Myeloid cell tropism enables MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cell priming and vaccine efficacy by the RhCMV/SIV vaccine

Scott G. Hansen, Meaghan H. Hancock, Daniel Malouli, Emily E. Marshall, Colette M. Hughes, Kurt T. Randall, David Morrow, Julia C. Ford, Roxanne M. Gilbride, Andrea N. Selseth, Renee Espinosa Trethewy, Lindsey M. Bishop, Kelli Oswald, Rebecca Shoemaker, Brian Berkemeier, William J. Bosche, Michael Hull, Lorna Silipino, Michael Nekorchuk, Kathleen Busman-SahayJacob D. Estes, Michael K. Axthelm, Jeremy Smedley, Danica Shao, Paul T. Edlefsen, Jeffrey D. Lifson, Klaus Früh, Jay A. Nelson, Louis J. Picker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The strain 68-1 rhesus cytomegalovirus (RhCMV)-based vaccine for simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) can stringently protect rhesus macaques (RMs) from SIV challenge by arresting viral replication early in primary infection. This vaccine elicits unconventional SIV-specific CD8+ T cells that recognize epitopes presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-II and MHC-E instead of MHC-Ia. Although RhCMV/SIV vaccines based on strains that only elicit MHC-II- and/or MHC-Ia-restricted CD8+ T cells do not protect against SIV, it remains unclear whether MHC-E-restricted T cells are directly responsible for protection and whether these responses can be separated from the MHC-II-restricted component. Using host microRNA (miR)-mediated vector tropism restriction, we show that the priming of MHC-II and MHC-E epitope-targeted responses depended on vector infection of different nonoverlapping cell types in RMs. Selective inhibition of RhCMV infection in myeloid cells with miR-142-mediated tropism restriction eliminated MHC-E epitope-targeted CD8+ T cell priming, yielding an exclusively MHC-II epitope-targeted response. Inhibition with the endothelial cell-selective miR-126 eliminated MHC-II epitope-targeted CD8+ T cell priming, yielding an exclusively MHC-E epitope-targeted response. Dual miR-142 + miR-126-mediated tropism restriction reverted CD8+ T cell responses back to conventional MHC-Ia epitope targeting. Although the magnitude and differentiation state of these CD8+ T cell responses were generally similar, only the vectors programmed to elicit MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cell responses provided protection against SIV challenge, directly demonstrating the essential role of these responses in RhCMV/SIV vaccine efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabn9301
JournalScience Immunology
Issue number72
StatePublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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