Cholera toxin (CT) and the related heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) are AB toxins with cell targeting B domains and enzymatically active A domains. The enzymatically active A1 domains of both CT (CTA1) and LT (LTA1) have demonstrated particular promise as genetic adjuvants that can enhance the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines in small and large animals and may provide necessary boosting and dose sparing effects in humans. In our Phase I efforts, we identified mutants of CTA1 and LTA1 with enhanced enzymatic activity in vitro and enhanced adjuvanticity in vivo. We identified a mutant of LTA1 that induced anti-HIV and anti-SIV cellular responses in mice nearly 2-fold higher than those induced by the """"""""gold-standard"""""""" adjuvant IL-12 plasmid DNA (pDNA) or in vivo electroporation. In this Phase II application, we propose screen additional mutants and select a lead A1 subunit adjuvant to compare its adjuvanticity to that of IL-12 pDNA and electroporation. Using a prototype SIV DNA vaccine, we will compare the magnitude and polyfunctionality of the T cell response in both mice and macaques. We will follow the macaque studies with a homologous SIV challenge to determine whether any of the quantitative and qualitative differences observed in the immune response are relevant to protection. We propose to achieve these goals through the following specific aims:
Aim 1 : Identify a lead A1 subunit adjuvant that induces comparable or superior immune responses to SIV vaccine antigens as compared to electroporation and IL-12 pDNA;
Aim 2 : Characterize the anti-SIV immune responses adjuvanted by the lead A1 subunit adjuvant vs. IL-12 pDNA and electroporation in a macaque model Aim 3: Determine if administration of a SIV pDNA vaccine adjuvanted by the lead A1 subunit provide protection from homologous SIVmac251 challenge that is superior to that provided by IL-12 pDNA and electroporation. If the lead A1 subunit genetic adjuvant proves to be superior to IL-12 pDNA in the homologous challenge model, this adjuvant will be further evaluated in a heterologous challenge model. 2

Public Health Relevance

The objective of this project is to develop an advanced DNA vaccine adjuvant based on a modified A1 subunit of cholera toxin or heat-labile enterotoxin with enhanced enzymatic activity and adjuvanticity. Such an adjuvant is needed to enhance the clinical utility of HIV DNA vaccination in humans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-D (04))
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Butler, Robert C
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Profectus Biosciences, Inc.
United States
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Bagley, Kenneth; Xu, Rong; Ota-Setlik, Ayuko et al. (2015) The catalytic A1 domains of cholera toxin and heat-labile enterotoxin are potent DNA adjuvants that evoke mixed Th1/Th17 cellular immune responses. Hum Vaccin Immunother 11:2228-40
Gallo, Robert C (2015) Developing a Successful HIV Vaccine. J Infect Dis 212 Suppl 1:S40-1
Fouts, Timothy R; Bagley, Kenneth; Prado, Ilia J et al. (2015) Balance of cellular and humoral immunity determines the level of protection by HIV vaccines in rhesus macaque models of HIV infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:E992-9
Bagley, Kenneth C; Lewis, George K; Fouts, Timothy R (2011) Adjuvant activity of the catalytic A1 domain of cholera toxin for retroviral antigens delivered by GeneGun. Clin Vaccine Immunol 18:922-30