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- Vaccination Directed against the Human Endogenous Retrovirus-K Envelope Protein Inhibits Tumor Growth in a Murine Model System (2013)
- Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) genomes are chromosomally integrated in all cells of an individual. They are normally transcriptionally silenced and transmitted only vertically. Enhanced expression of HERV-K accompanied by the emergence of anti-HERV-K-directed immune responses has been observed in tumor patients and HIV-infected individuals. As HERV-K is usually not expressed and immunological tolerance development is unlikely, it is an appropriate target for the development of immunotherapies. We generated a recombinant vaccinia virus (MVA-HKenv) expressing the HERV-K envelope glycoprotein (ENV), based on the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), and established an animal model to test its vaccination efficacy. Murine renal carcinoma cells (Renca) were genetically altered to express E. coli beta-galactosidase (RLZ cells) or the HERV-K ENV gene (RLZ-HKenv cells). Intravenous injection of RLZ-HKenv cells into syngenic BALB/c mice led to the formation of pulmonary metastases, which were detectable by X-gal staining. A single vaccination of tumor-bearing mice with MVA-HKenv drastically reduced the number of pulmonary RLZ-HKenv tumor nodules compared to vaccination with wild-type MVA. Prophylactic vaccination of mice with MVA-HKenv precluded the formation of RLZ-HKenv tumor nodules, whereas wild-type MVA-vaccinated animals succumbed to metastasis. Protection from tumor formation correlated with enhanced HERV-K ENV-specific killing activity of splenocytes. These data demonstrate for the first time that HERV-K ENV is a useful target for vaccine development and might offer new treatment opportunities for diverse types of cancer.
- Decreased HIV diversity after allogeneic stem cell transplantation of an HIV-1 infected patient : a case report (2010)
- The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) coreceptor use and viral evolution were analyzed in blood samples from an HIV-1 infected patient undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Coreceptor use was predicted in silico from sequence data obtained from the third variable loop region of the viral envelope gene with two software tools. Viral diversity and evolution was evaluated on the same samples by Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood methods. In addition, phenotypic analysis was done by comparison of viral growth in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and in a CCR5 (R5)-deficient T-cell line which was controlled by a reporter assay confirming viral tropism. In silico coreceptor predictions did not match experimental determinations that showed a consistent R5 tropism. Anti-HIV directed antibodies could be detected before and after the SCT. These preexisting antibodies did not prevent viral rebound after the interruption of antiretroviral therapy during the SCT. Eventually, transplantation and readministration of anti-retroviral drugs lead to sustained increase in CD4 counts and decreased viral load to undetectable levels. Unexpectedly, viral diversity decreased after successful SCT. Our data evidence that only R5-tropic virus was found in the patient before and after transplantation. Therefore, blocking CCR5 receptor during stem cell transplantation might have had beneficial effects and this might apply to more patients undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Furthermore, we revealed a scenario of HIV-1 dynamic different from the commonly described ones. Analysis of viral evolution shows the decrease of viral diversity even during episodes with bursts in viral load.