Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools
A global HIV-1 vaccine will likely need to induce immune responses against conserved HIV-1 regions to contend with the profound genetic diversity of HIV-1. Here we evaluated the capacity of immunogens consisting of only highly conserved HIV-1 sequences that are aimed at focusing cellular immune responses on these potentially critical regions. We assessed in rhesus monkeys the breadth and magnitude of T lymphocyte responses elicited by adenovirus vectors expressing either full-length HIV-1 Gag/Pol/Env immunogens or concatenated immunogens consisting of only highly conserved HIV-1 sequences. Surprisingly, we found that the full-length immunogens induced comparable breadth (P = 1.0) and greater magnitude (P = 0.01) of CD8(+) T lymphocyte responses against conserved HIV-1 regions compared with the conserved-region-only immunogens. Moreover, the full-length immunogens induced a 5-fold increased total breadth of HIV-1-specific T lymphocyte responses compared with the conserved-region-only immunogens (P = 0.007). These results suggest that full-length HIV-1 immunogens elicit a substantially increased magnitude and breadth of cellular immune responses compared with conserved-region-only HIV-1 immunogens, including greater magnitude and comparable breadth of responses against conserved sequences.