Induction of protective immunity to anthrax lethal toxin with a nonhuman primate adenovirus-based vaccine in the presence of preexisting anti-human adenovirus immunity
Prevention or therapy for bioterrorism-associated anthrax infections requires rapidly acting effective vaccines. We recently demonstrated (Y. Tan, N. R. Hackett, J. L. Boyer, and R. G. Crystal, Hum. Gene Ther. 14:1673-1682, 2003) that a single administration of a recombinant serotype 5 adenovirus (Ad) vector expressing anthrax protective antigen (PA) provides rapid protection against anthrax lethal toxin challenge. However, approximately 35 to 50% of humans have preexisting neutralizing antibodies against Ad5. This study assesses the hypothesis that a recombinant adenovirus vaccine based on the nonhuman primate-derived serotype AdC7, against which humans do not have immunity, expressing PA (AdC7PA) will protect against anthrax lethal toxin even in the presence of preexisting anti-Ad5 immunity. Naive and Ad5-immunized BALB/c mice received (intramuscularly) 10(8) to 10(11) particle units (PU) of AdC7PA, Ad5PA (a human serotype Ad5-based vector expressing a secreted form of PA), or AdNull (an Ad5 vector with no transgene). Robust anti-PA immunoglobulin G and neutralizing antibodies were detected by 2 to 4 weeks following administration of AdC7PA to naive or Ad5 preimmunized mice, whereas low anti-PA titers were detected in Ad5-preimmunized mice following administration of Ad5PA. To assess protection in vivo, naive or mice previously immunized against Ad5 were immunized with AdC7PA or Ad5PA and then challenged with a lethal intravenous dose of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin. Whereas Ad5PA protected naive mice against challenge with B. anthracis lethal toxin, Ad5PA was ineffective in mice that were previously immunized against Ad5. In contrast, AdC7PA functioned effectively not only to protect naive mice but also to protect Ad5-preimmunized mice, with 100% survival after lethal toxin challenge. These data suggest the nonhuman-based vector AdC7PA is an effective vaccine for the development of protective immunity against B. anthracis and importantly functions as a "sero-switch" base for an adenovirus vaccine to function in the context of preexisting anti-Ad immunity.