group leader: Prof. Guzman

Recent Submissions

  • Mucosal CD8+ T cell responses induced by an MCMV based vaccine vector confer protection against influenza challenge.

    Zheng, Xiaoyan; Oduro, Jennifer D; Boehme, Julia D; Borkner, Lisa; Ebensen, Thomas; Heise, Ulrike; Gereke, Marcus; Pils, Marina C; Krmpotic, Astrid; Guzmán, Carlos A; et al. (PLOS, 2019-09-01)
    Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a ubiquitous β-herpesvirus that establishes life-long latent infection in a high percentage of the population worldwide. CMV induces the strongest and most durable CD8+ T cell response known in human clinical medicine. Due to its unique properties, the virus represents a promising candidate vaccine vector for the induction of persistent cellular immunity. To take advantage of this, we constructed a recombinant murine CMV (MCMV) expressing an MHC-I restricted epitope from influenza A virus (IAV) H1N1 within the immediate early 2 (ie2) gene. Only mice that were immunized intranasally (i.n.) were capable of controlling IAV infection, despite the greater potency of the intraperitoneally (i.p.) vaccination in inducing a systemic IAV-specific CD8+ T cell response. The protective capacity of the i.n. immunization was associated with its ability to induce IAV-specific tissue-resident memory CD8+ T (CD8TRM) cells in the lungs. Our data demonstrate that the protective effect exerted by the i.n. immunization was critically mediated by antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. CD8TRM cells promoted the induction of IFNγ and chemokines that facilitate the recruitment of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells to the lungs. Overall, our results showed that locally applied MCMV vectors could induce mucosal immunity at sites of entry, providing superior immune protection against respiratory infections.
  • Neutral Lipopolyplexes for In Vivo Delivery of Conventional and Replicative RNA Vaccine.

    Perche, Federico; Clemençon, Rudy; Schulze, Kai; Ebensen, Thomas; Guzmán, Carlos A; Pichon, Chantal; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-09-06)
    Nucleic acid vaccination relies on injecting DNA or RNA coding antigen(s) to induce a protective immune response. RNA vaccination is being increasingly used in preclinical and clinical studies. However, few delivery systems have been reported for in vivo delivery of RNA of different sizes. Using a tripartite formulation with RNA, cationic polymer, and anionic liposomes, we were able to encapsulate RNA into neutral lipopolyplexes (LPPs). LPPs were stable in vitro and successfully delivered conventional RNA and replicative RNA to dendritic cells in cellulo. Their injection led to reporter gene expression in mice. Finally, administration of LPP-Replicon RNA (RepRNA) led to an adaptive immune response against the antigen coded by the RepRNA. Accordingly, LPPs may represent a universal formulation for RNA delivery.
  • In vivo Neutralization of Pro-inflammatory Cytokines During Secondary Streptococcus pneumoniae Infection Post Influenza A Virus Infection

    Sharma-Chawla, Niharika; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Christen, Henrike; Boehme, Julia D.; Kershaw, Olivia; Schreiber, Jens; Guzmán, Carlos A.; Bruder, Dunja; Hernandez-Vargas, Esteban A.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-08-14)
    An overt pro-inflammatory immune response is a key factor contributing to lethal pneumococcal infection in an influenza pre-infected host and represents a potential target for therapeutic intervention. However, there is a paucity of knowledge about the level of contribution of individual cytokines. Based on the predictions of our previous mathematical modeling approach, the potential benefit of IFN-γ- and/or IL-6-specific antibody-mediated cytokine neutralization was explored in C57BL/6 mice infected with the influenza A/PR/8/34 strain, which were subsequently infected with the Streptococcus pneumoniae strain TIGR4 on day 7 post influenza. While single IL-6 neutralization had no effect on respiratory bacterial clearance, single IFN-γ neutralization enhanced local bacterial clearance in the lungs. Concomitant neutralization of IFN-γ and IL-6 significantly reduced the degree of pneumonia as well as bacteremia compared to the control group, indicating a positive effect for the host during secondary bacterial infection. The results of our model-driven experimental study reveal that the predicted therapeutic value of IFN-γ and IL-6 neutralization in secondary pneumococcal infection following influenza infection is tightly dependent on the experimental protocol while at the same time paving the way toward the development of effective immune therapies.
  • Invariant NKT Cell-Mediated Modulation of ILC1s as a Tool for Mucosal Immune Intervention.

    Trittel, Stephanie; Vashist, Neha; Ebensen, Thomas; Chambers, Benedict J; Guzmán, Carlos A; Riese, Peggy; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    Non-NK group 1 innate lymphoid cells (ILC1s), mainly investigated in the mucosal areas of the intestine, are well-known to contribute to anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial immune responses. Recently, our group revealed that lung ILC1s become activated during murine influenza infection, thereby contributing to viral clearance. In this context, worldwide seasonal influenza infections often result in severe disease outbreaks leading to high morbidity and mortality. Therefore, new immune interventions are urgently needed. In contrast to NK cells, the potential of non-NK ILC1s to become functionally tailored by immune modulators to contribute to the combat against mucosal-transmitted viral pathogens has not yet been addressed. The present study aimed at assessing the potential of ILC1s to become modulated by iNKT cells activated through the CD1d agonist αGalCerMPEG. Our results demonstrate an improved functional responsiveness of murine lung and splenic ILC1s following iNKT cell stimulation by the mucosal route, as demonstrated by enhanced surface expression of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), CD49a and CD28, and increased secretion of IFNγ. Interestingly, iNKT cell stimulation also induced the expression of the immune checkpoint molecules GITR and CTLA-4, which represent crucial points of action for immune regulation. An in vivo influenza infection model revealed that intranasal activation of ILC1s by αGalCerMPEG contributed to increased viral clearance as shown by reduced viral loads in the lungs. The findings that ILC1s can become modulated by mucosally activated iNKT cells in a beneficial manner emphasize their up to now underestimated potential and renders them to be considered as targets for novel immune interventions.
  • The STING activator c-di-AMP exerts superior adjuvant properties than the formulation poly(I:C)/CpG after subcutaneous vaccination with soluble protein antigen or DEC-205-mediated antigen targeting to dendritic cells.

    Volckmar, Julia; Knop, Laura; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Schulze, Kai; Ebensen, Thomas; Guzmán, Carlos A; Bruder, Dunja; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-08-14)
    Vaccination is the most efficient strategy to protect from infectious diseases and the induction of a protective immune response not only depends on the nature of the antigen, but is also influenced by the vaccination strategy and the co-administration of adjuvants. Therefore, the precise monitoring of adjuvant candidates and their immune modulatory properties is a crucial step in vaccine development. Here, one central aspect is the induction of appropriate humoral and cellular effector mechanisms. In our study we performed a direct comparison of two promising candidates in adjuvant development, the STING activator bis-(3,5)-cyclic dimeric adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) and the Toll-like receptor ligand formulation poly(I:C)/CpG. These were evaluated in C57BL/6 mice using the model antigen ovalbumin (OVA) in subcutaneous vaccination with soluble protein as well as in a dendritic cell (DC) targeting approach (αDEC-OVA). Strikingly, c-di-AMP as compared to poly(I:C)/CpG resulted in significantly higher antigen-specific IgG antibody levels when used in immunization with soluble OVA as well as in antigen targeting to DC. In vaccination with soluble OVA, c-di-AMP induced a significantly stronger CTL, Th1 and IFNγ-producing CD8+ memory T cell response than poly(I:C)/CpG. The response was CTL and Th1 cell dominated, a profile shared by both adjuvants. In the context of targeting OVA to DC, c-di-AMP induced significantly increased Th1 and Th2 cell responses as compared to poly(I:C)/CpG. Interestingly, the Th1 response dominated the overall T cell response only when c-di-AMP was used, indicating a distinct modulatory property of c-di-AMP when the DC targeting immunization approach was exploited. Taken together, we describe superior properties of c-di-AMP as compared to poly(I:C)/CpG in subcutaneous vaccination with soluble antigen as well as antigen targeting to DC. This indicates exceptionally effective adjuvant properties for c-di-AMP and provides compelling evidence of its potential for further adjuvant development, especially also when using DC targeting approaches.
  • Systems Immunology Characterization of Novel Vaccine Formulations for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae Bacterins.

    Matthijs, Anneleen M F; Auray, Gaël; Jakob, Virginie; García-Nicolás, Obdulio; Braun, Roman O; Keller, Irene; Bruggman, Rémy; Devriendt, Bert; Boyen, Filip; Guzman, Carlos A; et al. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    We characterized five different vaccine candidates and a commercial vaccine in terms of safety, immunogenicity and using a systems vaccinology approach, with the aim to select novel vaccine candidates against Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae. Seven groups of six M. hyopneumoniae-free piglets were primo- and booster vaccinated with the different experimental bacterin formulations, the commercial vaccine Hyogen® as a positive control or PBS as a negative control. The experimental bacterin was formulated with cationic liposomes + c-di-AMP (Lipo_AMP), cationic liposomes + Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2/1, TLR7, and TLR9 ligands (TLR ligands; Lipo_TLR), micro-particles + TLR ligands (PLGA_TLR), squalene-in-water emulsion + TLR ligands (SWE_TLR), or DDA:TDB liposomes (Lipo_DDA:TDB). Lipo_DDA:TDB and Lipo_AMP were the most potent in terms of serum antibody induction, and Lipo_DDA:TDB, Lipo_AMP, and SWE_TLR significantly induced Th1 cytokine-secreting T-cells. Only PLGA_TLR appeared to induce Th17 cells, but was unable to induce serum antibodies. The transcriptomic analyses demonstrated that the induction of inflammatory and myeloid cell blood transcriptional modules (BTM) in the first 24 h after vaccination correlated well with serum antibodies, while negative correlations with the same modules were found 7 days post-vaccination. Furthermore, many cell cycle and T-cell BTM upregulated at day seven correlated positively with adaptive immune responses. When comparing the delivery of the identical TLR ligands with the three formulations, we found SWE_TLR to be more potent in the induction of an early innate immune response, while the liposomal formulation more strongly promoted late cell cycle and T-cell BTM. For the PLGA formulation we found signs of a delayed and weak perturbation of these BTM. Lipo_AMP was found to be the most potent vaccine at inducing a BTM profile similar to that correlating with adaptive immune response in this and other studies. Taken together, we identified four promising vaccine candidates able to induce M. hyopneumoniae-specific antibody and T-cell responses. In addition, we have adapted a systems vaccinology approach developed for human to pigs and demonstrated its capacity in identifying early immune signatures in the blood relating to adaptive immune responses. This approach represents an important step in a more rational design of efficacious vaccines for pigs.
  • The Combination Vaccine Adjuvant System Alum/c-di-AMP Results in Quantitative and Qualitative Enhanced Immune Responses Post Immunization.

    Ebensen, Thomas; Delandre, Simon; Prochnow, Blair; Guzmán, Carlos A; Schulze, Kai (2019-01-01)
  • Signatures of T and B Cell Development, Functional Responses and PD-1 Upregulation After HCMV Latent Infections and Reactivations in Nod.Rag.Gamma Mice Humanized With Cord Blood CD34 Cells.

    Theobald, Sebastian J; Khailaie, Sahamoddin; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Volk, Valery; Olbrich, Henning; Danisch, Simon; Gerasch, Laura; Schneider, Andreas; Sinzger, Christian; Schaudien, Dirk; et al. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    uman cytomegalovirus (HCMV) latency is typically harmless but reactivation can be largely detrimental to immune compromised hosts. We modeled latency and reactivation using a traceable HCMV laboratory strain expressing the Gaussia luciferase reporter gene (HCMV/GLuc) in order to interrogate the viral modulatory effects on the human adaptive immunity. Humanized mice with long-term (more than 17 weeks) steady human T and B cell immune reconstitutions were infected with HCMV/GLuc and 7 weeks later were further treated with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) to induce viral reactivations. Whole body bio-luminescence imaging analyses clearly differentiated mice with latent viral infections vs. reactivations. Foci of vigorous viral reactivations were detectable in liver, lymph nodes and salivary glands. The number of viral genome copies in various tissues increased upon reactivations and were detectable in sorted human CD14+, CD169+, and CD34+ cells. Compared with non-infected controls, mice after infections and reactivations showed higher thymopoiesis, systemic expansion of Th, CTL, Treg, and Tfh cells and functional antiviral T cell responses. Latent infections promoted vast development of memory CD4+ T cells while reactivations triggered a shift toward effector T cells expressing PD-1. Further, reactivations prompted a marked development of B cells, maturation of IgG+ plasma cells, and HCMV-specific antibody responses. Multivariate statistical methods were employed using T and B cell immune phenotypic profiles obtained with cells from several tissues of individual mice. The data was used to identify combinations of markers that could predict an HCMV infection vs. reactivation status. In spleen, but not in lymph nodes, higher frequencies of effector CD4+ T cells expressing PD-1 were among the factors most suited to distinguish HCMV reactivations from infections. These results suggest a shift from a T cell dominated immune response during latent infections toward an exhausted T cell phenotype and active humoral immune response upon reactivations. In sum, this novel in vivo humanized model combined with advanced analyses highlights a dynamic system clearly specifying the immunological spatial signatures of HCMV latency and reactivations. These signatures can be merged as predictive biomarker clusters that can be applied in the clinical translation of new therapies for the control of HCMV reactivation.
  • Influenza-Activated ILC1s Contribute to Antiviral Immunity Partially Influenced by Differential GITR Expression.

    Vashist, Neha; Trittel, Stephanie; Ebensen, Thomas; Chambers, Benedict J; Guzmán, Carlos A; Riese, Peggy; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) represent diversified subsets of effector cells as well as immune regulators of mucosal immunity and are classified into group 1 ILCs, group 2 ILCs, and group 3 ILCs. Group 1 ILCs encompass natural killer (NK) cells and non-NK ILCs (ILC1s) and mediate their functionality via the rapid production of IFN-γ and TNF-α. The current knowledge of ILC1s mainly associates them to inflammatory processes. Much less is known about their regulation during infection and their capacity to interact with cells of the adaptive immune system. The present study dissected the role of ILC1s during early influenza A virus infection, thereby revealing their impact on the antiviral response. Exploiting in vitro and in vivo H1N1 infection systems, a cross-talk of ILC1s with cells of the innate and the adaptive immunity was demonstrated, which contributes to anti-influenza immunity. A novel association of ILC1 functionality and the expression of the glucocorticoid-induced TNFR-related protein (GITR) was observed, which hints toward a so far undescribed role of GITR in regulating ILC1 responsiveness. Overexpression of GITR inhibits IFN-γ production by ILC1s, whereas partial reduction of GITR expression can reverse this effect, thereby regulating ILC1 functionality. These new insights into ILC1 biology define potential intervention targets to modulate the functional properties of ILC1s, thus contributing toward the development of new immune interventions against influenza.
  • Rapid In Vivo Assessment of Adjuvant's Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes Generation Capabilities for Vaccine Development

    Lirussi, Darío; Ebensen, Thomas; Schulze, Kai; Reinhard, Elena; Trittel, Stephanie; Riese, Peggy; Prochnow, Blair; Guzmán, Carlos A.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
    The assessment of modern sub-unit vaccines reveals that the generation of neutralizing antibodies is important but not sufficient for adjuvant selection. Therefore, adjuvants with both humoral and cellular immuno-stimulatory capabilities that are able to promote cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) responses are urgently needed. Thus, faithful monitoring of adjuvant candidates that induce cross-priming and subsequently enhance CTL generation represents a crucial step in vaccine development. In here we present an application for a method that uses SIINFEKL-specific (OT-I) T cells to monitor the cross-presentation of the model antigen ovalbumin (OVA) in vivo in the presence of different adjuvant candidates. This method represents a rapid test to select adjuvants with the best cross-priming capabilities. The proliferation of CD8+ T cells is the most valuable indication of cross-priming and it is also regarded as a correlate of adjuvant-induced cross-presentation. This feature can be evaluated in different immune organs like lymph nodes and spleen. The extent of the CTL generation can also be monitored, thereby giving insights on the nature of a local (draining lymph node mainly) or a systemic response (distant lymph nodes and/or spleen). This technique further allows multiple modifications for testing drugs that can inhibit specific cross-presentation pathways and also offers the possibility to be used in different strains of conventional and genetically modified mice. In summary, the application that we present here will be useful for vaccine laboratories in industry or academia that develop or modify chemical adjuvants for vaccine research and development. © 2018, Journal of Visualized Experiments.
  • Large-scale production of megakaryocytes in microcarrier-supported stirred suspension bioreactors.

    Eicke, Dorothee; Baigger, Anja; Schulze, Kai; Latham, Sharissa L; Halloin, Caroline; Zweigerdt, Robert; Guzman, Carlos A; Blasczyk, Rainer; Figueiredo, Constança; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-07-05)
    Megakaryocytes (MKs) are the precursors of platelets (PLTs) and may be used for PLT production in vivo or in vitro, as well as a source for PLT-derived growth factors. Induced pluripotent stem cells represent an unlimited cell source for the in vitro production of MKs. This study aimed at developing an effective, xeno-free and scalable system to produce high numbers of MKs. In particular, microcarrier beads-assisted stirred bioreactors were evaluated as a means of improving MK yields. This method resulted in the production of 18.7 × 10
  • Induction of CD4(+) and CD8(+) anti-tumor effector T cell responses by bacteria mediated tumor therapy.

    Stern, Christian; Kasnitz, Nadine; Kocijancic, Dino; Trittel, Stephanie; Riese, Peggy; Guzman, Carlos A; Leschner, Sara; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-10-15)
    Facultative anaerobic bacteria like E. coli can colonize solid tumors often resulting in tumor growth retardation or even clearance. Little mechanistic knowledge is available for this phenomenon which is however crucial for optimization and further implementation in the clinic. Here, we show that intravenous injections with E. coli TOP10 can induce clearance of CT26 tumors in BALB/c mice. Importantly, re-challenging mice which had cleared tumors showed that clearance was due to a specific immune reaction. Accordingly, lymphopenic mice never showed tumor clearance after infection. Depletion experiments revealed that during induction phase, CD8(+) T cells are the sole effectors responsible for tumor clearance while in the memory phase CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells were involved. This was confirmed by adoptive transfer. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells could reject newly set tumors while CD8(+) T cells could even reject established tumors. Detailed analysis of adoptively transferred CD4(+) T cells during tumor challenge revealed expression of granzyme B, FasL, TNF-α and IFN-γ in such T cells that might be involved in the anti-tumor activity. Our findings should pave the way for further optimization steps of this promising therapy.
  • Self-Amplifying Replicon RNA Delivery to Dendritic Cells by Cationic Lipids

    Englezou, Pavlos C.; Sapet, Cedric; Démoulins, Thomas; Milona, Panagiota; Ebensen, Thomas; Schulze, Kai; Guzman, Carlos-Alberto; Poulhes, Florent; Zelphati, Olivier; Ruggli, Nicolas; et al.
  • Engineered trivalent immunogen adjuvanted with a STING agonist confers protection against Trypanosoma cruzi infection.

    Sanchez Alberti, Andrés; Bivona, Augusto E; Cerny, Natacha; Schulze, Kai; Weißmann, Sebastian; Ebensen, Thomas; Morales, Celina; Padilla, Angel M; Cazorla, Silvia I; Tarleton, Rick L; et al. (2017)
    The parasite Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease, a potentially life-threatening infection that represents a major health problem in Latin America. Several characteristics of this protozoan contribute to the lack of an effective vaccine, among them: its silent invasion mechanism, T. cruzi antigen redundancy and immunodominance without protection. Taking into account these issues, we engineered Traspain, a chimeric antigen tailored to present a multivalent display of domains from key parasitic molecules, combined with stimulation of the STING pathway by c-di-AMP as a novel prophylactic strategy. This formulation proved to be effective for the priming of functional humoral responses and pathogen-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, compatible with a Th1/Th17 bias. Interestingly, vaccine effectiveness assessed across the course of infection, showed a reduction in parasite load and chronic inflammation in different proof of concept assays. In conclusion, this approach represents a promising tool against parasitic chronic infections.
  • Deletion of Irf3 and Irf7 Genes in Mice Results in Altered Interferon Pathway Activation and Granulocyte-Dominated Inflammatory Responses to Influenza A Infection.

    Hatesuer, Bastian; Hoang, Hang Thi Thu; Riese, Peggy; Trittel, Stephanie; Gerhauser, Ingo; Elbahesh, Husni; Geffers, Robert; Wilk, Esther; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
    The interferon (IFN) pathway plays an essential role in the innate immune response following viral infections and subsequent shaping of adaptive immunity. Infections with influenza A viruses (IAV) activate the IFN pathway after the recognition of pathogen-specific molecular patterns by respective pattern recognition receptors. The IFN regulatory factors IRF3 and IRF7 are key players in the regulation of type I and III IFN genes. In this study, we analyzed the role of IRF3 and IRF7 for the host response to IAV infections in Irf3-/-, Irf7-/-, and Irf3-/-Irf7-/- knockout mice. While the absence of IRF3 had only a moderate impact on IFN expression, deletion of IRF7 completely abolished IFNα production after infection. In contrast, lack of both IRF3 and IRF7 resulted in the absence of both IFNα and IFNβ after IAV infection. In addition, IAV infection of double knockout mice resulted in a strong increase of mortality associated with a massive influx of granulocytes in the lung and reduced activation of the adaptive immune response.
  • Targeted antigen delivery to dendritic cells elicits robust antiviral T cell-mediated immunity in the liver.

    Volckmar, Julia; Gereke, Marcus; Ebensen, Thomas; Riese, Peggy; Philipsen, Lars; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Wohlleber, Dirk; Klopfleisch, Robert; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Müller, Andreas J; et al. (2017-03-07)
    Hepatotropic viruses such as hepatitis C virus cause life-threatening chronic liver infections in millions of people worldwide. Targeted in vivo antigen-delivery to cross-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) has proven to be extraordinarily efficient in stimulating antigen-specific T cell responses. To determine whether this approach would as well be suitable to induce local antiviral effector T cells in the liver we compared different vaccine formulations based on either the targeting of DEC-205 or TLR2/6 on cross-presenting DCs or formulations not involving in vivo DC targeting. As read-outs we used in vivo hepatotropic adenovirus challenge, histology and automated multidimensional fluorescence microscopy (MELC). We show that targeted in vivo antigen delivery to cross-presenting DCs is highly effective in inducing antiviral CTLs capable of eliminating virus-infected hepatocytes, while control vaccine formulation not involving DC targeting failed to induce immunity against hepatotropic virus. Moreover, we observed distinct patterns of CD8+ T cell interaction with virus-infected and apoptotic hepatocytes in the two DC-targeting groups suggesting that the different vaccine formulations may stimulate distinct types of effector functions. Our findings represent an important step toward the future development of vaccines against hepatotropic viruses and the treatment of patients with hepatic virus infection after liver transplantation to avoid reinfection.
  • Superior immunogenicity of HCV envelope glycoproteins when adjuvanted with cyclic-di-AMP, a STING activator or archaeosomes.

    Landi, A; Law, J; Hockman, D; Logan, M; Crawford, K; Chen, C; Kundu, J; Ebensen, T; Guzman, C A; Deschatelets, L; et al. (2017-12-15)
    Three decades after the discovery, hepatitis C virus (HCV) is still the leading cause of liver transplantation and poses a major threat to global health. In spite of recent advances in the development of direct acting antivirals, there is still a need for a prophylactic vaccine to limit the virus spread and protect at-risk populations, especially in developing countries, where the cost of the new treatments may severely limit access. The use of recombinant HCV glycoproteins E1E2 (rE1E2) in combination with the MF59, an oil-in-water emulsion-based adjuvant, has previously been shown to reduce the rate of chronicity in chimpanzees and to induce production of cross-neutralizing antibodies and cellular immune responses in human volunteers. To further improve neutralizing antibody responses in recipients along with robust T cell responses, we have explored the immunogenicity of different adjuvants when formulated with the HCV rE1E2 vaccine in mice. Our data show that cyclic di-adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) and archaeosomes elicit strong neutralizing antibodies similar to those elicited using aluminum hydroxide/monophosphoryl lipid A (Alum/monophos. /MPLA) and MF59. However, both c-di-AMP and archaeosomes induced a more robust cellular immune response, which was confirmed by the detection of vaccine-specific poly-functional CD4+ T cells. We conclude that these adjuvants may substantially boost the immunogenicity of our E1E2 vaccine. In addition, our data also indicates that use of a partial or exclusive intranasal immunization regimen may also be feasible using c-di-AMP as adjuvant.
  • Mucosal Administration of Cycle-Di-Nucleotide-Adjuvanted Virosomes Efficiently Induces Protection against Influenza H5N1 in Mice.

    Ebensen, Thomas; Debarry, Jennifer; Pedersen, Gabriel K; Blazejewska, Paulina; Weissmann, Sebastian; Schulze, Kai; McCullough, Kenneth C; Cox, Rebecca J; Guzmán, Carlos A; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
    The need for more effective influenza vaccines is highlighted by the emergence of novel influenza strains, which can lead to new pandemics. There is a growing population of susceptible subjects at risk for severe complications of influenza, such as the elderly who are only in part protected by current licensed seasonal vaccines. One strategy for improving seasonal and pandemic vaccines takes advantage of adjuvants to boost and modulate evoked immune responses. In this study, we examined the capacity of the recently described adjuvant cyclic di-adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) to serve as an adjuvant for improved mucosal influenza vaccines, and induce effective protection against influenza H5N1. In detail, c-di-AMP promoted (i) effective local and systemic humoral immune responses, including protective hemagglutination inhibition titers, (ii) effective cellular responses, including multifunctional T cell activity, (iii) induction of long-lasting immunity, and (iv) protection against viral challenge. Furthermore, we demonstrated the dose-sparing capacity of the adjuvant as well as the ability to evoke cross-clade protective immune responses. Overall, our results suggest that c-di-AMP contributes to the generation of a protective cell-mediated immune response required for efficacious vaccination against influenza, which supports the further development of c-di-AMP as an adjuvant for seasonal and pandemic influenza mucosal vaccines.
  • Roads to advanced vaccines: influenza case study.

    Riese, Peggy; Guzmán, Carlos A; Helmholz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09)
    Vaccines represent a cornerstone to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. However, there are many diseases for which vaccines are not available, are relatively ineffective or need to be adapted periodically. Advances in microbial biotechnology will contribute to overcoming these roadblocks by laying the groundwork for improving and creating new approaches for developing better vaccines, as illustrated here in the case of influenza.
  • Bivalent mucosal peptide vaccines administered using the LCP carrier system stimulate protective immune responses against Streptococcus pyogenes infection.

    Schulze, Kai; Ebensen, Thomas; Chandrudu, Saranya; Skwarczynski, Mariusz; Toth, Istvan; Olive, Colleen; Guzman, Carlos A; Helmholtz Centre for infection researchGmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09-05)
    Despite the broad knowledge about the pathogenicity of Streptococcus pyogenes there is still a controversy about the correlate of protection in GAS infections. We aimed in further improving the immune responses stimulated against GAS comparing different vaccine formulations including bis-(3',5')-cyclic dimeric adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) and BPPCysMPEG, a derivative of the macrophage-activating lipopeptide (MALP-2), as adjuvants, respectively, to be administered with and without the universal T helper cell epitope P25 along with the optimized B cell epitope J14 of the M protein and B and T cell epitopes of SfbI. Lipopeptide based nano carrier systems (LCP) were used for efficient antigen delivery across the mucosal barrier. The stimulated immune responses were efficient in protecting mice against a respiratory challenge with a lethal dose of a heterologous S. pyogenes strain. Moreover, combination of the LCP based peptide vaccine with c-di-AMP allowed reduction of antigen dose at the same time maintaining vaccine efficacy.

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