Rectal Acquisition of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) SIVmac239 Infection despite Vaccine-Induced Immune Responses against the Entire SIV Proteome

Mauricio A. Martins, Lucas Gonzalez-Nieto, Michael J. Ricciardi, Varian K. Bailey, Christine M. Dang, Georg F. Bischof, Nuria Pedreño-Lopez, Matthias G. Pauthner, Dennis R. Burton, Christopher L. Parks, Patricia Earl, Bernard Moss, Eva G. Rakasz, Jeffrey D. Lifson, Ronald C. Desrosiers, David I. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Given the complex biology of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and its remarkable capacity to evade host immune responses, HIV vaccine efficacy may benefit from the induction of both humoral and cellular immune responses of maximal breadth, potency, and longevity. Guided by this rationale, we set out to develop an immunization protocol aimed at maximizing the induction of anti-Envelope (anti-Env) antibodies and CD8+ T cells targeting non-Env epitopes in rhesus macaques (RMs). Our approach was to deliver the entire simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) proteome by serial vaccinations. To that end, 12 RMs were vaccinated over 81 weeks with DNA, modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), adenovirus type 5 (Ad5), rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV), and DNA again. Both the RRV and the final DNA boosters delivered a near-full-length SIVmac239 genome capable of assembling noninfectious SIV particles and inducing T-cell responses against all nine SIV proteins. Compared to previous SIV vaccine trials, the present DNA-MVA-VSV-Ad5-RRV-DNA regimen resulted in comparable levels of Env-binding antibodies and SIV-specific CD8+ T-cells. Interestingly, one vaccinee developed low titers of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against SIVmac239, a tier 3 virus. Following repeated intrarectal marginal-dose challenges with SIVmac239, vaccinees were not protected from SIV acquisition but manifested partial control of viremia. Strikingly, the animal with the low-titer vaccine-induced anti-SIVmac239 NAb response acquired infection after the first SIVmac239 exposure. Collectively, these results highlight the difficulties in eliciting protective immunity against immunodeficiency virus infection. IMPORTANCE Our results are relevant to HIV vaccine development efforts because they suggest that increasing the number of booster immunizations or delivering additional viral antigens may not necessarily improve vaccine efficacy against immunodeficiency virus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00979-20
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • AIDS
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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