Zika vaccines should induce responses by CD4+ T cells

17-Jan-2019 4:35 PM EST


Add to Favorites

Newswise — Immune cells called CD4+ T cells could be important mediators of protection against the Zika virus, according to a study published January 24 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Sujan Shresta of the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, and colleagues. The findings support vaccine strategies that induce a protective CD4+ T cell response to the Zika virus.

Several vaccine candidates are currently under development for Zika virus infection, which causes life-threatening neurologic diseases, including congenital Zika syndrome in neonates and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. However, the mechanisms by which the immune system contributes to protection against the Zika virus have not been fully investigated. To address this gap in knowledge, Shresta and colleagues used mouse models of intravenous and sexually transmitted (intravaginal) Zika virus infection to evaluate the role of CD4+ T cells in regulating antiviral responses and in controlling infection.

The results demonstrated that CD4+ T cells are required for the local control of viral infection in the lower female reproductive tract in mice infected intravaginally. Moreover, memory CD4+ T cells can confer protection against a lethal dose of the Zika virus after intravaginal infection. By contrast, CD4+ T cells are not necessary for the control of Zika virus infection via the intravenous route. According to the authors, future studies should help to identify the precise features of the CD4+ T cell response that can be manipulated to generate Zika virus vaccines that are safe and effective against infection in multiple contexts, including pregnancy and sexual transmission.

Shresta adds, “Depending on the tissue, the CD4 T cell phenotype and mechanism of protection against ZIKV may vary—this is important, as CD4 T cells are highly heterogeneous/plastic and consist of multiple subtypes, such as Th1, Th2, Tfh, and cytotoxic CD4 T cells.”


Research Article

Funding: This work was funded by NIAID/NIH grants R01 AI116813, R21 NS100477, and R01 NS106387 to SS and the Chiba-UCSD Center for Mucosal Immunology, Allergy and Vaccine Development. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation: Elong Ngono A, Young MP, Bunz M, Xu Z, Hattakam S, Vizcarra E, et al. (2019) CD4+ T cells romote humoral immunity and viral control during Zika virus infection. PLoS Pathog 15(1): e1007474. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1007474

Image Credit: flickr, NIAID. CC BY 2

Image Caption: Zika Virus Investigational DNA Vaccine

Author Affiliations:

Division of Inflammation Biology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA, United States of America

Institute of Arboviruses, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States of America

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1007474

Press-Only Preview of the Article: https://plos.io/2CoiMKx


Sujan Shresta, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Division of Inflammation Biology
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
9420 Athena Circle
La Jolla, CA  92037

Tel. 858-752-6944
Fax 858-752-6987

About PLOS Pathogens

PLOS Pathogens is the first Open Access journal for breakthroughs in understanding pathogens and their interactions with host organisms. The journal publishes original research and commentary that yield novel insights into pathogenesis that are of broad interest and importance to researchers studying pathogens and pathogen-host interactions.  For more information, visit http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens, and follow@PLOSPathogens on Twitter.

Media and Copyright Information

For information about PLOS Pathogens relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and embargo policy, visit http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/s/press-and-media.

PLOS journals publish under a Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits free reuse of all materials published with the article, so long as the work is cited. 

About the Public Library of Science
Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a nonprofit Open Access (OA) publisher, innovator and advocacy organization dedicated to accelerating progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. The PLOS suite of journals contain rigorously peer-reviewed Open Access research articles from all areas of science and medicine, together with expert commentary and analysis. In addition to journals, the organization advances innovations in scientific publishing through Collections, Communities and The PLOS Blog Network. Founded to catalyze a revolution in scientific publishing by demonstrating the value and feasibility of Open Access publication, PLOS is committed to innovative and forward-looking solutions to scientific communication. For more information, visit https://www.plos.org/who-we-are.