Eradication of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) from an infected individual requires a means of inducing production of virus from latently infected cells and stimulating an immune response against the infected cells. We report the development of lentiviral vectors that transduce dendritic cells (DCs) to both induce production of virus from latently infected cells and stimulate antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). The vectors package Vpx, a lentiviral accessory protein that counteracts the SAMHD1-mediated block to DC transduction, allowing for long-term expression of vector-encoded proteins. The vectors encode influenza or HIV-1-derived epitopes fused via a self-cleaving peptide to CD40L that releases the peptide into the endoplasmic reticulum for entry into the antigen presentation pathway. Expression of CD40L caused transduced DCs to mature and produce Th1-skewing cytokines. The DCs presented antigen to CD8 T cells, enhancing antigen-specific CTLs. Coculture of the transduced DCs with latently infected cells induced high-level virus production, an effect that was mediated by tumor necrosis factor alpha. The ability of a DC vaccine to reactivate latent HIV-1 and stimulate an adaptive immune response provide a means to reduce the size of the latent reservoir in patients. This strategy can also be applied to develop DC vaccines for other diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 9 Mar 2015


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