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1.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 21(10): 1383-1394, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33887208

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Given the scale of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the development of vaccines based on different platforms is essential, particularly in light of emerging viral variants, the absence of information on vaccine-induced immune durability, and potential paediatric use. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of an MF59-adjuvanted subunit vaccine for COVID-19 based on recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein stabilised in a pre-fusion conformation by a novel molecular clamp (spike glycoprotein-clamp [sclamp]). METHODS: We did a phase 1, double-blind, placebo-controlled, block-randomised trial of the sclamp subunit vaccine in a single clinical trial site in Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Healthy adults (aged ≥18 to ≤55 years) who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, reported no close contact with anyone with active or previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, and tested negative for pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 immunity were included. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups and received two doses via intramuscular injection 28 days apart of either placebo, sclamp vaccine at 5 µg, 15 µg, or 45 µg, or one dose of sclamp vaccine at 45 µg followed by placebo. Participants and study personnel, except the dose administration personnel, were masked to treatment. The primary safety endpoints included solicited local and systemic adverse events in the 7 days after each dose and unsolicited adverse events up to 12 months after dosing. Here, data are reported up until day 57. Primary immunogenicity endpoints were antigen-specific IgG ELISA and SARS-CoV-2 microneutralisation assays assessed at 28 days after each dose. The study is ongoing and registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04495933. FINDINGS: Between June 23, 2020, and Aug 17, 2020, of 314 healthy volunteers screened, 120 were randomly assigned (n=24 per group), and 114 (95%) completed the study up to day 57 (mean age 32·5 years [SD 10·4], 65 [54%] male, 55 [46%] female). Severe solicited reactions were infrequent and occurred at similar rates in participants receiving placebo (two [8%] of 24) and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose (three [3%] of 96). Both solicited reactions and unsolicited adverse events occurred at a similar frequency in participants receiving placebo and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine. Solicited reactions occurred in 19 (79%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 86 (90%) of 96 receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Unsolicited adverse events occurred in seven (29%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 35 (36%) of 96 participants receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 sclamp elicited a similar antigen-specific response irrespective of dose: 4 weeks after the initial dose (day 29) with 5 µg dose (geometric mean titre [GMT] 6400, 95% CI 3683-11 122), with 15 µg dose (7492, 4959-11 319), and the two 45 µg dose cohorts (8770, 5526-13 920 in the two-dose 45 µg cohort; 8793, 5570-13 881 in the single-dose 45 µg cohort); 4 weeks after the second dose (day 57) with two 5 µg doses (102 400, 64 857-161 676), with two 15 µg doses (74 725, 51 300-108 847), with two 45 µg doses (79 586, 55 430-114 268), only a single 45 µg dose (4795, 2858-8043). At day 57, 67 (99%) of 68 participants who received two doses of sclamp vaccine at any concentration produced a neutralising immune response, compared with six (25%) of 24 who received a single 45 µg dose and none of 22 who received placebo. Participants receiving two doses of sclamp vaccine elicited similar neutralisation titres, irrespective of dose: two 5 µg doses (GMT 228, 95% CI 146-356), two 15 µg doses (230, 170-312), and two 45 µg doses (239, 187-307). INTERPRETATION: This first-in-human trial shows that a subunit vaccine comprising mammalian cell culture-derived, MF59-adjuvanted, molecular clamp-stabilised recombinant spike protein elicits strong immune responses with a promising safety profile. However, the glycoprotein 41 peptide present in the clamp created HIV diagnostic assay interference, a possible barrier to widespread use highlighting the criticality of potential non-spike directed immunogenicity during vaccine development. Studies are ongoing with alternative molecular clamp trimerisation domains to ameliorate this response. FUNDING: Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, National Health and Medical Research Council, Queensland Government, and further philanthropic sources listed in the acknowledgments.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Squalene/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Australia , Female , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , Polysorbates , Vaccination/adverse effects , Young Adult
2.
Front Microbiol ; 10: 2437, 2019.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31736889

ABSTRACT

HIV Nef is a central auxiliary protein in HIV infection and pathogenesis. Our results indicate that HDAC6 promotes the aggresome/autophagic degradation of the viral polyprotein Pr55Gag to inhibit HIV-1 production. Nef counteracts this antiviral activity of HDAC6 by inducing its degradation and subsequently stabilizing Pr55Gag and Vif viral proteins. Nef appears to neutralize HDAC6 by an acidic/endosomal-lysosomal processing and does not need the downregulation function, since data obtained with the non-associated cell-surface Nef-G2A mutant - the cytoplasmic location of HDAC6 - together with studies with chemical inhibitors and other Nef mutants, point to this direction. Hence, the polyproline rich region P72xxP75 (69-77 aa) and the di-Leucin motif in the Nef-ExxxLL160-165 sequence of Nef, appear to be responsible for HDAC6 clearance and, therefore, required for this novel Nef proviral function. Nef and Nef-G2A co-immunoprecipitate with HDAC6, whereas the Nef-PPAA mutant showed a reduced interaction with the anti-HIV-1 enzyme. Thus, the P72xxP75 motif appears to be responsible, directly or indirectly, for the interaction of Nef with HDAC6. Remarkably, by neutralizing HDAC6, Nef assures Pr55Gag location and aggregation at plasma membrane, as observed by TIRFM, promotes viral egress, and enhances the infectivity of viral particles. Consequently, our results suggest that HDAC6 acts as an anti-HIV-1 restriction factor, limiting viral production and infection by targeting Pr55Gag and Vif. This function is counteracted by functional HIV-1 Nef, in order to assure viral production and infection capacities. The interplay between HIV-1 Nef and cellular HDAC6 may determine viral infection and pathogenesis, representing both molecules as key targets to battling HIV.

3.
Sci Rep ; 9(1): 5544, 2019 04 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30944395

ABSTRACT

In untreated HIV-1-infected individuals, viremia is positively associated with disease progression. However, some viremic non progressors (VNPs) individuals show paradoxical high CD4+ T cell counts. HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein complex (Env) is a major cytopathic determinant in viral replication; therefore, we have deeply characterized Env function in this rare clinical phenotype. Full-length Env clones isolated from individuals with Viral Load (VL) > 10,000 copies/mL classified as VNPs (n = 15) or rapid progressors (RPs, n = 17) were geno- and phenotypically analyzed by determining diversity, expression, CD4 binding/signaling, fusogenicity, infectivity and autophagy induction. Selected Env clones from VNPs and RPs (n = 32) showed similar expression, fusion and infection abilities. Env clones from both groups showed similar affinity for CD4 during cell-to-cell transmission and consistently induced similar levels of CD4 signaling, measured by α-tubulin acetylation. Moreover, we demonstrate for the first time that primary Env clones from VNP and RP induce autophagy in uninfected cells and that this feature correlated with fusogenic capacity but was unrelated to disease progression. In conclusion, our data suggest that Env clones from VNP individuals are fully functional. Therefore, the paradoxical CD4+ T cell count stability coexisting with high levels of viral replication is unrelated to Env function.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections/virology , HIV-1/genetics , Viremia/virology , env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus/metabolism , Autophagy/physiology , CD4 Antigens/metabolism , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , HEK293 Cells , HIV Infections/etiology , HIV-1/pathogenicity , HIV-1/physiology , Humans , Viremia/etiology , Virus Replication , env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus/genetics
4.
mBio ; 9(2)2018 04 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29636433

ABSTRACT

A small group of HIV-1-infected individuals, called long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs), and in particular a subgroup of LTNPs, elite controllers (LTNP-ECs), display permanent control of viral replication and lack of clinical progression. This control is the result of a complex interaction of host, immune, and viral factors. We identified, by phylogenetic analysis, a cluster of LTNP-ECs infected with very similar low-replication HIV-1 viruses, suggesting the contribution of common viral features to the clinical LTNP-EC phenotype. HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoprotein mediates signaling and promotes HIV-1 fusion, entry, and infection, being a key factor of viral fitness in vitro, cytopathicity, and infection progression in vivo Therefore, we isolated full-length env genes from viruses of these patients and from chronically infected control individuals. Functional characterization of the initial events of the viral infection showed that Envs from the LTNP-ECs were ineffective in the binding to CD4 and in the key triggering of actin/tubulin-cytoskeleton modifications compared to Envs from chronic patients. The viral properties of the cluster viruses result in a defective viral fusion, entry, and infection, and these properties were inherited by every virus of the cluster. Therefore, inefficient HIV-1 Env functions and signaling defects may contribute to the low viral replication capacity and transmissibility of the cluster viruses, suggesting a direct role in the LTNP-EC phenotype of these individuals. These results highlight the important role of viral characteristics in the LTNP-EC clinical phenotype. These Env viral properties were common to all the cluster viruses and thus support the heritability of the viral characteristics.IMPORTANCE HIV-1 long-term nonprogressor elite controller patients, due to their permanent control of viral replication, have been the object of numerous studies to identify the factors responsible for this clinical phenotype. In this work, we analyzed the viral characteristics of the envelopes of viruses from a phylogenetic cluster of LTNP-EC patients. These envelopes showed ineffective binding to CD4 and the subsequent signaling activity to modify actin/tubulin cytoskeletons, which result in low fusion and deficient entry and infection capacities. These Env viral characteristics could explain the nonprogressor clinical phenotype of these patients. In addition, these inefficient env viral properties were present in all viruses of the cluster, supporting the heritability of the viral phenotype.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections/virology , HIV Long-Term Survivors , HIV-1/genetics , HIV-1/physiology , Virus Internalization , CD4 Antigens/metabolism , Cluster Analysis , Genotype , HIV-1/classification , Humans , Phenotype , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Virus Replication , env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus/genetics , env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus/metabolism
5.
Fertil Steril ; 106(6): 1521-1529, 2016 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27456549

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To study the expression levels of tachykinins and tachykinin receptors in uterine leiomyomas and matched myometrium. DESIGN: Laboratory study. SETTING: University research laboratories and academic hospital. PATIENT(S): Women undergoing hysterectomy for symptomatic leiomyomas. INTERVENTION(S): Quantitative polymerase chain reaction, immunohistochemistry and Western blot. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Expression and tissue immunostaining of substance P, neurokinin A, hemokinin-1, neurokinin 1 receptor full-length (NK1R-Fl) and truncated (NK1R-Tr) isoforms, and neurokinin 2 receptor (NK2R) in paired samples of leiomyoma and adjacent normal myometrium. RESULT(S): TAC1 messenger RNA (mRNA) was significantly up-regulated in leiomyomas, whereas intense immunoreaction for the three peptides was particularly abundant in connective tissue cells. Differential regulation of TACR1 mRNA was observed, and at the protein level there was a significant increased expression of NK1R short isoform (NK1R-Tr). TACR2 mRNA was significantly up-regulated in leiomyomas, although levels of NK2R protein were similar in normal and tumor cells. CONCLUSION(S): These and our previous data demonstrate that the whole tachykinin system is differentially regulated in leiomyomas. The increased expression of NK1R-Tr might stimulate leiomyoma growth in a similar way to that observed in other steroid-dependent tumors.


Subject(s)
Biomarkers, Tumor/analysis , Leiomyoma/chemistry , Neurokinin A/analysis , Receptors, Neurokinin-1/analysis , Receptors, Neurokinin-2/analysis , Substance P/analysis , Tachykinins/analysis , Uterine Neoplasms/chemistry , Adult , Biomarkers, Tumor/genetics , Blotting, Western , Female , Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Leiomyoma/genetics , Leiomyoma/pathology , Leiomyoma/surgery , Middle Aged , Neurokinin A/genetics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Receptors, Neurokinin-1/genetics , Receptors, Neurokinin-2/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Substance P/genetics , Tachykinins/genetics , Uterine Neoplasms/genetics , Uterine Neoplasms/pathology , Uterine Neoplasms/surgery
6.
Rev Med Virol ; 26(3): 146-60, 2016 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26817660

ABSTRACT

Viral replication and spreading are fundamental events in the viral life cycle, accounting for the assembly and egression of nascent virions, events that are directly associated with viral pathogenesis in target hosts. These processes occur in cellular compartments that are modified by specialized viral proteins, causing a rearrangement of different cell membranes in infected cells and affecting the ER, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, vesicles and endosomes, as well as processes such as autophagic membrane flux. In fact, the activation or inhibition of membrane trafficking and other related activities are fundamental to ensure the adequate replication and spreading of certain viruses. In this review, data will be presented that support the key role of membrane dynamics in the viral cycle, especially in terms of the assembly, egression and infection processes. By defining how viruses orchestrate these events it will be possible to understand how they successfully complete their route of infection, establishing viral pathogenesis and provoking disease.


Subject(s)
Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Virus Diseases/metabolism , Virus Diseases/virology , Virus Physiological Phenomena , Animals , Humans , Virus Assembly , Virus Release , Virus Replication
7.
Retrovirology ; 12: 53, 2015 Jun 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26105074

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has evolved a complex strategy to overcome the immune barriers it encounters throughout an organism thanks to its viral infectivity factor (Vif), a key protein for HIV-1 infectivity and in vivo pathogenesis. Vif interacts with and promotes "apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme-catalytic, polypeptide-like 3G" (A3G) ubiquitination and subsequent degradation by the proteasome, thus eluding A3G restriction activity against HIV-1. RESULTS: We found that cellular histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) directly interacts with A3G through its C-terminal BUZ domain (residues 841-1,215) to undergo a cellular co-distribution along microtubules and cytoplasm. The HDAC6/A3G complex occurs in the absence or presence of Vif, competes for Vif-mediated A3G degradation, and accounts for A3G steady-state expression level. In fact, HDAC6 directly interacts with and promotes Vif autophagic clearance, thanks to its C-terminal BUZ domain, a process requiring the deacetylase activity of HDAC6. HDAC6 degrades Vif without affecting the core binding factor ß (CBF-ß), a Vif-associated partner reported to be key for Vif- mediated A3G degradation. Thus HDAC6 antagonizes the proviral activity of Vif/CBF-ß-associated complex by targeting Vif and stabilizing A3G. Finally, in cells producing virions, we observed a clear-cut correlation between the ability of HDAC6 to degrade Vif and to restore A3G expression, suggesting that HDAC6 controls the amount of Vif incorporated into nascent virions and the ability of HIV-1 particles of being infectious. This effect seems independent on the presence of A3G inside virions and on viral tropism. CONCLUSIONS: Our study identifies for the first time a new cellular complex, HDAC6/A3G, involved in the autophagic degradation of Vif, and suggests that HDAC6 represents a new antiviral factor capable of controlling HIV-1 infectiveness by counteracting Vif and its functions.


Subject(s)
Autophagy , Cytidine Deaminase/metabolism , HIV-1/physiology , Histone Deacetylases/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , vif Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus/metabolism , APOBEC-3G Deaminase , Cell Line , Epithelial Cells/virology , Histone Deacetylase 6 , Humans , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Mapping , Proteolysis
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