Project 1 seeks to apply a rational approach to the optimization of an effective CD8+ T cell response to HIV, capitalizing on viral fitness constraints to exploit the natural limits of HIV sequence evolution and CD8 immunodominance hierarchies and the plasticity of the immune response to block viral escape pathways. It also brings to bear recent advances in high throughput genomic sequencing to tackle the enormous sequence diversity of HIV, while applying novel and potent nanoparticle-based vaccine adjuvant systems. Most importantly, it serves to translate identified correlates of immune control of HIV into a novel humanized mouse model capable of recapitulating HIV infection as well as human HIV-specific immune responses. Thus, this work will enable for the first time the direct study of human (not rhesus monkey) immune responses against HIV (not SIV) in order to define the mechanisms of this protection and interatively improve vaccine approaches to optimize these effects. Project 1 responds to five specific objectives of the HIVRAD Program: 1) Identifying correlates of vaccineinduced immune protection to HIV/AIDS;2) How vaccine design can better address the heterogeneity of HIV;3) Improved animal model systems (and challenge viruses) to address vaccine efficacy;4) Approaches to increase the immunogenicity of HIV antigens (e.g., novel adjuvants), and 5) Determining how immune cells can be mobilized to the portal of infection, and will address the following specific aims:
Aim 1 : Characterize the magnitude, kinetics, specificity and efficacy of HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses in the humanized BLT mouse model to facilitate studies of HIV-specific vaccine immunity.
Aim 2 : Determine whether vaccination can overcome natural CD8+ T cell immunodominance hierarchies to avoid targeting of 'decoy'CD8 epitopes, and induce variant-specific CD8+ T cell responses.
Aim 3 : Determine whether the induction of strong, mucosal-homing CD8+ T cell responses by novel nanoparticle delivery systems can prevent the early systemic dissemination of HIV in BLT mice.

Public Health Relevance

The newly developed humanized mouse model provides the unique opportunity to explore the correlates of immune protection of HIV by cellular immune responses within a system capable of supporting HIV infection and mounting human HIV-specific type responses. This model will also enable us to rapidly test iterative vaccine design approaches to further optimize cellular immune responses to HIV.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Program Projects (P01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1-RRS-A)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
Zip Code
Pejawar-Gaddy, Sharmila; Kovacs, James M; Barouch, Dan H et al. (2014) Design of lipid nanocapsule delivery vehicles for multivalent display of recombinant Env trimers in HIV vaccination. Bioconjug Chem 25:1470-8
Liu, Haipeng; Moynihan, Kelly D; Zheng, Yiran et al. (2014) Structure-based programming of lymph-node targeting in molecular vaccines. Nature 507:519-22
Körner, Christian; Granoff, Mitchell E; Amero, Molly A et al. (2014) Increased frequency and function of KIR2DL1-3? NK cells in primary HIV-1 infection are determined by HLA-C group haplotypes. Eur J Immunol 44:2938-48
Seung, Edward; Dudek, Timothy E; Allen, Todd M et al. (2013) PD-1 blockade in chronically HIV-1-infected humanized mice suppresses viral loads. PLoS One 8:e77780
Tager, Andrew M; Pensiero, Michael; Allen, Todd M (2013) Recent advances in humanized mice: accelerating the development of an HIV vaccine. J Infect Dis 208 Suppl 2:S121-4
Seung, Edward; Tager, Andrew M (2013) Humoral immunity in humanized mice: a work in progress. J Infect Dis 208 Suppl 2:S155-9
Lavender, Kerry J; Pang, Wendy W; Messer, Ronald J et al. (2013) BLT-humanized C57BL/6 Rag2-/-?c-/-CD47-/- mice are resistant to GVHD and develop B- and T-cell immunity to HIV infection. Blood 122:4013-20
Dudek, Timothy E; Allen, Todd M (2013) HIV-specific CD8ýýý T-cell immunity in humanized bone marrow-liver-thymus mice. J Infect Dis 208 Suppl 2:S150-4