Replication-competent adenoviral (RC-Ad) vectors generate exceptionally strong gene-based vaccine responses by amplifying the antigen transgenes they carry. While they are potent, they also risk causing adenovirus infections. More common replication- defective Ad (RD-Ad) vectors with deletions of E1 avoid this risk but do not replicate their transgene and generate markedly weaker vaccine responses. To amplify vaccine transgenes while avoiding production of infectious progeny viruses, we engineered "single-cycle" adenovirus (SC-Ad) vectors by deleting the gene for IIIa capsid cement protein of lower-seroprevalence adenovirus serotype 6. In mouse, human, hamster, and macaque cells, SC-Ad6 still replicated its genome but prevented genome packaging and virion maturation. When used for mucosal intranasal immunization of Syrian hamsters, both SC-Ad and RC-Ad expressed transgenes at levels hundreds of times higher than that of RD-Ad. Surprisingly, SC-Ad, but not RC-Ad, generated higher levels of transgene-specific antibody than RD-Ad, which notably climbed in serum and vaginal wash samples over 12 weeks after single mucosal immunization. When RD-Ad and SC-Ad were tested by single sublingual immunization in rhesus macaques, SC-Ad generated higher gamma interferon (IFN-γ) responses and higher transgene-specific serum antibody levels. These data suggest that SC-Ad vectors may have utility as mucosal vaccines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science