Human Dendritic Cells Transduced with Herpes Simplex Virus Amplicons Encoding Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) gp120 Elicit Adaptive Immune Responses from Human Cells Engrafted into NOD/SCID Mice and Confer Partial Protection against HIV-1 Challenge
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Small-animal models are needed to test human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine efficacy following viral challenge. To this end, we examined HIV-1-specific immune responses following immunization of nonobese diabetic-severe combined immunodeficient mice that were repopulated with human peripheral blood lymphocytes (hu-PBL-NOD/SCID mice). Autologous dendritic cells (DC) were transduced ex vivo with replicationdefective, helper virus-free, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) amplicons that expressed HIV-1 gp120 and were then injected into the hu-PBL-NOD/SCID mice. This resulted in primary HIV-1-specific humoral and cellular immune responses. Serum samples from vaccinated animals contained human immunoglobulin G that reacted with HIV-1 Env proteins by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and neutralized the infectivity of HIV-1 LAI and ADA strains. T cells isolated from the mice responded to viral antigens by producing gamma interferon when analyzed by enzyme-linked immunospot assay. Importantly, exposure of the vaccinated animals to infectious HIV-1 demonstrated partial protection against infectious HIV-1 challenge. This was reflected by a reduction in HIV-1ADA and by protection of the engrafted human CD4+T lymphocytes against HIV-1LAI-induced cytotoxicity. These data demonstrate that transduction of DC by HSV amplicon vectors expressing HIV-1 gp120 induce virus-specific immune responses in hu-PBL-NOD/SCID mice. This mouse model may be a useful tool to evaluate human immune responses and protection against viral infection following vaccination.