Miami Center for Research

Miami, FL, United States

Miami Center for Research

Miami, FL, United States
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Pallikkuth S.,University of Miami | Pallikkuth S.,Miami Center For Research | Sharkey M.,University of Miami | Sharkey M.,Miami Center For Research | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Virology | Year: 2016

In this study, we examined the peripheral blood (PB) central memory (TCM) CD4+ T cell subsets designated peripheral T follicular helper cells (pTfh cells) and non-pTfh cells to assess HIV permissiveness and persistence. Purified pTfh and non-pTfh cells from healthy HIV-negative donors were tested for HIV permissiveness using green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing HIV- 1NL4-3/Ba-L, followed by viral reactivation using beads coated with anti-CD3/anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies. The role of pTfh cells in HIV persistence was analyzed in 12 chronically HIV-1 infected patients before and 48 weeks after initiation of raltegravir- containing combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Total cellular HIV-1 DNA and episomes containing two copies of the viral long terminal repeat (2LTR circles) were analyzed in using droplet digital PCR in the purified pTfh and non-pTfh cells. Activation-inducible HIV p24 expression was determined by flow cytometry. Results indicate that pTfh cells, in particular PD1+ pTfh cells, showed greater permissiveness for HIV infection than non-pTfh cells. At week 48 on cART, HIV DNA levels were unchanged from pre-cART levels, although a significant decrease in 2LTR circles was observed in both cell subsets. Inducible HIV p24 expression was higher in pTfh cells than in non-pTfh cells, with the highest frequencies in the PD1+ CXCR3- pTfh cell subset. Frequencies of HLADR+ CD38+ activated CD4 T cells correlated with 2LTR circles in pTfh and non-pTfh cells at both time points and with p24+ cells at entry. In conclusion, among CD4 TCM cells in PB of aviremic patients on cART, pTfh cells, in particular the PD1+ CXCR3- subset, constitute a major HIV reservoir that is sustained by ongoing residual immune activation. The inducible HIV p24 assay is useful for monitoring HIV reservoirs in defined CD4 T cell subsets. © 2016, American Society for Microbiology.


Gupta S.,Miami Center for Research | Termini J.M.,Miami Center for Research | Rivas Y.,Miami Center for Research | Otero M.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan | And 4 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2015

Vaccination with tumor-associated antigens can induce cancer-specific CD8+ T cells. A recent improvement has been the targeting of antigen to dendritic cells (DC) using antibodies that bind DC surface molecules. This study explored the use of multi-trimers of CD40L to target the gp100 melanoma tumor antigen to DC. The spontaneously-multimerizing gene Surfactant Protein D (SPD) was used to fuse gp100 tumor antigen and CD40L, creating the recombinant protein SPD-gp100-CD40L. This "third generation" DC-targeting vaccine was designed to both target antigen to DC and optimally activate dendritic cells by aggregating CD40 trimers on the DC membrane surface. SPD-gp100-CD40L expressed as a 110. kDa protein. Analytical light scattering analysis gave elution data corresponding to 4-trimer and multi-trimer SPD-gp100-CD40L oligomers. The protein was biologically active on dendritic cells and induced CD40-mediated NF-κB signaling. DNA vaccination with SPD-gp100-CD40L plasmid, together with plasmids encoding IL-12p70 and GM-CSF, significantly enhanced survival and inhibited tumor growth in a B16-F10 melanoma model. Expression of gp100 and SPD-CD40L as separate molecules did not enhance survival, highlighting the requirement to encode gp100 within SPD-CD40L for optimal vaccine activity. These data support a model where DNA vaccination with SPD-gp100-CD40L targets gp100 to DC in situ, induces activation of these DC, and generates a protective anti-tumor response when given in combination with IL-12p70 and GM-CSF plasmids. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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