by Joseph T. Bruder, Elena Semenova, Ping Chen, Keith Limbach, Noelle B. Patterson, Maureen E. Stefaniak, Svetlana Konovalova, Charlie Thomas, Melissa Hamilton, C. Richter King, Thomas L. Richie, Denise L. Doolan
The development of an effective malaria vaccine is a high global health priority. Vaccine vectors based on adenovirus type 5 are capable of generating robust and protective T cell and antibody responses in animal models and are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for HIV and malaria. They appear to be more effective in terms of inducing antigen-specific immune responses as compared with non-Ad5 serotype vectors. However, the high prevalence of neutralizing antibodies to Ad5 in the human population, particularly in the developing world, has the potential to limit the effectiveness of Ad5-based vaccines. We have generated novel Ad5-based vectors that precisely replace the hexon hypervariable regions with those derived from Ad43, a subgroup D serotype with low prevalence of neutralizing antibody in humans. We have demonstrated that these hexon-modified adenovectors are not neutralized efficiently by Ad5 neutralizing antibodies in vitro using sera from mice, rabbits and human volunteers. We have also generated hexon-modified adenovectors that express a rodent malaria parasite antigen, PyCSP, and demonstrated that they are as immunogenic as an unmodified vector. Furthermore, in contrast to the unmodified vector, the hexon-modified adenovectors induced robust T cell responses in mice with high levels of Ad5 neutralizing antibody. We also show that the hexon-modified vector can be combined with unmodified Ad5 vector in prime-boost regimens to induce protective responses in mice. Our data establish that these hexon-modified vectors are highly immunogenic even in the presence of pre-existing anti-adenovirus antibodies. These hexon-modified adenovectors may have advantages in sub-Saharan Africa where there is a high prevalence of Ad5 neutralizing antibody in the population.