Strain 68-1 rhesus cytomegalovirus expressing simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) antigens (RhCMV/SIV) primes MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cells that control SIV replication in 50%–60% of the vaccinated rhesus macaques. Whether this unconventional SIV-specific immunity and protection is unique to rhesus macaques or RhCMV or is intrinsic to CMV remains unknown. Here, using cynomolgus CMV vectors expressing SIV antigens (CyCMV/SIV) and Mauritian cynomolgus macaques, we demonstrate that the induction of MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cells requires matching CMV to its host species. RhCMV does not elicit MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cells in cynomolgus macaques. However, cynomolgus macaques vaccinated with species-matched 68-1-like CyCMV/SIV mounted MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cells, and half of the vaccinees stringently controlled SIV post-challenge. Protected animals manifested a vaccine-induced IL-15 transcriptomic signature that is associated with efficacy in rhesus macaques. These findings demonstrate that the ability of species-matched CMV vectors to elicit MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cells that are required for anti-SIV efficacy is conserved in nonhuman primates, and these data support the development of HCMV/HIV for a prophylactic HIV vaccine.
- T cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas