Elizaldi SR, Verma A, Walter KA, Rolston M, Dinasarapu AR, Durbin-Johnson BP, Settles M, Kozlowski PA, Raeman R, Iyer SS. Rectal Microbiome Composition Correlates with Humoral Immunity to HIV-1 in Vaccinated Rhesus Macaques. mSphere. 2019 Dec 11;4(6). pii: e00824-19. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00824-19. PubMed PMID: 31826975; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6908426.
The microbiome is an integral and dynamic component of the host and is emerging as a critical determinant of immune responses; however, its influence on vaccine immunogenicity is largely not well understood. Here, we examined the pivotal relationship between the mucosal microbiome and vaccine-induced immune responses by assessing longitudinal changes in vaginal and rectal microbiome profiles after intradermal immunization with a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) DNA vaccine in adult rhesus macaques that received two prior DNA primes. We report that both vaginal and rectal microbiomes were dominated by Firmicutes but were composed of distinct genera, denoting microbiome specialization across mucosal tissues. Following immunization, the vaginal microbiome was resilient, except for a transient decrease in Streptococcus In contrast, the rectal microbiome was far more responsive to vaccination, exhibiting an increase in the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes Within Bacteroidetes, multiple genera were significantly decreased, including Prevotella, Alloprevotella, Bacteroides, Acetobacteroides, Falsiporphyromonas, and Anaerocella. Decreased abundance of Prevotella correlated with induction of gut-homing Î±4Î²7 + effector CD4 T cells. Prevotella abundance also negatively correlated with rectal HIV-1 specific IgG levels. While rectal Lactobacillus was unaltered following DNA vaccination, baseline Lactobacillus abundance showed strong associations with higher rectal HIV-1 gp140 IgA induced following a protein boost. Similarly, the abundance of Clostridium in cluster IV was associated with higher rectal HIV-1 gp140 IgG responses. Collectively, these data reveal that the temporal stability of bacterial communities following DNA immunization is site dependent and highlight the importance of host-microbiome interactions in shaping HIV-1 vaccine responses. Our findings have significant implications for microbial manipulation as a strategy to enhance HIV vaccine-induced mucosal immunity.IMPORTANCE There is considerable effort directed toward evaluating HIV-1 vaccine platforms to select the most promising candidates for enhancing mucosal HIV-1 antibody. The most successful thus far, the RV144 trial provided partial protection due to waning HIV-1 antibody titers. In order to develop an effective HIV vaccine, it may therefore be important to understand how biological factors, such as the microbiome, modulate host immune responses. Furthermore, as intestinal microbiota antigens may generate antibodies cross-reactive to the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein, understanding the relationship between gut microbiota composition and HIV-1 envelope antibody responses after vaccination is important. Here, we demonstrate for the first time in rhesus macaques that the rectal microbiome composition can influence HIV-1 vaccine immunogenicity, and we report temporal changes in the mucosal microbiome profile following HIV-1 vaccination. Our results could inform findings from the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) vaccine studies and contribute to an understanding of how the microbiome influences HIV-1 antibody responses.
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