Activation of MAIT cells plays a critical role in viral vector vaccine immunogenicity
Provine N., Amini A., Garner L., Dold C., Hutchings C., FitzPatrick MEB., Reyes LS., Chinnakannan S., Oguti B., Raymond M., Capone S., Folgori A., Rollier C., Barnes E., Pollard A., Klenerman P.
Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells can be activated by viruses through a cytokine-dependent mechanism, and thereby protect from lethal infection. Given this, we reasoned MAIT cells may have a critical role in the immunogenicity of replication-incompetent adenovirus vectors, which are novel and highly potent vaccine platforms. In vitro , ChAdOx1 (Chimpanzee Adenovirus Ox1) induced potent activation of MAIT cells. Activation required transduction of monocytes and plasmacytoid dendritic cells to produce IL-18 and IFN-α, respectively. IFN-α-induced monocyte-derived TNF-α was identified as a novel intermediate in this activation pathway, and activation required combinatorial signaling of all three cytokines. Furthermore, ChAdOx1-induced in vivo MAIT cell activation in both mice and human volunteers. Strikingly, MAIT cell activation was necessary in vivo for development of ChAdOx1-induced HCV-specific CD8 T cell responses. These findings define a novel role for MAIT cells in the immunogenicity of viral vector vaccines, with potential implications for future design. One sentence summary Robust immunogenicity of candidate adenovirus vaccine vectors requires the activation of unconventional T cells.