• Cyclic GMP-AMP Displays Mucosal Adjuvant Activity in Mice.

      Skrnjug, Ivana; Guzmán, Carlos Alberto; Ruecker, Christine; Helmholtz Cente for infection research,Inhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014)
      The recently discovered mammalian enzyme cyclic GMP-AMP synthase produces cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) after being activated by pathogen-derived cytosolic double stranded DNA. The product can stimulate STING-dependent interferon type I signaling. Here, we explore the efficacy of cGAMP as a mucosal adjuvant in mice. We show that cGAMP can enhance the adaptive immune response to the model antigen ovalbumin. It promotes antigen specific IgG and a balanced Th1/Th2 lymphocyte response in immunized mice. A characteristic of the cGAMP-induced immune response is the slightly reduced induction of interleukin-17 as a hallmark of Th17 activity - a distinct feature that is not observed with other cyclic di-nucleotide adjuvants. We further characterize the innate immune stimulation activity in vitro on murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells and human dendritic cells. The observed results suggest the consideration of cGAMP as a candidate mucosal adjuvant for human vaccines.
    • Evaluation of the sublingual route for administration of influenza H5N1 virosomes in combination with the bacterial second messenger c-di-GMP.

      Pedersen, Gabriel Kristian; Ebensen, Thomas; Gjeraker, Ingrid Hjetland; Svindland, Signe; Bredholt, Geir; Guzmán, Carlos Alberto; Cox, Rebecca Jane; The Gade Institute, University of Bergen, Norway. gabriel.pedersen@gades.uib.no (2011)
      Avian influenza A H5N1 is a virus with pandemic potential. Mucosal vaccines are attractive as they have the potential to block viruses at the site of entry, thereby preventing both disease and further transmission. The intranasal route is safe for the administration of seasonal live-attenuated influenza vaccines, but may be less suitable for administration of pandemic vaccines. Research into novel mucosal routes is therefore needed. In this study, a murine model was used to compare sublingual administration with intranasal and intramuscular administration of influenza H5N1 virosomes (2 µg haemagglutinin; HA) in combination with the mucosal adjuvant (3',5')-cyclic dimeric guanylic acid (c-di-GMP). We found that sublingual immunisation effectively induced local and systemic H5N1-specific humoral and cellular immune responses but that the magnitude of response was lower than after intranasal administration. However, both the mucosal routes were superior to intramuscular immunisation for induction of local humoral and systemic cellular immune responses including high frequencies of splenic H5N1-specific multifunctional (IL-2+TNF-α+) CD4+ T cells. The c-di-GMP adjuvanted vaccine elicited systemic haemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody responses (geometric mean titres ≥ 40) both when administered sublingually, intranasally and inramuscularly. In addition, salivary HI antibodies were elicited by mucosal, but not intramuscular vaccination. We conclude that the sublingual route is an attractive alternative for administration of pandemic influenza vaccines.
    • Generation of human antigen-specific monoclonal IgM antibodies using vaccinated "human immune system" mice.

      Becker, Pablo D; Legrand, Nicolas; van Geelen, Caroline M M; Noerder, Miriam; Huntington, Nicholas D; Lim, Annick; Yasuda, Etsuko; Diehl, Sean A; Scheeren, Ferenc A; Ott, Michael; et al. (2010)
      Passive transfer of antibodies not only provides immediate short-term protection against disease, but also can be exploited as a therapeutic tool. However, the 'humanization' of murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is a time-consuming and expensive process that has the inherent drawback of potentially altering antigenic specificity and/or affinity. The immortalization of human B cells represents an alternative for obtaining human mAbs, but relies on the availability of biological samples from vaccinated individuals or convalescent patients. In this work we describe a novel approach to generate fully human mAbs by combining a humanized mouse model with a new B cell immortalization technique.
    • Microevolution of pandemic Vibrio parahaemolyticus assessed by the number of repeat units in short sequence tandem repeat regions.

      García, Katherine; Gavilán, Ronnie G; Höfle, Manfred G; Martínez-Urtaza, Jaime; Espejo, Romilio T; Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. (2012)
      The emergence of the pandemic strain Vibrio parahaemolyticus O3:K6 in 1996 caused a large increase of diarrhea outbreaks related to seafood consumption in Southeast Asia, and later worldwide. Isolates of this strain constitutes a clonal complex, and their effectual differentiation is possible by comparison of their variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs). The differentiation of the isolates by the differences in VNTRs will allow inferring the population dynamics and microevolution of this strain but this requires knowing the rate and mechanism of VNTRs' variation. Our study of mutants obtained after serial cultivation of clones showed that mutation rates of the six VNTRs examined are on the order of 10(-4) mutant per generation and that difference increases by stepwise addition of single mutations. The single stepwise mutation (SSM) was deduced because mutants with 1, 2, 3, or more repeat unit deletions or insertions follow a geometric distribution. Plausible phylogenetic trees are obtained when, according to SSM, the genetic distance between clusters with different number of repeats is assessed by the absolute differences in repeats. Using this approach, mutants originated from different isolates of pandemic V. parahaemolyticus after serial cultivation are clustered with their parental isolates. Additionally, isolates of pandemic V. parahaemolyticus from Southeast Asia, Tokyo, and northern and southern Chile are clustered according their geographical origin. The deepest split in these four populations is observed between the Tokyo and southern Chile populations. We conclude that proper phylogenetic relations and successful tracing of pandemic V. parahaemolyticus requires measuring the differences between isolates by the absolute number of repeats in the VNTRs considered.
    • Modified vaccinia virus Ankara exerts potent immune modulatory activities in a murine model.

      Nörder, Miriam; Becker, Pablo D; Drexler, Ingo; Link, Claudia; Erfle, Volker; Guzmán, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010)
      BACKGROUND: Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a highly attenuated strain of vaccinia virus, has been used as vaccine delivery vector in preclinical and clinical studies against infectious diseases and malignancies. Here, we investigated whether an MVA which does not encode any antigen (Ag) could be exploited as adjuvant per se. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We showed that dendritic cells infected in vitro with non-recombinant (nr) MVA expressed maturation and activation markers and were able to efficiently present exogenously pulsed Ag to T cells. In contrast to the dominant T helper (Th) 1 biased responses elicited against Ags produced by recombinant MVA vectors, the use of nrMVA as adjuvant for the co-administered soluble Ags resulted in a long lasting mixed Th1/Th2 responses. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings open new ways to potentiate and modulate the immune responses to vaccine Ags depending on whether they are co-administered with MVA or encoded by recombinant viruses.
    • The Mucosal Adjuvant Cyclic di-AMP Exerts Immune Stimulatory Effects on Dendritic Cells and Macrophages.

      Skrnjug, Ivana; Rueckert, Christine; Libanova, Rimma; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Guzmán, Carlos A (2014)
      The cyclic di-nucleotide bis-(3',5')-cyclic dimeric adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) is a candidate mucosal adjuvant with proven efficacy in preclinical models. It was shown to promote specific humoral and cellular immune responses following mucosal administration. To date, there is only fragmentary knowledge on the cellular and molecular mode of action of c-di-AMP. Here, we report on the identification of dendritic cells and macrophages as target cells of c-di-AMP. We show that c-di-AMP induces the cell surface up-regulation of T cell co-stimulatory molecules as well as the production of interferon-β. Those responses were characterized by in vitro experiments with murine and human immune cells and in vivo studies in mice. Analyses of dendritic cell subsets revealed conventional dendritic cells as principal responders to stimulation by c-di-AMP. We discuss the impact of the reported antigen presenting cell activation on the previously observed adjuvant effects of c-di-AMP in mouse immunization studies.
    • NKT cell stimulation with α-galactosylceramide results in a block of Th17 differentiation after intranasal immunization in mice.

      Zygmunt, Beata M; Weissmann, Sebastian F; Guzman, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. beata.zygmunt@bbsrc.ac.uk (2012)
      In a previous study we demonstrated that intranasal (i.n.) vaccination promotes a Th17 biased immune response. Here, we show that co-administration of a pegylated derivative of α-galactosylceramide (αGCPEG) with an antigen, even in the presence of Th17-polarizing compounds, results in a strong blocking of Th17 differentiation. Additional studies demonstrated that this phenomenon is specifically dependent on soluble factors, like IL-4 and IFNγ, which are produced by NKT cells. Even NK1.1 negative NKT cells, which by themselves produce IL-17A, are able to block Th17 differentiation. It follows that the use of αGCPEG as adjuvant would enable to tailor Th17 responses, according to the specific clinical needs. This knowledge expands our understanding of the role played by NKT cells in overall control of the cytokine microenvironment, as well as in the overall shaping of adaptive immune responses.
    • NKT cell stimulation with α-galactosylceramide results in a block of Th17 differentiation after intranasal immunization in mice.

      Zygmunt, Beata M; Weissmann, Sebastian F; Guzman, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. beata.zygmunt@bbsrc.ac.uk (2012)
      In a previous study we demonstrated that intranasal (i.n.) vaccination promotes a Th17 biased immune response. Here, we show that co-administration of a pegylated derivative of α-galactosylceramide (αGCPEG) with an antigen, even in the presence of Th17-polarizing compounds, results in a strong blocking of Th17 differentiation. Additional studies demonstrated that this phenomenon is specifically dependent on soluble factors, like IL-4 and IFNγ, which are produced by NKT cells. Even NK1.1 negative NKT cells, which by themselves produce IL-17A, are able to block Th17 differentiation. It follows that the use of αGCPEG as adjuvant would enable to tailor Th17 responses, according to the specific clinical needs. This knowledge expands our understanding of the role played by NKT cells in overall control of the cytokine microenvironment, as well as in the overall shaping of adaptive immune responses.
    • Peritoneal Cavity Is Dominated by IFNγ-Secreting CXCR3 Th1 Cells.

      Zygmunt, Beata M; Groebe, Lothar; Guzman, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2011)
      The chemokine receptor CXCR3, which was shown to take part in many inflammatory processes, is considered as a Th1 specific marker. Here, we show in a mouse model that CXCR3 expressing CD4(+) cells preferentially migrate to the peritoneal cavity under steady-state conditions. The peritoneal cavity milieu leads to an up-regulated expression of CXCR3. However, blocking of known ligands of this chemokine receptor did not alter the preferential migration. The peritoneal cavity environment also results in an increased percentage of memory cells producing cytokines. Up-regulation of IFNγ production occurs mostly in CXCR3(+) cells considered as Th1, whereas the up-regulation of IL-4 affects mostly in CXCR3(-) cells which are considered as Th2. We conclude that the peritoneal cavity does not change the Th-lineage of the cells, but that domination of this anatomic niche by Th1 cells rather results from preferential migration to this compartment.
    • Peritoneal cavity is dominated by IFNγ-secreting CXCR3+ Th1 cells.

      Zygmunt, Beata M; Groebe, Lothar; Guzman, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2011)
      The chemokine receptor CXCR3, which was shown to take part in many inflammatory processes, is considered as a Th1 specific marker. Here, we show in a mouse model that CXCR3 expressing CD4(+) cells preferentially migrate to the peritoneal cavity under steady-state conditions. The peritoneal cavity milieu leads to an up-regulated expression of CXCR3. However, blocking of known ligands of this chemokine receptor did not alter the preferential migration. The peritoneal cavity environment also results in an increased percentage of memory cells producing cytokines. Up-regulation of IFNγ production occurs mostly in CXCR3(+) cells considered as Th1, whereas the up-regulation of IL-4 affects mostly in CXCR3(-) cells which are considered as Th2. We conclude that the peritoneal cavity does not change the Th-lineage of the cells, but that domination of this anatomic niche by Th1 cells rather results from preferential migration to this compartment.