CD8+ T Cells Mediate Protection Against Zika Virus Induced by an NS3-based Vaccine


Authors: A.E. Ngono, T. Syed, A.V. Nguyen, J.A. Regla-Nava, M. Susantono, D. Spasova, S. Shresta et. al.

Journal: Science Advances

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb2154

Publication - Abstract

November 04, 2020

Zika virus (ZIKV) is associated with congenital malformations in infants born to infected mothers, and with Guillain-Barré syndrome in infected adults. Development of ZIKV vaccines has focused predominantly on the induction of neutralizing antibodies, although a suboptimal antibody response may theoretically enhance disease severity through antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). Here, we report induction of a protective anti-ZIKV CD8+ T cell response in the HLA-B*0702 Ifnar1−/− transgenic mice using an alphavirus-based replicon RNA vaccine expressing ZIKV nonstructural protein NS3, a potent T cell antigen. The NS3 vaccine did not induce a neutralizing antibody response but elicited polyfunctional CD8+ T cells that were necessary and sufficient for preventing death in lethally infected adult mice and fetal growth restriction in infected pregnant mice. These data identify CD8+ T cells as the major mediators of ZIKV NS3 vaccine–induced protection and suggest a new strategy to develop safe and effective anti-flavivirus vaccines.

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