We have recently developed a candidate human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine model based on HIV-1 Pr55gag virus-like particles (HIV-VLPs), produced in a baculovirus expression system and presenting a gp120 molecule from a Ugandan HIV-1 isolate of clade A (HIV-VLPAs). The HIV-VLPAs show the induction in BALB/c mice of systemic and mucosal neutralizing antibodies as well as cytotoxic T lymphocytes, by intraperitoneal as well as intranasal administration. In the present article, the effects of the baculovirus-expressed HIV-VLPs on human immature monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs) have been evaluated. The HIV-VLPs efficiently induce maturation and activation of MDDCs and are incorporated into MDDCs preferentially via an actin-dependent macropinocytosis and endocytosis. The HIV-VLP-activated MDDCs show enhanced Th1- and Th2-specific cytokine production, and the effects of HIV-VLPs on MDDCs are not mediated through Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 (TLR2 and -4) signaling. Finally, HIV-VLP-loaded MDDCs are able to induce a primary and secondary response in autologous human CD4+ T cells in an ex vivo immunization assay. Our results on the interaction and processing of baculovirus HIV-VLPs by MDDCs give an insight into the mechanisms underlying the immune response induced by HIV-VLPAs in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas