• Replication-deficient mutant Herpes Simplex Virus-1 targets professional antigen presenting cells and induces efficient CD4+ T helper responses.

      Fiorentini, Simona; Marconi, Peggy; Avolio, Manuela; Marini, Elena; Garrafa, Emirena; Caracciolo, Sonia; Rossi, Daniele; Bozac, Alexandra; Becker, Pablo D; Gentili, Francesca; et al. (2007-07)
      Both neutralizing antibodies and cytotoxic T-cells are necessary to control a viral infection. However, vigorous T helper responses are essential for their elicitation and maintenance. Here we show that a recombinant replication-deficient Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-1 vector encoding the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-1 matrix protein p17 (T0-p17) was capable of infecting professional antigen presenting cells (APCs) in vitro and in vivo. The injection of T0-p17 in the mouse dermis generated a strong p17-specific CD4+ T helper response preceding both p17-specific humoral and effector T cell responses. Moreover, we show that T0-p17 infection did not interfere with the endogenous processing of the transgene encoded antigen, since infected APCs were able to evoke a strong recall response in vitro. Our results demonstrate that replication-deficient HSV vectors can be appealing candidates for the development of vaccines able to trigger T helper responses.