers, cervical and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (CSCC and OPSCC, respectively), numbers of infiltrating T cells, particularly CD8+ T cells, and presentation of HPV E6/E7 epitopes are associated with improved prognosis. Endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1) regulates the presented peptide repertoire, trimming peptide precursors prior to MHC I loading. ERAP1 is polymorphic, and allotypic variation of ERAP1 enzyme activity has an impact on the presented peptide repertoire. Individual SNPs are associated with incidence and outcome in a number of diseases, including CSCC. Here, we highlight the requirement for ERAP1 in the generation of HPV E6/E7 epitopes and show that the functional activity of ERAP1 allotype combinations identified in OPSCC correlate with tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T-cell (CD8)/TIL (CD8/TIL) status of the tumor. Functional analyses revealed that ERAP1 allotype combinations associated with CD8/TILlow tumors have a reduced capacity to generate both a model antigen SIINFEHL and the HPV-16 E782-90 epitope LLMGTLGIV from N-terminally extended precursor peptides. In contrast, ERAP1 allotypes from CD8/TILhigh tumors generated the epitopes efficiently. These data reveal that ERAP1 function correlates with CD8/TIL numbers and, by implication, prognosis, suggesting that the presentation of HPV-16 epitopes at the cell surface, resulting in an anti-HPV T-cell response, may depend on the ERAP1 allotype combinations expressed within an individual.
Project description:Background and aim:Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an oncogenic agent that causes over 90% of cases of cervical cancer in the world. Currently available prophylactic vaccines are type specific and have less therapeutic efficiency. Therefore, we aimed to predict the potential species-specific and therapeutic epitopes from the protein sequences of HPV45 by using different immunoinformatics tools. Methods:Initially, we determined the antigenic potential of late (L1 and L2) and early (E1, E2, E4, E5, E6, and E7) proteins. Then, major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes were selected based on their immunogenicity. In addition, epitope conservancy, population coverage (PC), and target receptor-binding affinity of the immunogenic epitopes were determined. Moreover, we predicted the possible CD8+, nested interferon gamma (IFN-?)-producing CD4+, and linear B-cell epitopes. Further, antigenicity, allergenicity, immunogenicity, and system biology-based virtual pathway associated with cervical cancer were predicted to confirm the therapeutic efficiency of overlapped epitopes. Results:Twenty-seven immunogenic epitopes were found to exhibit cross-protection (?55%) against the 15 high-risk HPV strains (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 68, 69, 73, and 82). The highest PC was observed in Europe (96.30%), North America (93.98%), West Indies (90.34%), North Africa (90.14%), and East Asia (89.47%). Binding affinities of 79 docked complexes observed as global energy ranged from -10.80 to -86.71 kcal/mol. In addition, CD8+ epitope-overlapped segments in CD4+ and B-cell epitopes demonstrated that immunogenicity and IFN-?-producing efficiency ranged from 0.0483 to 0.5941 and 0.046 to 18, respectively. Further, time core simulation revealed the overlapped epitopes involved in pRb, p53, COX-2, NF-X1, and HPV45 infection signaling pathways. Conclusion:Even though the results of this study need to be confirmed by further experimental peptide sensitization studies, the findings on immunogenic and IFN-?-producing CD8+ and overlapped epitopes provide new insights into HPV vaccine development.
Project description:The currently available nonavalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine exploits the highly antigenic L1 major capsid protein to promote high-titer neutralizing antibodies, but is limited to the HPV types included in the vaccine since the responses are highly type-specific. The limited cross-protection offered by the L1 virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine warrants further investigation into cross-protective L2 epitopes. The L2 proteins are yet to be fully characterized as to their precise placement in the virion. Adding to the difficulties in localizing L2, studies have suggested that L2 epitopes are not well exposed on the surface of the mature capsid prior to cellular engagement. Using a series of competition assays between previously mapped anti-L1 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) (H16.V5, H16.U4 and H16.7E) and novel anti-L2 mAbs, we probed the capsid surface for the location of an L2 epitope (aa17-36). The previously characterized L1 epitopes together with our competition data is consistent with a proposed L2 epitope within the canyons of pentavalent capsomers.
Project description:Both the Human papillomavirus (HPV) major (L1) and minor (L2) capsid proteins have been well investigated as potential vaccine candidates. The L1 protein first oligomerizes into pentamers, and these capsomers assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs) that are highly immunogenic. Here we examine the potential of using HPV type 16 (HPV-16) L1 subunits to display a well-characterized HPV-16 L2 epitope (LVEETSFIDAGAP), which is a common-neutralizing epitope for HPV types 6 and 16, in various regions of the L1 structure. The L2 sequence was introduced by PCR (by replacing 13 codons) into sequences coding for L1 surface loops D-E (chideltaC-L2), E-F (chideltaA-L2), and an internal loop C-D (chideltaH-L2); into the h4 helix (chideltaF-L2); and between h4 and beta-J structural regions (chideltaE-L2). The chimeric protein product was characterized using a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that bind to conformational and linear epitopes, as well as a polyclonal antiserum raised to the L2 epitope. All five chimeras reacted with the L2 serum. ChideltaA-L2, chideltaE-L2, and chideltaF-L2 reacted with all the L1 antibodies, chideltaC-L2 did not bind H16:V5 and H16:E70, and chideltaH-L2 did not bind any conformation-dependent MAb. The chimeric particles elicited high-titer anti-L1 immune responses in BALB/c mice. Of the five chimeras tested only chideltaH-L2 did not elicit an L2 response, while chideltaF-L2 elicited the highest L2 response. This study provides support for the use of PV particles as vectors to deliver various epitopes in a number of locations internal to the L1 protein and for the potential of using chimeric PV particles as multivalent vaccines. Moreover, it contributes to knowledge of the structure of HPV-16 L1 VLPs and their derivatives.
Project description:The induction of persistent intraepithelial CD8+ T cell responses may be key to the development of vaccines against mucosally transmitted pathogens, particularly for sexually transmitted diseases. Here we investigated CD8+ T cell responses in the female mouse cervicovaginal mucosa after intravaginal immunization with human papillomavirus vectors (HPV pseudoviruses) that transiently expressed a model antigen, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) M/M2, in cervicovaginal keratinocytes. An HPV intravaginal prime/boost with different HPV serotypes induced 10-fold more cervicovaginal antigen-specific CD8+ T cells than priming alone. Antigen-specific T cell numbers decreased only 2-fold after 6 months. Most genital antigen-specific CD8+ T cells were intra- or subepithelial, expressed ?E-integrin CD103, produced IFN-? and TNF-?, and displayed in vivo cytotoxicity. Using a sphingosine-1-phosphate analog (FTY720), we found that the primed CD8+ T cells proliferated in the cervicovaginal mucosa upon HPV intravaginal boost. Intravaginal HPV prime/boost reduced cervicovaginal viral titers 1,000-fold after intravaginal challenge with vaccinia virus expressing the CD8 epitope M2. In contrast, intramuscular prime/boost with an adenovirus type 5 vector induced a higher level of systemic CD8+ T cells but failed to induce intraepithelial CD103+CD8+ T cells or protect against recombinant vaccinia vaginal challenge. Thus, HPV vectors are attractive gene-delivery platforms for inducing durable intraepithelial cervicovaginal CD8+ T cell responses by promoting local proliferation and retention of primed antigen-specific CD8+ T cells.
Project description:Vaccines targeting conserved epitopes in the HPV minor capsid protein, L2, can elicit antibodies that can protect against a broad spectrum of HPV types that are associated with cervical cancer and other HPV malignancies. Thus, L2 vaccines have been explored as alternatives to the current HPV vaccines, which are largely type-specific. In this study we assessed the immunogenicity of peptides spanning the N-terminal domain of L2 linked to the surface of a highly immunogenic bacteriophage virus-like particle (VLP) platform. Although all of the HPV16 L2 peptide-displaying VLPs elicited high-titer anti-peptide antibody responses, only a subset of the immunogens elicited antibody responses that were strongly protective from HPV16 pseudovirus (PsV) infection in a mouse genital challenge model. One of these peptides, mapping to HPV16 L2 amino acids 65-85, strongly neutralized HPV16 PsV but showed little ability to cross-neutralize other high-risk HPV types. In an attempt to broaden the protection generated through vaccination with this peptide, we immunized mice with VLPs displaying a peptide that represented a consensus sequence from high-risk and other HPV types. Vaccinated mice produced antibodies with broad, high-titer neutralizing activity against all of the HPV types that we tested. Therefore, immunization with virus-like particles displaying a consensus HPV sequence is an effective method to broaden neutralizing antibody responses against a type-specific epitope.