Professor Martin Bachmann

Research Area: Cell and Molecular Biology
Scientific Themes: Protein Science & Structural Biology

Prof Bachmann established that epitope repetitiveness is a geometric pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP). He demonstrated that highly repetitive structures enhance B cell responses by efficiently cross-linking B cell receptors as well as effectively recruiting the innate humoral immune system. This offers an explanation for the high immunogenicity of viruses and many bacteria.

He has harnessed the concept of epitope repetitiveness as a molecular PAMP to develop a new vaccine platform. The basis of the vaccines are epitopes chemically conjugated to virus-like particles. Preclinical proof-of-concept (PoC) has been reached with numerous prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines. Using this technology, pioneering clinical PoC has been obtained for vaccines for the treatment of hypertension and smoking.

Based on this technology, Novartis has a program for Alzheimer’s disease ongoing and Pfizer has a program in the field of allergy. A*Star in Singapore conducted a clinical study for a vaccine against influenza virus in 2013.

He established that toll-like receptor 9 ligands packaged into VLPs are more potent than free toll-like receptor 9 ligands and at the same time exhibit better tolerability. Based on these insights he initiated numerous clinical trials, resulting in encouraging data for a vaccine against melanoma and clinical PoC for the treatment of allergy and asthma.

He has developed a number of novel technologies, including new expression systems, a functional genomics technology based on mammalian cell display and a technology to isolate fully human antibodies.

There are no collaborations listed for this principal investigator.

von Loga IS, El-Turabi A, Jostins L, Miotla-Zarebska J, Mackay-Alderson J, Zeltins A, Parisi I, Bachmann MF, Vincent TL. 2019. Active immunisation targeting nerve growth factor attenuates chronic pain behaviour in murine osteoarthritis. Ann Rheum Dis, 78 (5), pp. 672-675. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Nerve growth factor (NGF) has emerged as a key driver of pain in osteoarthritis (OA) and antibodies to NGF are potent analgesics in human disease. Here, we validate a novel vaccine strategy to generate anti-NGF antibodies for reversal of pain behaviour in a surgical model of OA. METHODS: Virus-like particles were derived from the cucumber mosaic virus (CuMV) and coupled to expressed recombinant NGF to create the vaccine. 10-week-old male mice underwent partial meniscectomy to induce OA or sham-surgery. Spontaneous pain behaviour was measured by Linton incapacitance and OA severity was quantified using OARSI histological scoring. Mice (experimental and a sentinel cohort) were inoculated with CuMVttNGF (Vax) or CuMVttctrl (Mock) either before surgery or once pain was established. Efficacy of anti-NGF from the plasma of sentinel vaccinated mice was measured in vitro using a neurite outgrowth assay in PC12 cells. RESULTS: Anti-NGF titres were readily detectable in the vaccinated but not mock vaccinated mice. Regular boosting with fresh vaccine was required to maintain anti-NGF titres as measured in the sentinel cohort. Both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination demonstrated a reversal of pain behaviour by incapacitance testing, and a meta-analysis of the two studies showing analgesia at peak anti-NGF titres was highly statistically significant. Serum anti-NGF was able to inhibit neurite outgrowth equivalent to around 150 ug/mL of recombinant monoclonal antibody. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates therapeutic efficacy of a novel NGF vaccine strategy that reversibly alleviates spontaneous pain behaviour in surgically induced murine OA.

Skibinski DAG, Jones LA, Zhu YO, Xue LW, Au B, Lee B, Naim ANM, Lee A, Kaliaperumal N, Low JGH et al. 2018. Induction of Human T-cell and Cytokine Responses Following Vaccination with a Novel Influenza Vaccine. Sci Rep, 8 (1), pp. 18007. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cell mediated immunity plays a vital role in defense against influenza infection in humans. Less is known about the role of vaccine-induced cell mediated immunity and the cytokine responses elicited. We measured CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell reactivity in human subjects following vaccination with licensed trivalent influenza vaccine and a novel virus-like particle based vaccine. We detected influenza-specific CD4+ T-cell responses following vaccination with the licensed trivalent influenza vaccine and found that these correlated with antibody measurements. Administration of the novel virus-like particle based vaccine elicited influenza-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses and the induction of the cytokines IFN-γ, IL-17A, IL17F, IL-5, IL-13, IL-9, IL-10 and IL-21. Pre-existing cytokine responses influenced the profile of the cytokine response elicited by vaccination. In a subset of individuals the VLP vaccine changed pre-vaccination production of type 2 cytokines such as IL-5 and IL-13 to a post-vaccination type 1 cytokine signature characterized by IFN-γ. A transcriptional signature to vaccination was found to correlate with antibody titer, IFN-γ production by T-cells and expression of a putative RNA helicase, DDX17, on the surface of immune cells.

Bachmann MF, Jennings GT, Vogel M. 2019. A vaccine against Alzheimer`s disease: anything left but faith? Expert Opin Biol Ther, 19 (1), pp. 73-78. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Alzheimer's disease looms as a profound and growing threat to future human health. The disease is thought to be primarily driven by aberrant proteolysis of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and amyloid beta (Aβ) plaque deposition. Areas covered: We provide an overview of the molecular pathology that leads to an increase in Aβ peptide accumulation, of the mechanism of action for antibody mediated therapies and of the therapeutic vaccines that target Aβ under development. We also discuss the rationale for using vaccines in the early stages of the disease. Expert opinion: The major components of β-amyloid plaques are Aβ1-42 and Aβ1-40 peptides derived from the APP. Reducing these plaques by means of passive or active vaccination against Aβ-peptides has been a long-running endeavor but with disappointing results as the impact on disease progression has been minimal. The data gathered to date could suggest that antibodies do not work, mainly because the studies have not been performed in an optimal fashion. The emerging views are that patients should be treated earlier, ideally in the prodromal or symptom free stage, antibody levels have to be high and the correct epitope must be targeted. More clinical trials to fully explore the potential of vaccines are therefore warranted.

Engeroff P, Bachmann MF. 2019. The 5th virus-like particle and nano-particle vaccines (VLPNPV) conference. Expert Rev Vaccines, 18 (1), pp. 1-3. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus-like particles (VLPs) and nano-particles (NPs) are promising vaccine platforms that have led to the successful development of commercially available vaccines. The 5th international virus-like particle and nano-particle vaccines conference was held in Bern, Switzerland, from the 25th to the 27th of September in 2018. Topics included novel vaccine production techniques, methods to enhance vaccine immunogenicity, and preclinical/clinical efficacy evaluation of vaccine candidates. Here, we report on a selection of updates that were presented including the production of vaccines in plants, novel adjuvants to enhance vaccine immunogenicity, novel techniques of conjugating vaccine platforms with target antigens and the use of VLP-based vaccines for cancer and inflammatory diseases.

Fettelschoss-Gabriel A, Fettelschoss V, Olomski F, Birkmann K, Thoms F, Bühler M, Kummer M, Zeltins A, Kündig TM, Bachmann MF. 2019. Active vaccination against interleukin-5 as long-term treatment for insect-bite hypersensitivity in horses. Allergy, 74 (3), pp. 572-582. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Insect-bite hypersensitivity (IBH) in horses is a chronic allergic dermatitis caused by insect bites. Horses suffer from pruritic skin lesions, caused by type-I/type-IV allergic reactions accompanied by prominent eosinophil infiltration into the skin. Interleukin-5 (IL-5) is the key cytokine for eosinophils and we have previously shown that targeting IL-5 by vaccination reduces disease symptoms in horses. OBJECTIVE: Here, we analyzed the potential for long-term therapy by assessing a second follow-up year of the previously published study. METHODS: The vaccine consisted of equine IL-5 (eIL-5) covalently linked to a cucumber mosaic virus-like particle (VLP) containing a universal T cell epitope (CuMVTT ) using a semi-crossover design to follow vaccinated horses during a second treatment season. Thirty Icelandic horses were immunized with 300 μg of eIL-5-CuMVTT without adjuvant. RESULTS: The vaccine was well tolerated and did not reveal any safety concerns throughout the study. Upon vaccination, all horses developed reversible anti-eIL-5 auto-antibody titers. The mean course of eosinophil levels was reduced compared to placebo treatment leading to significant reduction of clinical lesion scores. Horses in their second vaccination year showed a more pronounced improvement of disease symptoms when compared to first treatment year, most likely due to more stable antibody titers induced by a single booster injection. Hence, responses could be maintained over two seasons and the horses remained protected against disease symptoms. CONCLUSION: Yearly vaccination against IL-5 may be a long-term solution for the treatment of IBH and other eosinophil-mediated diseases in horses and other species including humans.

Bachmann MF, El-Turabi A, Fettelschoss-Gabriel A, Vogel M. 2018. The Prospects of an Active Vaccine Against Asthma Targeting IL-5. Front Microbiol, 9 (OCT), pp. 2522. | Show Abstract | Read more

Allergen-specific T helper type 2 (Th2) responses followed by eosinophilic inflammation of the lung are important causes of allergic asthma. Interleukin-5 (IL-5) is a master regulator of eosinophil differentiation as well as activation. Blocking IL-5 using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against IL-5 is a powerful way to improve asthmatic symptoms in patients with an eosinophilic component of the disease. We have previously shown that vaccination against IL-5 can abrogate eosinophilic inflammation of the lung in allergic mice. More recently, we have demonstrated that eosinophil-mediated skin disease in horses with insect bite hypersensitivity can be strongly reduced by vaccination against IL-5. Here we would like to propose the development of a similar vaccine for the treatment of asthma in humans.

Mohsen MO, Gomes AC, Vogel M, Bachmann MF. 2018. Interaction of Viral Capsid-Derived Virus-Like Particles (VLPs) with the Innate Immune System. Vaccines (Basel), 6 (3), pp. 37-37. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus-like particles (VLPs) derived from viral nucleocapsids are an important class of nanoparticles. The structure, uniformity, stability, and function of these VLPs have attracted scientists in utilizing them as a unique tool in various applications in biomedical fields. Their interaction with the innate immune system is of major importance for the adaptive immune response they induce. The innate immune cells and molecules recognize and interact with VLPs on the basis of two major characteristics: size and surface geometry. This review discusses the interaction of viral capsid-derived VLPs with the innate immune system.

Cabral-Miranda G, Cardoso AR, Ferreira LCS, Sales MGF, Bachmann MF. 2018. Biosensor-based selective detection of Zika virus specific antibodies in infected individuals. Biosens Bioelectron, 113 pp. 101-107. | Show Abstract | Read more

Zika virus (ZIKV) recently emerged as a global threat subsequent to its global spread because it induces microencephaly and other brain damages in infants born to infected mothers. Epidemiological monitoring of infection has been hampered by the absence of reliable serological tests capable to distinguish between ZIKV and other Flavivirus infections, in particular Dengue virus (DENV). As both viruses are transmitted by the same mosquito-species, their distributions largely overlap and reliable serological distinction between the viruses is essential. Here we develop a novel biosensor which is based on recombinant forms of ZIKV non-structural protein 1 (NS1) and the domain III of the envelope protein (EDIII). Using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and square wave voltammetry (SWV), we demonstrate that in addition to extremely sensitive detection of ZIKV-specific antibodies in serum and saliva, the biosensor promptly distinguished ZIKV and DENV-specific antibodies. Hence, this novel biosensor allows assessing ZIKV antibodies in blood and saliva and results are unaffected by presence of DENV virus-specific antibodies.

Fettelschoss-Gabriel A, Fettelschoss V, Thoms F, Giese C, Daniel M, Olomski F, Kamarachev J, Birkmann K, Bühler M, Kummer M et al. 2018. Treating insect-bite hypersensitivity in horses with active vaccination against IL-5. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 142 (4), pp. 1194-1205.e3. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Insect-bite hypersensitivity is the most common allergic dermatitis in horses. Excoriated skin lesions are typical symptoms of this seasonal and refractory chronic disease. On a cellular level, the skin lesions are characterized by massive eosinophil infiltration caused by an underlying allergic response. OBJECTIVE: To target these cells and treat disease, we developed a therapeutic vaccine against equine IL-5 (eIL-5), the master regulator of eosinophils. METHODS: The vaccine consisted of eIL-5 covalently linked to a virus-like particle derived from cucumber mosaic virus containing the tetanus toxoid universal T-cell epitope tt830-843 (CMVTT). Thirty-four Icelandic horses were recruited and immunized with 400 μg of eIL-5-CMVTT formulated in PBS without adjuvant (19 horses) or PBS alone (15 horses). RESULTS: The vaccine was well tolerated and did not reveal any safety concerns but was able to induce anti-eIL-5 autoantibody titers in 17 of 19 horses. This resulted in a statistically significant reduction in clinical lesion scores when compared with previous season levels, as well as levels in placebo-treated horses. Protection required a minimal threshold of anti-eIL-5 antibodies. Clinical improvement by disease scoring showed that 47% and 21% of vaccinated horses reached 50% and 75% improvement, respectively. In the placebo group no horse reached 75% improvement, and only 13% reached 50% improvement. CONCLUSION: Our therapeutic vaccine inducing autoantibodies against self IL-5 brings biologics to horses, is the first successful immunotherapeutic approach targeting a chronic disease in horses, and might facilitate development of a similar vaccine against IL-5 in human subjects.

Bachmann MF, Zeltins A, Kalnins G, Balke I, Fischer N, Rostaher A, Tars K, Favrot C. 2018. Vaccination against IL-31 for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in dogs. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 142 (1), pp. 279-281.e1. | Read more

Foerster J, Bachmann M. 2018. HealVax. Hum Vaccin Immunother, 14 (7), pp. 1546-1547. | Read more

Zha L, Leoratti FMS, He L, Mohsen MO, Cragg M, Storni F, Vogel M, Bachmann MF. 2018. An unexpected protective role of low-affinity allergen-specific IgG through the inhibitory receptor FcγRIIb. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 142 (5), pp. 1529-1536.e6. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Induction of allergen-specific IgG antibodies is a critical parameter for successful allergen-specific immunotherapy. IgG antibodies can inhibit IgE-mediated mast cell activation through direct allergen neutralization or through the inhibitory receptor FcγRIIb. The affinity of IgE antibodies to the allergen has been shown to be critical for cellular activation. OBJECTIVE: Here we addressed the question of affinity thresholds of allergen-specific IgG antibodies for inhibition of mast cell activation using 2 different mAbs against the major cat allergen Fel d 1 both in vitro and in vivo in mice. METHODS: Sequences of the 2 high-affinity mAbs were back-mutated to germline, resulting in low-affinity (10-7 mol/L) antibodies of the exact same specificity. RESULTS: Using these newly generated recombinant antibodies, we demonstrate that low-affinity antibodies are still able to inhibit mast cell activation through FcγRIIb but do not neutralize the allergen. CONCLUSION: Antibody affinity dictates the mechanism of mast cell inhibition, and IgG antibodies triggering the inhibitory FcγRIIb pathway can show a broader cross-reactivity pattern than previously thought. This indicates that allergen-specific immunotherapy generates a larger protective umbrella of inhibitory IgG antibodies than previously appreciated.

Klimek L, Kündig T, Kramer MF, Guethoff S, Jensen-Jarolim E, Schmidt-Weber CB, Palomares O, Mohsen MO, Jakob T, Bachmann M. 2018. Virus-like particles (VLP) in prophylaxis and immunotherapy of allergic diseases. Allergo J Int, 27 (8), pp. 245-255. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Apart from active allergen avoidance, immunotherapy is regarded as the most effective form of treatment available for type I allergies. Such treatments involve the administration of allergen preparations in various forms and by various routes. Virus-like particles (VLPs) offer a very effective platform for immunization with the allergen and are characterized by high immunogenicity, low allergenicity and high clinical efficacy. Formulations that include Toll-like receptor ligands, T cell stimulatory epitopes and/or depot-forming adjuvants appear to enhance activation of the relevant immune cells. Short nucleotide sequences including CpG motifs have also been intensively explored as potent stimulators of dendritic cells and B cells. Methods: The present paper is based on a systematic literature search in PubMed and MEDLINE, and focuses on the pertinent immunological processes and on clinical data relating to use of VLPs and CpG motifs for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (AR). Results: Many published studies have reported positive clinical results following administration of VLPs, either alone or in combination with CpG motifs and, in some cases, even in the absence of the allergen-specific allergen. Conclusions: These results indicate that VLPs modulate immune responses in ways which underline their exceptional promise as a platform for the immunotherapy of allergic disorders. However, clinical evaluations remain limited, and further large-scale and longer-term studies will be necessary to substantiate the efficacy and safety of these novel therapies.

Zeltins A, West J, Zabel F, El Turabi A, Balke I, Haas S, Maudrich M, Storni F, Engeroff P, Jennings GT et al. 2017. Incorporation of tetanus-epitope into virus-like particles achieves vaccine responses even in older recipients in models of psoriasis, Alzheimer's and cat allergy. NPJ Vaccines, 2 (1), pp. 30. | Show Abstract | Read more

Monoclonal antibodies are widely used to treat non-infectious conditions but are costly. Vaccines could offer a cost-effective alternative but have been limited by sub-optimal T-cell stimulation and/or weak vaccine responses in recipients, for example, in elderly patients. We have previously shown that the repetitive structure of virus-like-particles (VLPs) can effectively bypass self-tolerance in therapeutic vaccines. Their efficacy could be increased even further by the incorporation of an epitope stimulating T cell help. However, the self-assembly and stability of VLPs from envelope monomer proteins is sensitive to geometry, rendering the incorporation of foreign epitopes difficult. We here show that it is possible to engineer VLPs derived from a non human-pathogenic plant virus to incorporate a powerful T-cell-stimulatory epitope derived from Tetanus toxoid. These VLPs (termed CMVTT) retain self-assembly as well as long-term stability. Since Th cell memory to Tetanus is near universal in humans, CMVTT-based vaccines can deliver robust antibody-responses even under limiting conditions. By way of proof of concept, we tested a range of such vaccines against chronic inflammatory conditions (model: psoriasis, antigen: interleukin-17), neurodegenerative (Alzheimer's, β-amyloid), and allergic disease (cat allergy, Fel-d1), respectively. Vaccine responses were uniformly strong, selective, efficient in vivo, observed even in old mice, and employing low vaccine doses. In addition, randomly ascertained human blood cells were reactive to CMVTT-VLPs, confirming recognition of the incorporated Tetanus epitope. The CMVTT-VLP platform is adaptable to almost any antigen and its features and performance are ideally suited for the design of vaccines delivering enhanced responsiveness in aging populations.

Engeroff P, Fellmann M, Yerly D, Bachmann MF, Vogel M. 2018. A novel recycling mechanism of native IgE-antigen complexes in human B cells facilitates transfer of antigen to dendritic cells for antigen presentation. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 142 (2), pp. 557-568.e6. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: IgE-immune complexes (IgE-ICs) have been shown to enhance antibody and T-cell responses in mice by targeting CD23 (FcεRII), the low-affinity receptor for IgE on B cells. In humans, the mechanism by which CD23-expressing cells take up IgE-ICs and process them is not well understood. OBJECTIVE: To investigate this question, we compared the fate of IgE-ICs in human B cells and in CD23-expressing monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) that represent classical antigen-presenting cells and we aimed at studying IgE-dependent antigen presentation in both cell types. METHODS: B cells and monocytes were isolated from peripheral blood, and monocytes were differentiated into moDCs. Both cell types were stimulated with IgE-ICs consisting of 4-hydroxy-3-iodo-5-nitrophenylacetyl (NIP)-specific IgE JW8 and NIP-BSA to assess binding, uptake, and degradation dynamics. To assess CD23-dependent T-cell proliferation, B cells and moDCs were pulsed with IgE-NIP-tetanus toxoid complexes and cocultured with autologous T cells. RESULTS: IgE-IC binding was CD23-dependent in B cells, and moDCs and CD23 aggregation, as well as IgE-IC internalization, occurred in both cell types. Although IgE-ICs were degraded in moDCs, B cells did not degrade the complexes but recycled them in native form to the cell surface, enabling IgE-IC uptake by moDCs in cocultures. The resulting proliferation of specific T cells was dependent on cell-cell contact between B cells and moDCs, which was explained by increased upregulation of costimulatory molecules CD86 and MHC class II on moDCs induced by B cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings argue for a novel model in which human B cells promote specific T-cell proliferation on IgE-IC encounter. On one hand, B cells act as carriers transferring antigen to more efficient antigen-presenting cells such as DCs. On the other hand, B cells can directly promote DC maturation and thereby enhance T-cell stimulation.

Cabral-Miranda G, Heath MD, Gomes AC, Mohsen MO, Montoya-Diaz E, Salman AM, Atcheson E, Skinner MA, Kramer MF, Reyes-Sandoval A, Bachmann MF. 2017. Microcrystalline Tyrosine (MCT®): A Depot Adjuvant in Licensed Allergy Immunotherapy Offers New Opportunities in Malaria. Vaccines (Basel), 5 (4), pp. 32-32. | Show Abstract | Read more

Microcrystalline Tyrosine (MCT®) is a widely used proprietary depot excipient in specific immunotherapy for allergy. In the current study we assessed the potential of MCT to serve as an adjuvant in the development of a vaccine against malaria. To this end, we formulated the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) of P. vivax in MCT and compared the induced immune responses to CSP formulated in PBS or Alum. Both MCT and Alum strongly increased immunogenicity of CSP compared to PBS in both C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice. Challenge studies in mice using a chimeric P. bergei expressing CSP of P. vivax demonstrated clinically improved symptoms of malaria with CSP formulated in both MCT and Alum; protection was, however, more pronounced if CSP was formulated in MCT. Hence, MCT may be an attractive biodegradable adjuvant useful for the development of novel prophylactic vaccines.

Doucet M, El-Turabi A, Zabel F, Hunn BHM, Bengoa-Vergniory N, Cioroch M, Ramm M, Smith AM, Gomes AC, Cabral de Miranda G et al. 2017. Preclinical development of a vaccine against oligomeric alpha-synuclein based on virus-like particles. PLoS One, 12 (8), pp. e0181844. | Show Abstract | Read more

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive and currently incurable neurological disorder characterised by the loss of midbrain dopaminergic neurons and the accumulation of aggregated alpha-synuclein (a-syn). Oligomeric a-syn is proposed to play a central role in spreading protein aggregation in the brain with associated cellular toxicity contributing to a progressive neurological decline. For this reason, a-syn oligomers have attracted interest as therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative conditions such as PD and other alpha-synucleinopathies. In addition to strategies using small molecules, neutralisation of the toxic oligomers by antibodies represents an attractive and highly specific strategy for reducing disease progression. Emerging active immunisation approaches using vaccines are already being trialled to induce such antibodies. Here we propose a novel vaccine based on the RNA bacteriophage (Qbeta) virus-like particle conjugated with short peptides of human a-syn. High titres of antibodies were successfully and safely generated in wild-type and human a-syn over-expressing (SNCA-OVX) transgenic mice following vaccination. Antibodies from vaccine candidates targeting the C-terminal regions of a-syn were able to recognise Lewy bodies, the hallmark aggregates in human PD brains. Furthermore, antibodies specifically targeted oligomeric and aggregated a-syn as they exhibited 100 times greater affinity for oligomeric species over monomer a-syn proteins in solution. In the SNCA-OVX transgenic mice used, vaccination was, however, unable to confer significant changes to oligomeric a-syn bioburden. Similarly, there was no discernible effect of vaccine treatment on behavioural phenotype as compared to control groups. Thus, antibodies specific for oligomeric a-syn induced by vaccination were unable to treat symptoms of PD in this particular mouse model.

Engeroff P, Caviezel F, Storni F, Thoms F, Vogel M, Bachmann MF. 2018. Allergens displayed on virus-like particles are highly immunogenic but fail to activate human mast cells. Allergy, 73 (2), pp. 341-349. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The goal of allergen-specific immunotherapy is the induction of protective immune responses in the absence of anaphylactic reactions. We have previously shown that Fel d 1, the major cat allergen, displayed in a repetitive fashion on virus-like particles (VLPs) may fulfill these criteria. Specifically, Fel d 1 on VLPs induced strongly increased protective IgG responses compared to free allergen in mice while anaphylactic reactions were essentially abolished. Here we extend these findings to human mast cells and offer a mechanistic explanation for the reduced anaphylactic activity. METHODS: We differentiated human mast cells in vitro from blood-derived stem cell progenitors and sensitized the cells with a monoclonal Fel d 1-specific IgE. We compared the capability of Fel d 1 to induce mast cell activation in its free form versus displayed on VLPs and we performed allergen binding studies by surface plasmon resonance as well as flow cytometry. RESULTS: We show that free Fel d 1 induces degranulation of IgE-sensitized mast cells whereas Fel d 1 displayed on VLPs fails to induce mast cell activation. We demonstrate that this inability to activate mast cells is based on a biophysical as well as a biochemical mechanism. Firstly, Fel d 1 on VLPs showed a strongly impaired ability to bind to surface-bound IgE. Secondly, despite residual binding, repetitively displayed allergen on VLPs failed to cause mast cell activation. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that repetitively displaying allergens on VLPs increases their immunogenicity while reducing their potential to cause anaphylactic reactions by essentially eliminating IgE-mediated activation of mast cells.

Leneghan DB, Miura K, Taylor IJ, Li Y, Jin J, Brune KD, Bachmann MF, Howarth M, Long CA, Biswas S. 2017. Nanoassembly routes stimulate conflicting antibody quantity and quality for transmission-blocking malaria vaccines. Sci Rep, 7 (1), pp. 3811. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccine development efforts have recently focused on enabling strong immune responses to poorly immunogenic antigens, via display on multimerisation scaffolds or virus like particles (VLPs). Typically such studies demonstrate improved antibody titer comparing monomeric and nano-arrayed antigen. There are many such studies and scaffold technologies, but minimal side-by-side evaluation of platforms for both the amount and efficacy of antibodies induced. Here we present direct comparison of three leading platforms displaying the promising malaria transmission-blocking vaccine (TBV) target Pfs25. These platforms encompass the three important routes to antigen-scaffold linkage: genetic fusion, chemical cross-linking and plug-and-display SpyTag/SpyCatcher conjugation. We demonstrate that chemically-conjugated Qβ VLPs elicited the highest quantity of antibodies, while SpyCatcher-AP205-VLPs elicited the highest quality anti-Pfs25 antibodies for transmission blocking upon mosquito feeding. These quantative and qualitative features will guide future nanoassembly optimisation, as well as the development of the new generation of malaria vaccines targeting transmission.

Zha L, He L, Xie W, Cheng J, Li T, Mohsen MO, Lei F, Storni F, Bachmann M, Chen H, Zhang Y. 2017. Therapeutic silence of pleiotrophin by targeted delivery of siRNA and its effect on the inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis. PLoS One, 12 (5), pp. e0177964. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pleiotrophin (PTN) is a secreted cytokine that is expressed in various cancer cell lines and human tumor such as colon cancer, lung cancer, gastric cancer and melanoma. It plays significant roles in angiogenesis, metastasis, differentiation and cell growth. The expression of PTN in the adult is limited to the hippocampus in an activity-dependent manner, making it a very attractive target for cancer therapy. RNA interference (RNAi) offers great potential as a new powerful therapeutic strategy based on its highly specific and efficient silencing of a target gene. However, efficient delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) in vivo remains a significant hurdle for its successful therapeutic application. In this study, we first identified, on a cell-based experiment, applying a 1:1 mixture of two PTN specific siRNA engenders a higher silencing efficiency on both mRNA and protein level than using any of them discretely at the same dose. As a consequence, slower melanoma cells growth was also observed for using two specific siRNA combinatorially. To establish a robust way for siRNA delivery in vivo and further investigate how silence of PTN affects tumor growth, we tested three different methods to deliver siRNA in vivo: first non-targeted in-vivo delivery of siRNA via jetPEI; second lung targeted delivery of siRNA via microbubble coated jetPEI; third tumor cell targeted delivery of siRNA via transferrin-polyethylenimine (Tf-PEI). As a result, we found that all three in-vivo siRNAs delivery methods led to an evident inhibition of melanoma growth in non-immune deficiency C57BL/6 mice without a measureable change of ALT and AST activities. Both targeted delivery methods showed more significant curative effect than jetPEI. The lung targeted delivery by microbubble coated jetPEI revealed a comparable therapeutic effect with Tf-PEI, indicating its potential application for target delivery of siRNA in vivo.

Cabral-Miranda G, Heath MD, Mohsen MO, Gomes AC, Engeroff P, Flaxman A, Leoratti FMS, El-Turabi A, Reyes-Sandoval A, Skinner MA et al. 2017. Virus-Like Particle (VLP) Plus Microcrystalline Tyrosine (MCT) Adjuvants Enhance Vaccine Efficacy Improving T and B Cell Immunogenicity and Protection against Plasmodium berghei/vivax. Vaccines (Basel), 5 (2), pp. 10-10. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination is the most effective prophylactic tool against infectious diseases. Despite continued efforts to control malaria, the disease still generally represents a significant unmet medical need. Microcrystalline tyrosine (MCT) is a well described depot used in licensed allergy immunotherapy products and in clinical development. However, its proof of concept in prophylactic vaccines has only recently been explored. MCT has never been used in combination with virus-like particles (VLPs), which are considered to be one of the most potent inducers of cellular and humoral immune responses in mice and humans. In the current study we assessed the potential of MCT to serve as an adjuvant in the development of a vaccine against malaria either alone or combined with VLP using Plasmodium vivax thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (TRAP) as a target antigen. We chemically coupled PvTRAP to VLPs derived from the cucumber mosaic virus fused to a universal T-cell epitope of the tetanus toxin (CMVtt), formulated with MCT and compared the induced immune responses to PvTRAP formulated in PBS or Alum. The protective capacity of the various formulations was assessed using Plasmodium berghei expressing PvTRAP. All vaccine formulations using adjuvants and/or VLP increased humoral immunogenicity for PvTRAP compared to the antigen alone. The most proficient responder was the group of mice immunized with the vaccine formulated with PvTRAP-VLP + MCT. The VLP-based vaccine formulated in MCT also induced the strongest T cell response and conferred best protection against challenge with recombinant Plasmodium berghei. Thus, the combination of VLP with MCT may take advantage of the properties of each component and appears to be an alternative biodegradable depot adjuvant for development of novel prophylactic vaccines.

Cardoso AR, Cabral-Miranda G, Reyes-Sandoval A, Bachmann MF, Sales MGF. 2017. Detecting circulating antibodies by controlled surface modification with specific target proteins: Application to malaria. Biosens Bioelectron, 91 pp. 833-841. | Show Abstract | Read more

Sensitive detection of specific antibodies by biosensors has become of major importance for monitoring and controlling epidemics. Here we report a development of a biosensor able to specifically measure antibodies in a drop of unmodified blood serum. Within minutes, the detection system measures presence of antibodies against Plasmodium vivax, a causing agent for malaria. The biosensor consists of a layer of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) which were casted on a carbon working electrode area of a three-electrode system and oxidized. An amine layer was produced next by modifying the surface with EDAC/NHS followed by reaction with a diamine compound. Finally, the protein fragments derived from P. vivax containing well-known antigen sequences were casted on this layer and bound through electrostatic interactions, involving hydrogen and ionic bonding. All these chemical changes occurring at the carbon surface along the biosensor assembly were followed and confirmed by Fourier Transformed Infrared s pectrometry (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy. The presence of antibodies in serum was detected by monitoring the electrical properties of the layer, making use of cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and square wave voltammetry (SWV), against a standard iron probe. Overall, the charge-transfer resistance decreased after antibody binding, because there was an additional amount of protein bound to the surface. This hindered the access of the iron redox probe to the conductive support at the electrode surface. Electrical changes could be measured at antibody concentration as low as ~6-50pg/L (concentrations in the range of 10-15M) and as high as ~70μg/L. Specific measurement with low background was even possible in undiluted serum. Hence, this novel biosensor allows assessing serum antibody levels in real time and in un-manipulated serum samples on-site where needed.

Mohsen MO, Gomes AC, Cabral-Miranda G, Krueger CC, Leoratti FM, Stein JV, Bachmann MF. 2017. Delivering adjuvants and antigens in separate nanoparticles eliminates the need of physical linkage for effective vaccination. J Control Release, 251 pp. 92-100. | Show Abstract | Read more

DNA rich in unmethylated CG motifs (CpGs) engage Toll-Like Receptor 9 (TLR-9) in endosomes and are well described stimulators of the innate and adaptive immune system. CpGs therefore can efficiently improve vaccines' immunogenicity. Packaging CpGs into nanoparticles, in particular into virus-like particles (VLPs), improves the pharmacological characteristics of CpGs as the protein shell protects them from DNAse activity and delivers the oligomers to the endosomal compartments of professional antigen presenting cells (APCs). The current consensus in packaging and delivering CpGs in VLP-based vaccines is that both adjuvants and antigens should be kept in close proximity (i.e. physically linked) to ensure delivery of antigens and adjuvants to the same APCs. In the current study, we harness the draining properties of the lymphatic system and show that also non-linked VLPs are efficiently co-delivered to the same APCs in lymph nodes. Specifically, we have shown that CpGs can be packaged in one VLP and mixed with another VLP displaying the antigen prior to administration in vivo. Both VLPs efficiently reached the same draining lymph node where they were taken up and processed by the same APCs, namely dendritic cells and macrophages. This resulted in induction of specific CTLs producing cytokines and killing target cells in vivo at levels seen when using VLPs containing both CpGs and chemically conjugated antigen. Thus, delivery of antigens and adjuvants in separate nanoparticles eliminates the need of physical conjugation and thus can be beneficial when designing precision medicine VLP-based vaccines or help to re-formulate existing VLP vaccines not naturally carrying immunostimulatory sequences.

Gomes AC, Flace A, Saudan P, Zabel F, Cabral-Miranda G, Turabi AE, Manolova V, Bachmann MF. 2017. Adjusted Particle Size Eliminates the Need of Linkage of Antigen and Adjuvants for Appropriated T Cell Responses in Virus-Like Particle-Based Vaccines. Front Immunol, 8 (MAR), pp. 226. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since the discovery of the first virus-like particle (VLP) derived from hepatitis B virus in 1980 (1), the field has expanded substantially. Besides successful use of VLPs as safe autologous virus-targeting vaccines, the powerful immunogenicity of VLPs has been also harnessed to generate immune response against heterologous and even self-antigens (2-4). Linking adjuvants to VLPs displaying heterologous antigen ensures simultaneous delivery of all vaccine components to the same antigen-presenting cells. As a consequence, antigen-presenting cells, such as dendritic cells, will process and present the antigen displayed on VLPs while receiving costimulatory signals by the VLP-incorporated adjuvant. Similarly, antigen-specific B cells recognizing the antigen linked to the VLP are simultaneously exposed to the adjuvant. Here, we demonstrate in mice that physical association of antigen, carrier (VLPs), and adjuvant is more critical for B than T cell responses. As a model system, we used the E7 protein from human papilloma virus, which spontaneously forms oligomers with molecular weight ranging from 158 kDa to 10 MDa at an average size of 50 nm. E7 oligomers were either chemically linked or simply mixed with VLPs loaded with DNA rich in non-methylated CG motifs (CpGs), a ligand for toll-like receptor 9. E7-specific IgG responses were strongly enhanced if the antigen was linked to the VLPs. In contrast, both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses as well as T cell-mediated protection against tumor growth were comparable for linked and mixed antigen formulations. Therefore, our data show that B cell but not T cell responses require antigen-linkage to the carrier and adjuvant for optimal vaccination outcome.

Zabel F, Fettelschoss A, Vogel M, Johansen P, Kündig TM, Bachmann MF. 2017. Distinct T helper cell dependence of memory B-cell proliferation versus plasma cell differentiation. Immunology, 150 (3), pp. 329-342. | Show Abstract | Read more

Several memory B-cell subclasses with distinct functions have been described, of which the most effective is the class-switched (CS) memory B-cell population. We have previously shown, using virus-like particles (VLPs), that the proliferative potential of these CS memory B cells is limited and they fail to re-enter germinal centres (GCs). However, VLP-specific memory B cells quickly differentiated into secondary plasma cells (PCs) with the virtue of elevated antibody production compared with primary PCs. Whereas the induction of VLP+ memory B cells was strongly dependent on T helper cells, we were wondering whether re-stimulation of VLP+ memory B cells and their differentiation into secondary PCs would also require T helper cells. Global absence of T helper cells led to strongly impaired memory B cell proliferation and PC differentiation. In contrast, lack of interleukin-21 receptor-dependent follicular T helper cells or CD40 ligand signalling strongly affected proliferation of memory B cells, but differentiation into mature secondary PCs exhibiting increased antibody production was essentially normal. This contrasts with primary B-cell responses, where a strong dependence on CD40 ligand but limited importance of interleukin-21 receptor was seen. Hence, T helper cell dependence differs between primary and secondary B-cell responses as well as between memory B-cell proliferation and PC differentiation.

Gomes AC, Mohsen M, Bachmann MF. 2017. Harnessing Nanoparticles for Immunomodulation and Vaccines. Vaccines (Basel), 5 (1), pp. 6-6. | Show Abstract | Read more

The first successful use of nanoparticles (NPs) for vaccination was reported almost 40 years ago with a virus-like particle-based vaccine against Hepatitis B. Since then, the term NP has been expanded to accommodate a large number of novel nano-sized particles engineered from a range of materials. The great interest in NPs is likely not only a result of the two successful vaccines against hepatitis B and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that use this technology, but also due to the versatility of those small-sized particles, as indicated by the wide range of applications reported so far, ranging from medicinal and cosmetics to purely technical applications. In this review, we will focus on the use of NPs, especially virus-like particles (VLPs), in the field of vaccines and will discuss their employment as vaccines, antigen display platforms, adjuvants and drug delivery systems.

Alves E, Salman AM, Leoratti F, Lopez-Camacho C, Viveros-Sandoval ME, Lall A, El-Turabi A, Bachmann MF, Hill AVS, Janse CJ et al. 2017. Evaluation of Plasmodium vivax Cell-Traversal Protein for Ookinetes and Sporozoites as a Preerythrocytic P. vivax Vaccine. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 24 (4), | Show Abstract | Read more

Four different vaccine platforms, each targeting the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax cell-traversal protein for ookinetes and sporozoites (PvCelTOS), were generated and assessed for protective efficacy. These platforms consisted of a recombinant chimpanzee adenoviral vector 63 (ChAd63) expressing PvCelTOS (Ad), a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing PvCelTOS (MVA), PvCelTOS conjugated to bacteriophage Qβ virus-like particles (VLPs), and a recombinant PvCelTOS protein expressed in eukaryotic HEK293T cells (protein). Inbred BALB/c mice and outbred CD-1 mice were immunized using the following prime-boost regimens: Ad-MVA, Ad-VLPs, and Ad-protein. Protective efficacy against sporozoite challenge was assessed after immunization using a novel chimeric rodent Plasmodium berghei parasite (Pb-PvCelTOS). This chimeric parasite expresses P. vivax CelTOS in place of the endogenous P. berghei CelTOS and produces fully infectious sporozoites. A single Ad immunization in BALB/c and CD-1 mice induced anti-PvCelTOS antibodies which were boosted efficiently using MVA, VLP, or protein immunization. PvCelTOS-specific gamma interferon- and tumor necrosis factor alpha-producing CD8+ T cells were induced at high frequencies by all prime-boost regimens in BALB/c mice but not in CD-1 mice; in CD-1 mice, they were only marginally increased after boosting with MVA. Despite the induction of anti-PvCelTOS antibodies and PvCelTOS-specific CD8+ T-cell responses, only low levels of protective efficacy against challenge with Pb-PvCelTOS sporozoites were obtained using any immunization strategy. In BALB/c mice, no immunization regimens provided significant protection against a Pb-PvCelTOS chimeric sporozoite challenge. In CD-1 mice, modest protective efficacy against challenge with chimeric P. berghei sporozoites expressing either PvCelTOS or P. falciparum CelTOS was observed using the Ad-protein vaccination regimen.

Pumpens P, Renhofa R, Dishlers A, Kozlovska T, Ose V, Pushko P, Tars K, Grens E, Bachmann MF. 2016. The True Story and Advantages of RNA Phage Capsids as Nanotools. Intervirology, 59 (2), pp. 74-110. | Show Abstract | Read more

RNA phages are often used as prototypes for modern recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) technologies. Icosahedral RNA phage VLPs can be formed from coat proteins (CPs) and are efficiently produced in bacteria and yeast. Both genetic fusion and chemical coupling have been successfully used for the production of numerous chimeras based on RNA phage VLPs. In this review, we describe advances in RNA phage VLP technology along with the history of the Leviviridae family, including its taxonomical organization, genomic structure, and important role in the development of molecular biology. Comparative 3D structures of different RNA phage VLPs are used to explain the level of VLP tolerance to foreign elements displayed on VLP surfaces. We also summarize data that demonstrate the ability of CPs to tolerate different organic (peptides, oligonucleotides, and carbohydrates) and inorganic (metal ions) compounds either chemically coupled or noncovalently added to the outer and/or inner surfaces of VLPs. Finally, we present lists of nanotechnological RNA phage VLP applications, such as experimental vaccines constructed by genetic fusion and chemical coupling methodologies, nanocontainers for targeted drug delivery, and bioimaging tools.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM. 2017. Allergen-specific immunotherapy: is it vaccination against toxins after all? Allergy, 72 (1), pp. 13-23. | Show Abstract | Read more

IgE-mediated allergies, in particular allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma, have reached epidemic proportions, affecting about one-third of the population in developed countries. The most effective treatment for allergies is specific immunotherapy (SIT), which involves the injection of increasing doses of an allergen extract to allergic individuals. The current form of SIT was first introduced in 1911 and recently celebrated its 100th birthday for the treatment of hay fever. The concept of this therapy at the time was straightforward, as it was believed that pollen contained toxins against which the patient could be vaccinated. However, the understanding became blurred with the discovery that IgE antibodies were the effector molecules of the allergic response. Subsequent research focused on the idea that SIT should induce tolerance keeping the IgE antibodies at bay. In this review, we will discuss the various hypotheses for the mechanism of SIT and we will put forward the concept that allergens may be viewed as 'protoxins' which need to be activated by IgE antibodies. Within this framework, protoxin-neutralizing antibodies are the key effector molecules while a shift to Th1 or Treg cells mainly contributes to the efficacy of SIT by helping B cells to produce neutralizing IgG antibodies.

Cavelti-Weder C, Timper K, Seelig E, Keller C, Osranek M, Lässing U, Spohn G, Maurer P, Müller P, Jennings GT et al. 2016. Development of an Interleukin-1β Vaccine in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Mol Ther, 24 (5), pp. 1003-1012. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is a key cytokine involved in inflammatory illnesses including rare hereditary diseases and common chronic inflammatory conditions as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, suggesting reduction of IL-1β activity as new treatment strategy. The objective of our study was to assess safety, antibody response, and preliminary efficacy of a novel vaccine against IL-1β. The vaccine hIL1bQb consisting of full-length, recombinant IL-1β coupled to virus-like particles was tested in a preclinical and clinical, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study in patients with type 2 diabetes. The preclinical simian study showed prompt induction of IL-1β-specific antibodies upon vaccination, while neutralizing antibodies appeared with delay. In the clinical study with 48 type 2 diabetic patients, neutralizing IL-1β-specific antibody responses were detectable after six injections with doses of 900 µg. The development of neutralizing antibodies was associated with higher number of study drug injections, lower baseline body mass index, improvement of glycemia, and C-reactive protein (CRP). The vaccine hIL1bQb was safe and well-tolerated with no differences regarding adverse events between patients receiving hIL1bQb compared to placebo. This is the first description of a vaccine against IL-1β and represents a new treatment option for IL-1β-dependent diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus ( NCT00924105).

Goldinger SM, Dummer R, Baumgaertner P, Mihic-Probst D, Schwarz K, Hammann-Haenni A, Willers J, Geldhof C, Prior JO, Kuendig TM et al. 2016. Nano-particle vaccination combined with TLR-7 and -9 ligands triggers memory and effector CD8(+) T-cell responses in melanoma patients (vol 42, pg 3049, 2012) EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, 46 (2), pp. 493-493. | Read more

Brune KD, Leneghan DB, Brian IJ, Ishizuka AS, Bachmann MF, Draper SJ, Biswas S, Howarth M. 2016. Plug-and-Display: decoration of Virus-Like Particles via isopeptide bonds for modular immunization. Sci Rep, 6 (1), pp. 19234. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are non-infectious self-assembling nanoparticles, useful in medicine and nanotechnology. Their repetitive molecularly-defined architecture is attractive for engineering multivalency, notably for vaccination. However, decorating VLPs with target-antigens by genetic fusion or chemical modification is time-consuming and often leads to capsid misassembly or antigen misfolding, hindering generation of protective immunity. Here we establish a platform for irreversibly decorating VLPs simply by mixing with protein antigen. SpyCatcher is a genetically-encoded protein designed to spontaneously form a covalent bond to its peptide-partner SpyTag. We expressed in E. coli VLPs from the bacteriophage AP205 genetically fused to SpyCatcher. We demonstrated quantitative covalent coupling to SpyCatcher-VLPs after mixing with SpyTag-linked to malaria antigens, including CIDR and Pfs25. In addition, we showed coupling to the VLPs for peptides relevant to cancer from epidermal growth factor receptor and telomerase. Injecting SpyCatcher-VLPs decorated with a malarial antigen efficiently induced antibody responses after only a single immunization. This simple, efficient and modular decoration of nanoparticles should accelerate vaccine development, as well as other applications of nanoparticle devices.

Dallenbach K, Maurer P, Röhn T, Zabel F, Kopf M, Bachmann MF. 2015. Protective effect of a germline, IL-17-neutralizing antibody in murine models of autoimmune inflammatory disease. Eur J Immunol, 45 (4), pp. 1238-1247. | Show Abstract | Read more

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) inhibiting cytokines have recently emerged as new drug modalities for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases. Interleukin-17 (IL-17) is a T-cell-derived central mediator of autoimmunity. Immunization with Qβ-IL-17, a virus-like particle based vaccine, has been shown to produce autoantibodies in mice and was effective in ameliorating disease symptoms in animal models of autoimmunity. To characterize autoantibodies induced by vaccination at the molecular level, we generated mouse mAbs specific for IL-17 and compared them to germline Ig sequences. The variable regions of a selected hypermutated high-affinity anti-IL-17 antibody differed in only three amino acid residues compared to the likely germline progenitor. An antibody, which was backmutated to germline, maintained a surprisingly high affinity (0.5 nM). The ability of the parental hypermutated antibody and the derived germline antibody to block inflammation was subsequently tested in murine models of multiple sclerosis (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis), arthritis (collagen-induced arthritis), and psoriasis (imiquimod-induced skin inflammation). Both antibodies were able to delay disease onset and significantly reduced disease severity. Thus, the mouse genome unexpectedly encodes for antibodies with the ability to functionally neutralize IL-17 in vivo.

Kündig TM, Klimek L, Schendzielorz P, Renner WA, Senti G, Bachmann MF. 2015. Is The Allergen Really Needed in Allergy Immunotherapy? Curr Treat Options Allergy, 2 (1), pp. 72-82. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunotherapy for type I allergies is well established and is regarded to be the most efficient treatment option besides allergen avoidance. As of today, different forms of allergen preparations are used in this regard, as well as different routes of application. Virus-like particles (VLPs) represent a potent vaccine platform with proven immunogenicity and clinical efficacy. The addition of toll-like receptor ligands and/or depot-forming adjuvants further enhances activation of innate as well as adaptive immune responses. CpG motifs represent intensively investigated and potent direct stimulators of plasmacytoid dendritic cells and B cells, while T cell responses are enhanced indirectly through increased antigen presentation and cytokine release. This article will focus on the function of VLPs loaded with DNA rich in nonmethylated CG motifs (CpGs) and the clinical experience gained in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, demonstrating clinical efficacy also if administered without allergens. Several published studies have demonstrated a beneficial impact on allergic symptoms by treatment with CpG-loaded VLPs. Subcutaneous injection of VLPs loaded with CpGs was tested with or without the adjuvant alum in the presence or absence of an allergen. The results encourage further investigation of VLPs and CpG motifs in immunotherapy, either as a stand-alone product or as adjuvants for allergen-specific immunotherapy.

Klimek L, Bachmann MF, Senti G, Kündig TM. 2014. Immunotherapy of type-1 allergies with virus-like particles and CpG-motifs. Expert Rev Clin Immunol, 10 (8), pp. 1059-1067. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunotherapy of type-I-allergies is regarded as the most efficient treatment option besides allergen avoidance. Different forms of allergen preparations are used as well as different routes of application. Virus-like particles represent a potent vaccine platform with proven immunogenicity and clinical efficacy. The addition of toll-like receptor ligands and/or depot-forming adjuvants further enhances immune cell activation. This article will focus on the function of virus-like particles loaded with DNA rich in CpG-motifs and discuss clinical experience in treatment of allergic rhinitis. Evidence will be presented that clinically effective treatment can be obtained even in the absence of allergens. Results encourage further investigation of virus-like particles and CpG-motifs in immunotherapy, either as a stand alone product, or as adjuvants for allergen-specific immunotherapy.

Low JGH, Lee LS, Ooi EE, Ethirajulu K, Yeo P, Matter A, Connolly JE, Skibinski DAG, Saudan P, Bachmann M et al. 2014. Safety and immunogenicity of a virus-like particle pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccine: results from a double-blinded, randomized Phase I clinical trial in healthy Asian volunteers. Vaccine, 32 (39), pp. 5041-5048. | Show Abstract | Read more

METHODS: A novel, fully bacterially produced recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) based influenza vaccine (gH1-Qbeta) against A/California/07/2009(H1N1) was tested in a double-blind, randomized phase I clinical trial at two clinical sites in Singapore. The trial evaluated the immunogenicity and safety of gH1-Qbeta in the presence or absence of alhydrogel adjuvant. Healthy adult volunteers with no or low pre-existing immunity against A/California/07/2009 (H1N1) were randomized to receive two intramuscular injections 21 days apart, with 100μg vaccine, containing 42μg hemagglutinin antigen. Antibody responses were measured before and 21 days after each immunization by hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) assays. The primary endpoint was seroconversion on Day 42, defined as percentage of subjects which reach a HAI titer ≥40 or achieve an at least 4-fold rise in HAI titer (with pre-existing immunity). The co-secondary endpoints were safety and seroconversion on Day 21. RESULTS: A total of 84 Asian volunteers were enrolled in this study and randomized to receive the adjuvanted (n=43) or the non-adjuvanted (n=41) vaccine. Of those, 43 and 37 respectively (95%) completed the study. There were no deaths or serious adverse events reported during this trial. A total of 535 adverse events occurred during treatment with 49.5% local solicited symptoms, of mostly (76.4%) mild severity. The most common treatment-related systemic symptom was fatigue. The non-adjuvanted vaccine met all primary and secondary endpoints and showed seroconversion in 62.2% and 70.3% of participants respectively on Day 21 and Day 42. While the adjuvanted vaccine showed an increased seroconversion from 25.5% (Day 21) to 51.2% (Day 42), it did not meet the immunogenicity endpoint. CONCLUSION: In summary, non-adjuvanted gH1-Qbeta showed similar antibody mediated immunogenicity and a comparable safety profile in healthy humans to commercially available vaccines. These results warrant the consideration of this VLP vaccine platform for the vaccination against influenza infection (HSA CTC1300092).



European Pubmed Central

Zabel F, Mohanan D, Bessa J, Link A, Fettelschoss A, Saudan P, Kündig TM, Bachmann MF. 2014. Viral particles drive rapid differentiation of memory B cells into secondary plasma cells producing increased levels of antibodies. J Immunol, 192 (12), pp. 5499-5508. | Show Abstract | Read more

Extensive studies have been undertaken to describe naive B cells differentiating into memory B cells at a cellular and molecular level. However, relatively little is known about the fate of memory B cells upon Ag re-encounter. We have previously established a system based on virus-like particles (VLPs), which allows tracking of VLP-specific B cells by flow cytometry as well as histology. Using allotype markers, it is possible to adoptively transfer memory B cells into a naive mouse and track responses of naive and memory B cells in the same mouse under physiological conditions. We have observed that VLP-specific memory B cells quickly differentiated into plasma cells that drove the early onset of a strong humoral IgG response. However, neither IgM(+) nor IgG(+) memory B cells proliferated extensively or entered germinal centers. Remarkably, plasma cells derived from memory B cells preferentially homed to the bone marrow earlier and secreted increased levels of Abs when compared with primary plasma cells derived from naive B cells. Hence, memory B cells have the unique phenotype to differentiate into highly effective secondary plasma cells.




Uermösi C, Zabel F, Manolova V, Bauer M, Beerli RR, Senti G, Kündig TM, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2014. IgG-mediated down-regulation of IgE bound to mast cells: A potential novel mechanism of allergen-specific desensitization Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 69 (3), pp. 338-347. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Allergen-specific IgGs are known to inhibit IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation by two mechanisms, allergen-neutralization and engagement of the inhibitory FcγRIIB recruiting the phosphatase SHIP-1. Here we unravel an additional mechanism of IgG-mediated mast cell desensitization in mice: down-regulation of allergen-specific IgE. Methods: Mast cells were loaded in vitro and in vivo with monoclonal IgE antibodies specific for Fel d1 and exposed to immune complexes consisting of Fel d1-specific IgG antibodies recognizing different epitopes. Down regulation of IgE was followed by flow cytometry. Results: Mast cells loaded with 2 different IgE antibodies efficiently internalized the IgE antibodies if exposed to recombinant Feld d1. In contrast, no down-regulation occurred if mast cells were loaded with IgE antibodies exhibiting a single were before stimulation with recombinant Fel d1. Interestingly, however, IgEs of a single specificity were rapidly down-regulated in vitro and in vivo in the presence of Fel d1-specific monoclonal IgGs recognizing another epitope on Fel d1. Despite FceRI-internalization, little calcium flux or mast cell degranulation occurred. FcγRIIB played a dual role in the process since it enhanced IgE internalization and prevented cellular activation as documented by the inhibited calcium flux and mast cell degranulation. Similar observations were made in the presence of low concentrations of IgEs recognizing several epitopes on Fel d1. Conclusion: We demonstrate here that Fel d1-specific IgG antibodies interact with FcγRIIB which (i) promotes IgE internalization; and (ii) inhibits mast cell activation. These results broaden our understanding of allergen-specific desensitization and may provide a mechanism for long-term desensitization of mast cells by selective removal of long-lived IgE antibodies on mast cells. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.




Kündig TM, Johansen P, Bachmann MF, Cardell LO, Senti G. 2014. Intralymphatic immunotherapy: Time interval between injections is essential Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 133 (3), pp. 930-931. | Read more

Fettelschoss A, Zabel F, Bachmann MF. 2014. Vaccination against Alzheimer disease: an update on future strategies. Hum Vaccin Immunother, 10 (4), pp. 847-851. | Show Abstract | Read more

Alzheimer disease is a devastating chronic disease without adequate therapy. More than 10 years ago, it was demonstrated in transgenic mouse models that vaccination may be a novel, disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer. Subsequent clinical development has been a roller-coaster with some positive and many negative news. Here, we would like to summarize evidence that next generation vaccines optimized for old people and focusing on patients with mild disease stand a good chance to proof efficacious for the treatment of Alzheimer.

Kündig TM, Johansen P, Bachmann MF, Cardell LO, Senti G. 2014. Intralymphatic immunotherapy: time interval between injections is essential. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 133 (3), pp. 930-931. | Read more

Spohn G, Schori C, Keller I, Sladko K, Sina C, Guler R, Schwarz K, Johansen P, Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2014. Preclinical efficacy and safety of an anti-IL-1β vaccine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev, 1 pp. 14048. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neutralization of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is a promising new strategy to prevent the β-cell destruction, which leads to type 2 diabetes. Here, we describe the preclinical development of a therapeutic vaccine against IL-1β consisting of a detoxified version of IL-1β chemically cross-linked to virus-like particles of the bacteriophage Qβ. The vaccine was well tolerated and induced robust antibody responses in mice, which neutralized the biological activity of IL-1β, as shown both in cellular assays and in challenge experiments in vivo. Antibody titers were long lasting but reversible over time and not associated with the development of potentially harmful T cell responses against IL-1β. Neutralization of IL-1β by vaccine-induced antibodies had no influence on the immune responses of mice to Listeria monocytogenes and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In a diet-induced model of type 2 diabetes, immunized mice showed improved glucose tolerance, which was mediated by improved insulin secretion by pancreatic β-cells. Hence, immunization with IL-1β conjugated to virus-like particles has the potential to become a safe, efficacious, and cost-effective therapy for the prevention and long-term treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Uermösi C, Zabel F, Manolova V, Bauer M, Beerli RR, Senti G, Kündig TM, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2014. IgG-mediated down-regulation of IgE bound to mast cells: a potential novel mechanism of allergen-specific desensitization. Allergy, 69 (3), pp. 338-347. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Allergen-specific IgGs are known to inhibit IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation by two mechanisms, allergen-neutralization and engagement of the inhibitory FcγRIIB recruiting the phosphatase SHIP-1. Here we unravel an additional mechanism of IgG-mediated mast cell desensitization in mice: down-regulation of allergen-specific IgE. METHODS: Mast cells were loaded in vitro and in vivo with monoclonal IgE antibodies specific for Fel d1 and exposed to immune complexes consisting of Fel d1-specific IgG antibodies recognizing different epitopes. Down regulation of IgE was followed by flow cytometry. RESULTS: Mast cells loaded with 2 different IgE antibodies efficiently internalized the IgE antibodies if exposed to recombinant Feld d1. In contrast, no down-regulation occurred if mast cells were loaded with IgE antibodies exhibiting a single specificity before stimulation with recombinant Fel d1 [corrected]. Interestingly, however, IgEs of a single specificity were rapidly down-regulated in vitro and in vivo in the presence of Fel d1-specific monoclonal IgGs recognizing another epitope on Fel d1. Despite FceRI-internalization, little calcium flux or mast cell degranulation occurred. FcγRIIB played a dual role in the process since it enhanced IgE internalization and prevented cellular activation as documented by the inhibited calcium flux and mast cell degranulation. Similar observations were made in the presence of low concentrations of IgEs recognizing several epitopes on Fel d1. CONCLUSION: We demonstrate here that Fel d1-specific IgG antibodies interact with FcγRIIB which (i) promotes IgE internalization; and (ii) inhibits mast cell activation. These results broaden our understanding of allergen-specific desensitization and may provide a mechanism for long-term desensitization of mast cells by selective removal of long-lived IgE antibodies on mast cells.

Jegerlehner A, Zabel F, Langer A, Dietmeier K, Jennings GT, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2013. Bacterially produced recombinant influenza vaccines based on virus-like particles. PLoS One, 8 (11), pp. e78947. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although current influenza vaccines are effective in general, there is an urgent need for the development of new technologies to improve vaccine production timelines, capacities and immunogenicity. Herein, we describe the development of an influenza vaccine technology which enables recombinant production of highly efficient influenza vaccines in bacterial expression systems. The globular head domain of influenza hemagglutinin, comprising most of the protein's neutralizing epitopes, was expressed in E. coli and covalently conjugated to bacteriophage-derived virus-like particles produced independently in E.coli. Conjugate influenza vaccines produced this way were used to immunize mice and found to elicit immune sera with high antibody titers specific for the native influenza hemagglutinin protein and high hemagglutination-inhibition titers. Moreover vaccination with these vaccines induced full protection against lethal challenges with homologous and highly drifted influenza strains.

Skibinski DAG, Hanson BJ, Lin Y, von Messling V, Jegerlehner A, Tee JBS, Chye DH, Wong SKK, Ng AAP, Lee HY et al. 2013. Enhanced neutralizing antibody titers and Th1 polarization from a novel Escherichia coli derived pandemic influenza vaccine. PLoS One, 8 (10), pp. e76571. | Show Abstract | Read more

Influenza pandemics can spread quickly and cost millions of lives; the 2009 H1N1 pandemic highlighted the shortfall in the current vaccine strategy and the need for an improved global response in terms of shortening the time required to manufacture the vaccine and increasing production capacity. Here we describe the pre-clinical assessment of a novel 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine based on the E. coli-produced HA globular head domain covalently linked to virus-like particles derived from the bacteriophage Qβ. When formulated with alum adjuvant and used to immunize mice, dose finding studies found that a 10 µg dose of this vaccine (3.7 µg globular HA content) induced antibody titers comparable to a 1.5 µg dose (0.7 µg globular HA content) of the licensed 2009 H1N1 pandemic vaccine Panvax, and significantly reduced viral titers in the lung following challenge with 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza A/California/07/2009 virus. While Panvax failed to induce marked T cell responses, the novel vaccine stimulated substantial antigen-specific interferon-γ production in splenocytes from immunized mice, alongside enhanced IgG2a antibody production. In ferrets the vaccine elicited neutralizing antibodies, and following challenge with influenza A/California/07/2009 virus reduced morbidity and lowered viral titers in nasal lavages.

Reyes-Sandoval A, Bachmann MF. 2013. Plasmodium vivax malaria vaccines: why are we where we are? Hum Vaccin Immunother, 9 (12), pp. 2558-2565. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is one of the few diseases in which morbidity is still measured in hundreds of millions of cases every year. Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum are responsible for nearly all the malaria cases in the world and despite difficulties in obtaining an exact number, estimates indicate an astonishing 349-552 million clinical cases of malaria due to P. falciparum in 2007 and between 132-391 million clinical episodes due to P. vivax in 2009. It is becoming evident that eradication of malaria will be an arduous task and P. vivax will be one of the most difficult species to eliminate and perhaps become the last standing malaria parasite. Indeed, in countries that succeed in decreasing the disease burden, nearly all the remaining malaria cases are caused by P. vivax. Such resilience is mainly due to the sophisticated mechanism that the parasite has evolved to remain dormant for months or years forming hypnozoites, a small structure in the liver that will be a major hurdle in the efforts toward malaria eradication. Furthermore, while clinical trials of vaccines against P. falciparum are making fast progress, a very different picture is seen with P. vivax, where only few candidates are currently active in clinical trials.

Zabel F, Kündig TM, Bachmann MF. 2013. Virus-induced humoral immunity: on how B cell responses are initiated. Curr Opin Virol, 3 (3), pp. 357-362. | Show Abstract | Read more

Most antiviral vaccines are based on viral particles, which are efficient inducers of B cell responses. In addition to their ability to replicate, several features associated with the structure and content of the viral particles are responsible for this high immunogenicity. First, viral particles usually have dimensions between 20 and 200 nm, a size optimal for drainage to lymph nodes and direct interaction with B cells. Second, the surface of most viral particles is highly repetitive, causing efficient cross-linking of B cell receptors, an early and key step of B cell activation. In addition, such repetitive structures bind natural antibodies and fix complement, further enhancing B cell activation as well as transport to and deposition on follicular dendritic cells. Third, viral particles carry ligands for toll-like receptor 7/8 or 9 which activate B cells directly for isotype switching as well as dendritic cells for T cell priming. In this review, we will highlight recent insights in these mechanisms and discuss their impact on antiviral antibody responses.

Bachmann MF, Whitehead P. 2013. Active immunotherapy for chronic diseases. Vaccine, 31 (14), pp. 1777-1784. | Show Abstract | Read more

With the effective control of infectious diseases in many parts of the world, chronic, non-communicable diseases have become the major cause of death and disability. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have become an important class of drugs for the treatment of such diseases. Nevertheless, mAbs suffer from major shortcomings in a chronic setting: most notably, generation of anti-antibodies and high cost of goods. Here, we discuss a novel approach to treat chronic diseases based on active rather than passive immunization and contrast the 2 treatment modalities to highlight their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Beeh K-M, Kanniess F, Wagner F, Schilder C, Naudts I, Hammann-Haenni A, Willers J, Stocker H, Mueller P, Bachmann MF, Renner WA. 2013. The novel TLR-9 agonist QbG10 shows clinical efficacy in persistent allergic asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 131 (3), pp. 866-874. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Allergen-specific TH2 responses contribute to the development of allergic asthma. Their increase may be due to a reduced early exposure to environmental pathogens, which induces a TH1 response, and thereby suppresses the allergic TH2 response. QbG10 (bacteriophage Qbeta-derived virus-like particle with CpG-motif G10 inside), a novel Toll-like receptor 9 agonist packaged into virus-like particles, was designed to stimulate the immune system toward a TH1-mediated protective response. OBJECTIVE: We examined clinical efficacy, safety, and tolerability of QbG10 with patient-reported and objective clinical outcome parameters in patients with mild-to-moderate persistent allergic asthma. METHODS: In this proof-of-concept parallel-group, double-blind, randomized trial, 63 asthmatic patients followed conversion to a standardized inhaled steroid and were treated with 7 injections of either QbG10 or placebo. Incorporating a controlled steroid withdrawal, the effects on patient-reported (day- and nighttime asthma symptoms, salbutamol usage, and 7-item-Asthma Control Questionnaire scores) and objective clinical outcome measures (FEV1, fraction of exhaled nitric oxide, and blood eosinophils) were assessed over 12 weeks ( number, NCT00890734). RESULTS: All patient-reported parameters improved overall between week 0 and 12 in QbG10-treated patients (n = 33) despite steroid withdrawal, compared with deteriorations observed under placebo (n = 30, P < .05). At week 12, two thirds of the QbG10-treated patients had their asthma "well controlled" (Asthma Control Questionnaire score ≤0.75) compared with one third under placebo. FEV1 had worsened to a clinically significant extent in patients on placebo, while it remained stable in QbG10 patients. Adverse events were mostly injection site reactions occurring after QbG10 administration. CONCLUSION: Treatment with QbG10 may contribute to continued asthma control during steroid reduction in patients on moderate or high-dose inhaled steroids.

Tissot AC, Spohn G, Jennings GT, Shamshiev A, Kurrer MO, Windak R, Meier M, Viesti M, Hersberger M, Kündig TM et al. 2013. A VLP-based vaccine against interleukin-1α protects mice from atherosclerosis. Eur J Immunol, 43 (3), pp. 716-722. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin (IL)-1α is a potent proinflammatory cytokine that has been implicated in the development of atherosclerosis. We investigated whether a vaccine inducing IL-1α neutralizing antibodies could interfere with disease progression in a murine model of atherosclerosis. We immunized Apolipoprothin E (ApoE)-deficient mice with a vaccine (IL-1α-C-Qβ) consisting of full-length, native IL-1α chemically conjugated to virus-like particles derived from the bacteriophage Qβ. ApoE(-/-) mice were administered six injections of IL-1α-C-Qβ or nonconjugated Qβ over a period of 160 days while being maintained on a western diet. Atherosclerosis was measured in the descending aorta and in cross-sections at the aortic root. Macrophage infiltration in the aorta was measured using CD68. Expression levels of VCAM-1, ICAM-1, and MCP-1 were quantified by RT-PCR. Immunization against IL-1α reduced plaque progression in the descending aorta by 50% and at the aortic root by 37%. Macrophage infiltration in the aorta was reduced by 22%. Inflammation was also reduced in the adventitia, with a decrease of 54% in peri-aortic infiltrate score and reduced expression levels of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1. Active immunization targeting IL-1α reduced both the inflammatory reaction in the plaque as well as plaque progression. In summary, vaccination against IL-1α protected ApoE(-/-) mice against disease, suggesting that this may be a potential treatment option for atherosclerosis.

Bessa J, Zabel F, Link A, Jegerlehner A, Hinton HJ, Schmitz N, Bauer M, Kündig TM, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2012. Low-affinity B cells transport viral particles from the lung to the spleen to initiate antibody responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109 (50), pp. 20566-20571. | Show Abstract | Read more

The lung is an important entry site for pathogens; its exposure to antigens results in systemic as well as local IgA and IgG antibodies. Here we show that intranasal administration of virus-like particles (VLPs) results in splenic B-cell responses with strong local germinal-center formation. Surprisingly, VLPs were not transported from the lung to the spleen in a free form but by B cells. The interaction between VLPs and B cells was initiated in the lung and occurred independently of complement receptor 2 and Fcγ receptors, but was dependent upon B-cell receptors. Thus, B cells passing through the lungs bind VLPs via their B-cell receptors and deliver them to local B cells within the splenic B-cell follicle. This process is fundamentally different from delivery of blood or lymph borne particulate antigens, which are transported into B cell follicles by binding to complement receptors on B cells.

Goldinger SM, Dummer R, Baumgaertner P, Mihic-Probst D, Schwarz K, Hammann-Haenni A, Willers J, Geldhof C, Prior JO, Kündig TM et al. 2012. Nano-particle vaccination combined with TLR-7 and -9 ligands triggers memory and effector CD8⁺ T-cell responses in melanoma patients. Eur J Immunol, 42 (11), pp. 3049-3061. | Show Abstract | Read more

Optimal vaccine strategies must be identified for improving T-cell vaccination against infectious and malignant diseases. MelQbG10 is a virus-like nano-particle loaded with A-type CpG-oligonucleotides (CpG-ODN) and coupled to peptide(16-35) derived from Melan-A/MART-1. In this phase IIa clinical study, four groups of stage III-IV melanoma patients were vaccinated with MelQbG10, given (i) with IFA (Montanide) s.c.; (ii) with IFA s.c. and topical Imiquimod; (iii) i.d. with topical Imiquimod; or (iv) as intralymph node injection. In total, 16/21 (76%) patients generated ex vivo detectable Melan-A/MART-1-specific T-cell responses. T-cell frequencies were significantly higher when IFA was used as adjuvant, resulting in detectable T-cell responses in all (11/11) patients, with predominant generation of effector-memory-phenotype cells. In turn, Imiquimod induced higher proportions of central-memory-phenotype cells and increased percentages of CD127(+) (IL-7R) T cells. Direct injection of MelQbG10 into lymph nodes resulted in lower T-cell frequencies, associated with lower proportions of memory and effector-phenotype T cells. Swelling of vaccine site draining lymph nodes, and increased glucose uptake at PET/CT was observed in 13/15 (87%) of evaluable patients, reflecting vaccine triggered immune reactions in lymph nodes. We conclude that the simultaneous use of both Imiquimod and CpG-ODN induced combined memory and effector CD8(+) T-cell responses.

Zabel F, Mohanan D, Link A, Bessa J, Saudan P, Kuendig TM, Bachmann MF. 2012. The kinetics of a memory B cell response to virus like particles in mice IMMUNOLOGY, 137 pp. 340-341.

Link A, Zabel F, Schnetzler Y, Titz A, Brombacher F, Bachmann MF. 2012. Innate immunity mediates follicular transport of particulate but not soluble protein antigen. J Immunol, 188 (8), pp. 3724-3733. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ag retention on follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) is essential for B cell activation and clonal selection within germinal centers. Protein Ag is deposited on FDCs after formation of immune complexes with specific Abs. In this study, by comparing the same antigenic determinant either as soluble protein or virus-like particle (VLP), we demonstrate that VLPs are transported efficiently to murine splenic FDCs in vivo in the absence of prior immunity. Natural IgM Abs and complement were required and sufficient to mediate capture and transport of VLPs by noncognate B cells. In contrast, soluble protein was only deposited on FDCs in the presence of specifically induced IgM or IgG Abs. Unexpectedly, IgG Abs had the opposite effect on viral particles and inhibited FDC deposition. These findings identify size and repetitive structure as critical factors for efficient Ag presentation to B cells and highlight important differences between soluble proteins and viral particles.

Rebeaud F, Bachmann MF. 2012. Immunization strategies for Clostridium difficile infections. Expert Rev Vaccines, 11 (4), pp. 469-479. | Show Abstract | Read more

Clostridium difficile infection is a major cause of nosocomial disease in Western countries. The recent emergence of hypervirulent strains resistant to most antibiotics correlates with increasing disease incidence, severity and lethal outcomes. Current treatments rely on metronidazol and vancomycin, but the limited ability of these antibiotics to cure infection and prevent relapse highlights the need for new strategies. A better knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of the disease, the host immune response and identification of key virulence factors of Clostridium difficile now permits the development of new products specifically targeting the pathogen. Immune-based strategies relying on active vaccination or passive administration of antibody products are the focus of intense research and, today, the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies and of two vaccines are evaluated clinically. This review presents recent data, discusses the different strategies and highlights the challenges linked to the development of immunization strategies against this emerging threat.

Schmitz N, Beerli RR, Bauer M, Jegerlehner A, Dietmeier K, Maudrich M, Pumpens P, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2012. Universal vaccine against influenza virus: linking TLR signaling to anti-viral protection. Eur J Immunol, 42 (4), pp. 863-869. | Show Abstract | Read more

A vaccine protecting against all influenza strains is a long-sought goal, particularly for emerging pandemics. As previously shown, vaccines based on the highly conserved extracellular domain of M2 (M2e) may protect against all influenza A strains. Here, we demonstrate that M2e-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) protect mice from a lethal influenza infection. To be protective, antibodies had to be able to bind to Fc receptors and fix complement. Furthermore, mAbs of IgG2c isotype were protective in mice, while antibodies of identical specificity, but of the IgG1 isotype, failed to prevent disease. These findings readily translated into vaccine design. A vaccine targeting M2 in the absence of a toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 ligand primarily induced IgG1, whilst the same vaccine linked to a TLR7 ligand yielded high levels of IgG2c antibodies. Although both vaccines protected mice from a lethal challenge, mice treated with the vaccine containing a TLR7 ligand showed significantly lower morbidity. In accordance with these findings, vaccination of TLR7(-/-) mice with a vaccine containing a TLR7 ligand did not result in protection from a lethal challenge. Hence, the innate immune system is required to direct isotype switching toward the more protective IgG2a/c antibodies.

Bachmann MF. 2012. Taurine: energy drink for T cells. Eur J Immunol, 42 (4), pp. 819-821. | Show Abstract | Read more

The activation of T cells causes many cellular changes, including alterations in cell morphology, motility, and size. While all immunologists know that T cells increase their size and become "blasted" upon activation, little attention has been paid to the question of how cell size is regulated and how this process influences T-cell responses. In this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, Kaesler et al. [Eur. J. Immunol. 2012. 42: 831-841] demonstrate that the organic osmolyte taurine and its transporter Taut are instrumental in driving cell-volume regulation and therefore the T-cell response. In the absence of Taut, effector and memory T-cell responses in mice are severely impaired, mainly due to increased apoptosis of effector cells. Hence, this paper provides an important link between the regulation of cell size and effector T-cell responses.

Braun M, Jandus C, Maurer P, Hammann-Haenni A, Schwarz K, Bachmann MF, Speiser DE, Romero P. 2012. Virus-like particles induce robust human T-helper cell responses. Eur J Immunol, 42 (2), pp. 330-340. | Show Abstract | Read more

Among synthetic vaccines, virus-like particles (VLPs) are used for their ability to induce strong humoral responses. Very little is reported on VLP-based-vaccine-induced CD4(+) T-cell responses, despite the requirement of helper T cells for antibody isotype switching. Further knowledge on helper T cells is also needed for optimization of CD8(+) T-cell vaccination. Here, we analysed human CD4(+) T-cell responses to vaccination with MelQbG10, which is a Qβ-VLP covalently linked to a long peptide derived from the melanoma self-antigen Melan-A. In all analysed patients, we found strong antibody responses of mainly IgG1 and IgG3 isotypes, and concomitant Th1-biased CD4(+) T-cell responses specific for Qβ. Although less strong, comparable B- and CD4(+) T-cell responses were also found specific for the Melan-A cargo peptide. Further optimization is required to shift the response more towards the cargo peptide. Nevertheless, the data demonstrate the high potential of VLPs for inducing humoral and cellular immune responses by mounting powerful CD4(+) T-cell help.

Tars K, Kotelovica S, Lipowsky G, Bauer M, Beerli RR, Bachmann MF, Maurer P. 2012. Different binding modes of free and carrier-protein-coupled nicotine in a human monoclonal antibody. J Mol Biol, 415 (1), pp. 118-127. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nicotine is the principal addictive component of tobacco. Blocking its passage from the lung to the brain with nicotine-specific antibodies is a promising approach for the treatment of smoking addiction. We have determined the crystal structure of nicotine bound to the Fab fragment of a fully human monoclonal antibody (mAb) at 1.85 Å resolution. Nicotine is almost completely (>99%) buried in the interface between the variable domains of heavy and light chains. The high affinity of the mAb is the result of a charge-charge interaction, a hydrogen bond, and several hydrophobic contacts. Additionally, similarly to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain, two cation-π interactions are present between the pyrrolidine charge and nearby aromatic side chains. The selectivity of the mAb for nicotine versus cotinine, which is the major metabolite of nicotine and differs in only one oxygen atom, is caused by steric constraints in the binding site. The mAb was isolated from B cells of an individual immunized with a nicotine-carrier protein conjugate vaccine. Surprisingly, the nicotine was bound to the Fab fragment in an orientation that was not compatible with binding to the nicotine-carrier protein conjugate. The structure of the Fab fragment in complex with the nicotine-linker derivative that was used for the production of the conjugate vaccine revealed a similar position of the pyridine ring of the nicotine moiety, but the pyrrolidine ring was rotated by about 180°. This allowed the linker part to reach to the Fab surface while high-affinity interactions with the nicotine moiety were maintained.

Dallenbach K, Maurer P, Kopf M, Bachmann M. 2011. The role of monoclonal antibody affinity in mediating protection against autoimmune inflammatory diseases IMMUNOLOGY, 135 pp. 125-125.

DeFranco A, Hou B, Saudan P, Ott G, Coffman RL, Bachmann M. 2011. B cell TLRs and the antibody response to virus particles IMMUNOLOGY, 135 pp. 11-11.

Fettelschoss A, Kistowska M, LeibundGut-Landmann S, Beer H-D, Johansen P, Senti G, Contassot E, Bachmann MF, French LE, Oxenius A, Kündig TM. 2011. Inflammasome activation and IL-1β target IL-1α for secretion as opposed to surface expression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108 (44), pp. 18055-18060. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin-1α (IL-1α) and -β both bind to the same IL-1 receptor (IL-1R) and are potent proinflammatory cytokines. Production of proinflammatory (pro)-IL-1α and pro-IL-1β is induced by Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated NF-κB activation. Additional stimulus involving activation of the inflammasome and caspase-1 is required for proteolytic cleavage and secretion of mature IL-1β. The regulation of IL-1α maturation and secretion, however, remains elusive. IL-1α exists as a cell surface-associated form and as a mature secreted form. Here we show that both forms of IL-1α, the surface and secreted form, are differentially regulated. Surface IL-1α requires NF-κB activation only, whereas secretion of mature IL-1α requires additional activation of the inflammasome and caspase-1. Surprisingly, secretion of IL-1α also required the presence of IL-1β, as demonstrated in IL-1β-deficient mice. We further demonstrate that IL-1β directly binds IL-1α, thus identifying IL-1β as a shuttle for another proinflammatory cytokine. These results have direct impact on selective treatment modalities of inflammatory diseases.

Bachmann MF, Jennings GT. 2011. Therapeutic vaccines for chronic diseases: successes and technical challenges. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 366 (1579), pp. 2815-2822. | Show Abstract | Read more

Chronic, non-communicable diseases are the major cause of death and disability worldwide and have replaced infectious diseases as the major burden of society in large parts of the world. Despite the complexity of chronic diseases, relatively few predisposing risk factors have been identified by the World Health Organization. Those include smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as the cause of many of these chronic conditions. Here, we discuss several examples of vaccines that target these risk factors with the aim of preventing the associated diseases and some of the challenges they face.

Klimek L, Willers J, Hammann-Haenni A, Pfaar O, Stocker H, Mueller P, Renner WA, Bachmann MF. 2011. Assessment of clinical efficacy of CYT003-QbG10 in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis: a phase IIb study. Clin Exp Allergy, 41 (9), pp. 1305-1312. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Allergic symptoms are generally caused by exposure to substances to which people have become sensitized. Associated with this is an 'unbalanced' Th1/Th2 immune response with T cell responses skewed towards the production of Th2 cytokines, IL-4, 5, and 13 and high levels of IgE antibodies. Current immune modulating therapies require the use of allergens, carrying the risk to induce potentially severe allergic reactions. OBJECTIVE: Goal of the present study was to assess the safety and efficacy of an allergen-free immune modulator in patients suffering from perennial allergy. METHODS: In order to be protected from immediate degradation upon injection, a toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist was packaged into virus-like particles. These nanoparticles loaded with TLR9 ligands (CYT003-QbG10) were injected six times, at weekly intervals, into patients with house dust mite allergy in an attempt to ameliorate allergic symptoms by modifying the immune response towards allergens. Two different doses were compared against placebo in this double-blind, randomized phase IIb study (n=299). Public trial registry: (NCT00800332). RESULTS: The treatment was safe and generally well tolerated. Rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms were significantly lower in patients treated with high dose of CYT003-QbG10 as compared with placebo (scores 0.31 vs. 0.52, P=0.04) based on a standardized average combined symptom and medication score. Furthermore, patients in the high dose group reported a significantly better quality of life score post-treatment than patients on placebo (scores 0.71 vs. 1.21, P=0.02). The conjunctival provocation test revealed a median 10-fold increase in allergen tolerance in the high dose group while in the placebo group it remained unchanged. CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Treatment with high-dose CYT003-QbG10 improved disease symptoms and reduced medication use in allergic individuals thus providing first evidence for a new potential immunotherapeutic.

Freigang S, Ampenberger F, Spohn G, Heer S, Shamshiev AT, Kisielow J, Hersberger M, Yamamoto M, Bachmann MF, Kopf M. 2011. Nrf2 is essential for cholesterol crystal-induced inflammasome activation and exacerbation of atherosclerosis. Eur J Immunol, 41 (7), pp. 2040-2051. | Show Abstract | Read more

Oxidative stress and inflammation--two components of the natural host response to injury--constitute important etiologic factors in atherogenesis. The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1 significantly enhances atherosclerosis, however, the molecular mechanisms of IL-1 induction within the artery wall remain poorly understood. Here we have identified the oxidative stress-responsive transcription factor NF-E2-related 2 (Nrf2) as an essential positive regulator of inflammasome activation and IL-1-mediated vascular inflammation. We show that cholesterol crystals, which accumulate in atherosclerotic plaques, represent an endogenous danger signal that activates Nrf2 and the NLRP3 inflammasome. The resulting vigorous IL-1 response critically depended on expression of Nrf2, and Nrf2-deficient apolipoprotein E (Apoe)-/- mice were highly protected against diet-induced atherogenesis. Importantly, therapeutic neutralization of IL-1α and IL-1β reduced atherosclerosis in Nrf2+/- Apoe-/- but not in Nrf2-/- Apoe-/- mice, suggesting that the pro-atherogenic effect of Nrf2-signaling was primarily mediated by its permissive role in IL-1 production. Our studies demonstrate a role for Nrf2 in inflammasome activation, and identify cholesterol crystals as disease-relevant triggers of the NLRP3 inflammasome and potent pro-atherogenic cytokine responses. These findings suggest a common pathway through which oxidative stress and metabolic danger signals converge and mutually perpetuate the chronic vascular inflammation that drives atherosclerosis.

Wiessner C, Wiederhold K-H, Tissot AC, Frey P, Danner S, Jacobson LH, Jennings GT, Lüönd R, Ortmann R, Reichwald J et al. 2011. The second-generation active Aβ immunotherapy CAD106 reduces amyloid accumulation in APP transgenic mice while minimizing potential side effects. J Neurosci, 31 (25), pp. 9323-9331. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunization against amyloid-β (Aβ) can reduce amyloid accumulation in vivo and is considered a potential therapeutic approach for Alzheimer's disease. However, it has been associated with meningoencephalitis thought to be mediated by inflammatory T-cells. With the aim of producing an immunogenic vaccine without this side effect, we designed CAD106 comprising Aβ1-6 coupled to the virus-like particle Qβ. Immunization with this vaccine did not activate Aβ-specific T-cells. In APP transgenic mice, CAD106 induced efficacious Aβ antibody titers of different IgG subclasses mainly recognizing the Aβ3-6 epitope. CAD106 reduced brain amyloid accumulation in two APP transgenic mouse lines. Plaque number was a more sensitive readout than plaque area, followed by Aβ42 and Aβ40 levels. Studies with very strong overall amyloid reduction showed an increase in vascular Aβ, which atypically was nonfibrillar. The efficacy of Aβ immunotherapy depended on the Aβ levels and thus differed between animal models, brain regions, and stage of amyloid deposition. Therefore, animal studies may not quantitatively predict the effect in human Alzheimer's disease. Our studies provided no evidence for increased microhemorrhages or inflammatory reactions in amyloid-containing brain. In rhesus monkeys, CAD106 induced a similar antibody response as in mice. The antibodies stained amyloid deposits on tissue sections of mouse and human brain but did not label cellular structures containing APP. They reacted with Aβ monomers and oligomers and blocked Aβ toxicity in cell culture. We conclude that CAD106 immunization is suited to interfere with Aβ aggregation and its downstream detrimental effects.

Hou B, Saudan P, Ott G, Wheeler ML, Ji M, Kuzmich L, Lee LM, Coffman RL, Bachmann MF, DeFranco AL. 2011. Selective utilization of Toll-like receptor and MyD88 signaling in B cells for enhancement of the antiviral germinal center response. Immunity, 34 (3), pp. 375-384. | Show Abstract | Read more

The contribution of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling to T cell-dependent (TD) antibody responses was assessed by using mice lacking the TLR signaling adaptor MyD88 in individual cell types. When a soluble TLR9 ligand was used as adjuvant for a protein antigen, MyD88 was required in dendritic cells but not in B cells to enhance the TD antibody response, regardless of the inherent immunogenicity of the antigen. In contrast, a TLR9 ligand contained within a virus-like particle substantially augmented the TD germinal center IgG antibody response, and this augmentation required B cell MyD88. The ability of B cells to discriminate between antigens based on the physical form of a TLR ligand probably reflects an adaptation to facilitate strong antiviral antibody responses.

Röhn TA, Ralvenius WT, Paul J, Borter P, Hernandez M, Witschi R, Grest P, Zeilhofer HU, Bachmann MF, Jennings GT. 2011. A virus-like particle-based anti-nerve growth factor vaccine reduces inflammatory hyperalgesia: potential long-term therapy for chronic pain. J Immunol, 186 (3), pp. 1769-1780. | Show Abstract | Read more

Chronic pain resulting from inflammatory and neuropathic disorders causes considerable economic and social burden. For a substantial proportion of patients, conventional drug treatments do not provide adequate pain relief. Consequently, novel approaches to pain management, involving alternative targets and new therapeutic modalities compatible with chronic use, are being sought. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a major mediator of chronic pain. Clinical testing of NGF antagonists is ongoing, and clinical proof of concept has been established with a neutralizing mAb. Active immunization, with the goal of inducing therapeutically effective neutralizing autoreactive Abs, is recognized as a potential treatment option for chronic diseases. We have sought to determine if such a strategy could be applied to chronic pain by targeting NGF with a virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine. A vaccine comprising recombinant murine NGF conjugated to VLPs from the bacteriophage Qβ (NGFQβ) was produced. Immunization of mice with NGFQβ induced anti-NGF-specific IgG Abs capable of neutralizing NGF. Titers could be sustained over 1 y by periodic immunization but declined in the absence of boosting. Vaccination with NGFQβ substantially reduced hyperalgesia in collagen-induced arthritis or postinjection of zymosan A, two models of inflammatory pain. Long-term NGFQβ immunization did not change sensory or sympathetic innervation patterns or induce cholinergic deficits in the forebrain, nor did it interfere with blood-brain barrier integrity. Thus, autovaccination targeting NGF using a VLP-based approach may represent a novel modality for the treatment of chronic pain.

Guler R, Parihar SP, Spohn G, Johansen P, Brombacher F, Bachmann MF. 2011. Blocking IL-1α but not IL-1β increases susceptibility to chronic Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in mice. Vaccine, 29 (6), pp. 1339-1346. | Show Abstract | Read more

IL-1α and IL-1β are potent inflammatory cytokines and important mediators of immune responses to intracellular pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Here, we investigated the role of IL-1α and IL-1β during chronic Mtb infection and spontaneous reactivation in mice. For long-term neutralization of IL-1α, IL-1β or both, mice were immunized with virus-like particles (VLPs) displaying either of the cytokines, inducing strong and long-lasting neutralizing IgG responses. Blocking of IL-1α but not of IL-1β resulted in increased susceptibility to chronic infection with Mtb. Neutralizing either IL-1α or IL-1β alone did not lead to increased reactivation of latent tuberculosis. The generation of antibodies neutralizing both IL-1α and IL-1β simultaneously, did not influence weight gain during Mtb reactivation and the slight increase in pulmonary bacillary counts were not significant when compared to control-immunized group. Thus, the results suggest that IL-1α is the major mediator of the IL-1RI-dependent and protective innate immune responses to Mtb in mice.

Tortola L, Yadava K, Bachmann MF, Müller C, Kisielow J, Kopf M. 2010. IL-21 induces death of marginal zone B cells during chronic inflammation. Blood, 116 (24), pp. 5200-5207. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-21 share activities in the control of T- and B-cell maturation, proliferation, function, and survival. However, opposing roles for IL-2 and IL-21 have been reported in the development of regulatory T cells. To dissect unique, redundant, and opposing activities of IL-2 and IL-21, we compared T- and B-cell development and function in mice lacking both IL-2 receptor α (IL-2Rα) and IL-21R (double knockouts [DKO]) with single knockout and wild-type (WT) mice. Similarly to il2ra(-/-) mice, DKO showed reduced numbers of regulatory T cells and, consequently, hyper-activation and proliferation of T cells associated with inflammatory disease (ie, colitis), weight loss, and reduced survival. The absence of IL-2Rα resulted in overproduction of IL-21 by IFN-γ-producing CD4(+) T cells, which induced apoptosis of marginal zone (MZ) B cells. Hence, MZ B cells and MZ B-cell immunoglobulin M antibody responses to Streptococcus pneumoniae phosophorylcholine were absent in il2ra(-/-) mice but were completely restored in DKO mice. Our results highlight key roles of IL-2 in inhibiting IL-21 production by CD4(+) T cells and of IL-21 in negatively regulating MZ B-cell survival and antibody production.

Bachmann MF, Jennings GT. 2010. Vaccine delivery: a matter of size, geometry, kinetics and molecular patterns. Nat Rev Immunol, 10 (11), pp. 787-796. | Show Abstract | Read more

Researchers working on the development of vaccines face an inherent dilemma: to maximize immunogenicity without compromising safety and tolerability. Early vaccines often induced long-lived protective immune responses, but tolerability was a major problem. Newer vaccines have very few side effects but can be of limited immunogenicity. One way to tackle this problem is to design vaccines that have all the properties of pathogens with the exception of causing disease. Key features of pathogens that can be mimicked by vaccine delivery systems are their size, shape and surface molecule organization. In addition, pathogen-associated molecular patterns can be used to induce innate immune responses that promote adaptive immunity. In this Review, we discuss the approaches currently being used to optimize the delivery of antigens and enhance vaccine efficacy.

Wiesel M, Joller N, Ehlert A-K, Crouse J, Spörri R, Bachmann MF, Oxenius A. 2010. Th cells act via two synergistic pathways to promote antiviral CD8+ T cell responses. J Immunol, 185 (9), pp. 5188-5197. | Show Abstract | Read more

The mechanisms of how Th cells promote CD8(+) T cell responses during viral infections are largely unknown. In this study, we unraveled the mechanisms of T cell help for CD8(+) T cell responses during vaccinia virus infection. Our results demonstrate that Th cells promote vaccinia virus-specific CD8(+) T cell responses via two interconnected synergistic pathways: First, CD40L expressed by activated CD4(+) T cells instructs dendritic cells to produce bioactive IL-12p70, which is directly sensed by Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells, resulting in increased IL-2Rα expression. Second, Th cells provide CD8(+) T cells with IL-2, thereby enhancing their survival. Thus, Th cells are at the center of an important communication loop with a central role for IL-2/IL-2R and bioactive IL-12.

Speiser DE, Schwarz K, Baumgaertner P, Manolova V, Devevre E, Sterry W, Walden P, Zippelius A, Conzett KB, Senti G et al. 2010. Memory and effector CD8 T-cell responses after nanoparticle vaccination of melanoma patients. J Immunother, 33 (8), pp. 848-858. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction of cytotoxic CD8 T-cell responses is enhanced by the exclusive presentation of antigen through dendritic cells, and by innate stimuli, such as toll-like receptor ligands. On the basis of these 2 principles, we designed a vaccine against melanoma. Specifically, we linked the melanoma-specific Melan-A/Mart-1 peptide to virus-like nanoparticles loaded with A-type CpG, a ligand for toll-like receptor 9. Melan-A/Mart-1 peptide was cross-presented, as shown in vitro with human dendritic cells and in HLA-A2 transgenic mice. A phase I/II study in stage II-IV melanoma patients showed that the vaccine was well tolerated, and that 14/22 patients generated ex vivo detectable T-cell responses, with in part multifunctional T cells capable to degranulate and produce IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-2. No significant influence of the route of immunization (subcutaneous versus intradermal) nor dosing regimen (weekly versus daily clusters) could be observed. It is interesting to note that, relatively large fractions of responding specific T cells exhibited a central memory phenotype, more than what is achieved by other nonlive vaccines. We conclude that vaccination with CpG loaded virus-like nanoparticles is associated with a human CD8 T-cell response with properties of a potential long-term immune protection from the disease.

Kopf M, Bachmann MF, Marsland BJ. 2010. Averting inflammation by targeting the cytokine environment. Nat Rev Drug Discov, 9 (9), pp. 703-718. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cytokines are key instigators and regulators of immune responses and therefore hold great potential as targets for new therapeutic strategies. However, the selection of which cytokines to target, and in particular the identification of which cytokines regulate the rate-limiting steps of disease pathways, is crucial to the success of such strategies. Moreover, balancing the need for ablating pathological inflammatory responses and simultaneously maintaining the ability to control infectious agents is a key consideration. Recent advances in our understanding of cytokine networks, as well as technical progress in blocking cytokines in vivo, are likely to be a source for new drugs that can control chronic inflammatory diseases.

Uermösi C, Beerli RR, Bauer M, Manolova V, Dietmeier K, Buser RB, Kündig TM, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2010. Mechanisms of allergen-specific desensitization. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 126 (2), pp. 375-383. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Allergen-specific desensitization (SIT) is the most effective therapy for allergies. Although allergen-specific antibodies have an important role in the process, mechanisms of IgG-mediated inhibition of allergic reactions are not well defined. OBJECTIVE: We investigated mechanisms by which SIT-induced allergen-specific IgGs inhibit allergic reactions. METHODS: We generated mAbs that recognize 3 nonoverlapping epitopes of the major cat allergen Fel d 1. Each of the mAbs was produced as an IgE and different IgG isotype. RESULTS: IgEs against 2 nonoverlapping epitopes on Fel d 1 are necessary and sufficient to sensitize mast cells for maximal FcepsilonRI signaling and degranulation on exposure to monomeric Fel d 1. IgE antibodies of a third specificity did not further increase mast cell degranulation, indicating that formation of large FcepsilonRI clusters are not required to induce maximal activation of mast cells. A single IgG that was specific for an epitope different from those recognized by the IgEs was a potent inhibitor of Fel d 1-mediated mast cell activation in vitro and in vivo. This inhibition required Fcgamma receptor-IIB. In human beings, IgGs of a single specificity were able to block degranulation of basophils from individuals with cat allergy. The inhibitory potential of these antibodies increased when larger allergen-IgG complexes were formed. CONCLUSIONS: These data reconcile conflicting theories in the literature and might explain the reason IgE levels do not necessarily decrease during therapy, despite clinical efficacy. These findings have important implications for vaccine design.

Kündig TM, Bachmann MF. 2010. Allergen-specific immunotherapy: regulatory T cells or allergen-specific IgG? Hum Vaccin, 6 (8), pp. 673-675. | Read more

Jegerlehner A, Wiesel M, Dietmeier K, Zabel F, Gatto D, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2010. Carrier induced epitopic suppression of antibody responses induced by virus-like particles is a dynamic phenomenon caused by carrier-specific antibodies. Vaccine, 28 (33), pp. 5503-5512. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pre-existing immunity against vaccine carrier proteins has been reported to inhibit the immune response against antigens conjugated to the same carrier by a process termed carrier induced epitopic suppression (CIES). Hence understanding the phenomenon of CIES is of major importance for the development of conjugate vaccines. Virus-like particles (VLPs) are a novel class of potent immunological carriers which have been successfully used to enhance the antibody response to virtually any conjugated antigen. In the present study we investigated the impact of a pre-existing VLP-specific immune response on the development of antibody responses against a conjugated model peptide after primary, secondary and tertiary immunization. Although VLP-specific immune responses led to reduced peptide-specific antibody titers, we showed that CIES against peptide-VLP conjugates could be overcome by high coupling densities, repeated injections and/or higher doses of conjugate vaccine. Furthermore we dissected VLP-specific immunity by adoptively transferring VLP-specific antibodies, B-cells or T(helper) cells separately into naïve mice and found that the observed CIES against peptide-VLP conjugates was mainly mediated by carrier-specific antibodies.

Link A, Bachmann MF. 2010. Immunodrugs: breaking B- but not T-cell tolerance with therapeutic anticytokine vaccines. Immunotherapy, 2 (4), pp. 561-574. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pathology in most chronic inflammatory diseases is characterized by an imbalance in cytokine expression. Targeting cytokines with monoclonal antibodies has proven to be a highly effective treatment. However, monoclonal antibody therapy has disadvantages such as high production costs, generation of antimonoclonal antibodies and the inconvenience of frequent injections. Therapeutic vaccines have the potential to overcome these limitations. The aim of active vaccination is to induce B-cell responses and obtain autoantibodies capable of neutralizing the interaction of the targeted cytokine with its receptor. In order to achieve this, therapeutic vaccines need to circumvent the potent tolerance mechanisms that exist to prevent immune responses against self-molecules. This article focuses on the tolerance mechanisms of the B- and T-cell compartments and how these may be manipulated to obtain high-affinity autoantibodies without inducing potentially dangerous autoreactive T-cell responses.

Bachmann M. 2010. Questions for biotechs. Hum Vaccin, 6 (7), pp. 527.

Röhn TA, Bachmann MF. 2010. Vaccines against non-communicable diseases. Curr Opin Immunol, 22 (3), pp. 391-396. | Show Abstract | Read more

Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasingly recognized as the major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Effective, affordable and broadly accessible medicines for their treatment are much sought after. Therapeutic B-cell vaccines aim at inducing neutralizing auto-reactive antibodies against important mediators of such diseases. Numerous animal models have demonstrated that active immunotherapy can induce disease-modifying levels of auto-antibodies. Recent findings from clinical trials have indicated that self-reactive antibodies can also be readily induced in humans; therapeutic efficacy, however, has not always been achieved. To date, clinical experience with vaccines against self-molecules is limited. Choice of the right target, proper vaccine design, optimal vaccine dose and regimen remain the major challenges to achieve clinical efficacy and safety for this novel class of biotherapeutics.

Bessa J, Kopf M, Bachmann MF. 2010. Cutting edge: IL-21 and TLR signaling regulate germinal center responses in a B cell-intrinsic manner. J Immunol, 184 (9), pp. 4615-4619. | Show Abstract | Read more

IL-21 produced by follicular Th (Tfh) cells is an important regulator of Tfh cell development and B cell responses, including germinal center (GC) formation. However, whether defective GC formation and Ab responses are a consequence of impaired Tfh cells development or a B cell-intrinsic defect in IL-21-deficient mice requires clarification. To address this question, we generated chimeric mice lacking IL-21R exclusively on B cells. In this study, we demonstrate that GC reaction and B cell responses induced by immunization with virus-like particles were strongly reduced in both global and B cell-specific IL-21R-deficient mice. Interestingly, the presence of TLR7 ligand within virus-like particles largely restored defective GC reaction and Ab responses in global as well as in B cell-specific IL-21R-deficient mice. Hence, IL-21 acts directly on B cells and cooperates with TLR signaling for optimal B cell responses.

Zou Y, Sonderegger I, Lipowsky G, Jennings GT, Schmitz N, Landi M, Kopf M, Bachmann MF. 2010. Combined vaccination against IL-5 and eotaxin blocks eosinophilia in mice. Vaccine, 28 (18), pp. 3192-3200. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin-5 (IL-5) is a cytokine which is essential for the maturation of eosinophils in bone marrow and for their release into the blood. Eotaxin is a CC type chemokine implicated in the recruitment of eosinophils in a variety of inflammatory disorders. Since eosinophil-activity is governed by these two pathways, we targeted both IL-5 and eotaxin by active vaccination to block eosinophilia. We produced two vaccines by chemically cross-linking IL-5 or eotaxin to a virus-like particle (VLP) derived from the bacteriophage Qbeta, yielding highly repetitive arrays of these cytokines on the VLP surface. Both vaccines overcame self-tolerance and induced high antibody titers against the corresponding self-molecules in mice. Immunization with either of the two vaccines reduced eosinophilic inflammation of the lung in an ovalbumin (OVA) based mouse model of allergic airway inflammation. Animals immunized with the two vaccines at the same time developed high antibody titers against both cytokines and also reduced eosinophil-infiltration of the lung. These data demonstrate that targeting either IL-5 or eotaxin may lower eosinophilia. Simultaneous immunization against IL-5 and eotaxin demonstrates that such a therapeutic approach may be used to treat complex disorders in which multiple mediators are involved.

Songhet P, Barthel M, Röhn TA, Van Maele L, Cayet D, Sirard J-C, Bachmann M, Kopf M, Hardt W-D. 2010. IL-17A/F-signaling does not contribute to the initial phase of mucosal inflammation triggered by S. Typhimurium. PLoS One, 5 (11), pp. e13804. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella enterica subspecies 1 serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) causes diarrhea and acute inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. The pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-17A and IL-17F are strongly induced in the infected mucosa but their contribution in driving the tissue inflammation is not understood. We have used the streptomycin mouse model to analyze the role of IL-17A and IL-17F and their cognate receptor IL-17RA in S. Typhimurium enterocolitis. Neutralization of IL-17A and IL-17F did not affect mucosal inflammation triggered by infection or spread of S. Typhimurium to systemic sites by 48 h p.i. Similarly, Il17ra(-/-) mice did not display any reduction in infection or inflammation by 12 h p.i. The same results were obtained using S. Typhimurium variants infecting via the TTSS1 type III secretion system, the TTSS1 effector SipA or the TTSS1 effector SopE. Moreover, the expression pattern of 45 genes encoding chemokines/cytokines (including CXCL1, CXCL2, IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-1α, IL-1β, IFNγ, CXCL-10, CXCL-9, IL-6, CCL3, CCL4) and antibacterial molecules was not affected by Il17ra deficiency by 12 h p.i. Thus, in spite of the strong increase in Il17a/Il17f mRNA in the infected mucosa, IL-17RA signaling seems to be dispensable for eliciting the acute disease. Future work will have to address whether this is attributable to redundancy in the cytokine signaling network.

Spohn G, Jennings GT, Martina BE, Keller I, Beck M, Pumpens P, Osterhaus AD, Bachmann MF. 2010. A VLP-based vaccine targeting domain III of the West Nile virus E protein protects from lethal infection in mice. Virol J, 7 (1), pp. 146. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Since its first appearance in the USA in 1999, West Nile virus (WNV) has spread in the Western hemisphere and continues to represent an important public health concern. In the absence of effective treatment, there is a medical need for the development of a safe and efficient vaccine. Live attenuated WNV vaccines have shown promise in preclinical and clinical studies but might carry inherent risks due to the possibility of reversion to more virulent forms. Subunit vaccines based on the large envelope (E) glycoprotein of WNV have therefore been explored as an alternative approach. Although these vaccines were shown to protect from disease in animal models, multiple injections and/or strong adjuvants were required to reach efficacy, underscoring the need for more immunogenic, yet safe DIII-based vaccines. RESULTS: We produced a conjugate vaccine against WNV consisting of recombinantly expressed domain III (DIII) of the E glycoprotein chemically cross-linked to virus-like particles derived from the recently discovered bacteriophage AP205. In contrast to isolated DIII protein, which required three administrations to induce detectable antibody titers in mice, high titers of DIII-specific antibodies were induced after a single injection of the conjugate vaccine. These antibodies were able to neutralize the virus in vitro and provided partial protection from a challenge with a lethal dose of WNV. Three injections of the vaccine induced high titers of virus-neutralizing antibodies, and completely protected mice from WNV infection. CONCLUSIONS: The immunogenicity of DIII can be strongly enhanced by conjugation to virus-like particles of the bacteriophage AP205. The superior immunogenicity of the conjugate vaccine with respect to other DIII-based subunit vaccines, its anticipated favourable safety profile and low production costs highlight its potential as an efficacious and cost-effective prophylaxis against WNV.

Bessa J, Bachmann MF. 2010. T cell-dependent and -independent IgA responses: role of TLR signalling. Immunol Invest, 39 (4-5), pp. 407-428. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunoglobulin A (IgA) represents the primary line of protection against incoming pathogens since it is the predominant isotype on mucosal surfaces. Mucosal surfaces are constantly exposed to inhaled, digested and sexually transmitted agents and therefore highly susceptible to infection by invading pathogens. Such pathogens typically carry pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) which primarily signal through Toll-like receptors (TLRs). TLRs belong to a family of pattern-recognition receptors that link the innate and the acquired immune system. TLR stimulation in professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) such as dendritic cells (DCs) is crucial for an optimal cellular and humoral immune response to be induced. Moreover TLRs have been shown to improve humoral responses by direct stimulation of B cells. Herein we review recent data, which points to a pivotal role of TLR signalling in controlling T-cell dependent and independent IgA responses both at mucosal and systemic levels. A better understanding of these mechanisms may facilitate the use of TLR agonists as adjuvants and consequently improve the development of effective mucosal vaccines.

Tissot AC, Renhofa R, Schmitz N, Cielens I, Meijerink E, Ose V, Jennings GT, Saudan P, Pumpens P, Bachmann MF. 2010. Versatile virus-like particle carrier for epitope based vaccines. PLoS One, 5 (3), pp. e9809. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Recombinant proteins and in particular single domains or peptides are often poorly immunogenic unless conjugated to a carrier protein. Virus-like-particles are a very efficient means to confer high immunogenicity to antigens. We report here the development of virus-like-particles (VLPs) derived from the RNA bacteriophage AP205 for epitope-based vaccines. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Peptides of angiotensin II, S.typhi outer membrane protein (D2), CXCR4 receptor, HIV1 Nef, gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), Influenza A M2-protein were fused to either N- or C-terminus of AP205 coat protein. The A205-peptide fusions assembled into VLPs, and peptides displayed on the VLP were highly immunogenic in mice. GnRH fused to the C-terminus of AP205 induced a strong antibody response that inhibited GnRH function in vivo. Exposure of the M2-protein peptide at the N-terminus of AP205 resulted in a strong M2-specific antibody response upon immunization, protecting 100% of mice from a lethal influenza infection. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: AP205 VLPs are therefore a very efficient and new vaccine system, suitable for complex and long epitopes, of up to at least 55 amino acid residues in length. AP205 VLPs confer a high immunogenicity to displayed epitopes, as shown by inhibition of endogenous GnRH and protective immunity against influenza infection.

Keller SA, Bauer M, Manolova V, Muntwiler S, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2010. Cutting edge: limited specialization of dendritic cell subsets for MHC class II-associated presentation of viral particles. J Immunol, 184 (1), pp. 26-29. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most important APC. It was recently reported that there is a dichotomy for Ag presentation by DC subsets; exogenous Ags reach the MHC class I pathway, but not the MHC class II pathway, in CD8(+) DCs, whereas CD8(-) DCs only process Ags for the MHC class II pathway. In this study, we used virus-like particles (VLPs) to show that CD8(+) and CD8(-) DCs efficiently capture and process VLPs for presentation in association with MHC class II in vivo. In contrast, CD8(+) DCs, but not CD8(-) DCs, cross presented VLP-derived peptides. This pattern was changed in an FcgammaR-dependent fashion in the presence of VLP-specific Abs, because under those conditions both DC subsets failed to efficiently cross present. Thus, the presentation of viral particles to CD4(+) T cells is not restricted to distinct DC subsets, whereas the presentation of viral particles to CD8(+) T cells is limited to CD8(+) DCs.

Keller SA, Schwarz K, Manolova V, von Allmen CE, Kinzler MG, Bauer M, Muntwiler S, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2010. Innate signaling regulates cross-priming at the level of DC licensing and not antigen presentation. Eur J Immunol, 40 (1), pp. 103-112. | Show Abstract | Read more

Innate stimuli, such as TLR ligands, are known to greatly facilitate cross-priming. Currently it is unclear whether innate stimuli enhance cross-priming at the level of cross-presentation or at the level of T-cell priming. In this study, we addressed this question by measuring cross-presentation as well as cross-priming by virus-like particles (VLP) displaying peptide p33 derived of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Innate stimuli were varied by either packaging different TLR ligands into virus-like particles or using mice deficient in two key molecules of TLR-signaling, namely the adaptor molecule MyD88 as well as IFN-alpha/beta receptor. While efficient cross-presentation occurred despite strongly reduced activation of DC in the absence of TLR ligand-mediated signals, T-cell priming was abolished. Thus, innate stimuli regulate cross-priming at the level of DC licensing for T-cell activation and not antigen presentation.

Maurer P, Bachmann MF. 2010. Immunization against angiotensins for the treatment of hypertension. Clin Immunol, 134 (1), pp. 89-95. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current vaccination approaches against hypertension target angiotensin I and angiotensin II, key components of the renin-angiotensin system. The effectiveness and long-term safety of blockade of the renin-angiotensin system with antihypertensive small-molecule drugs is well documented. Phase I/II testing of the angiotensin I vaccine PMD3117 demonstrated safety and immunogenicity in humans. While angiotensin I-specific antibodies were induced blood pressure was not lowered, presumably due to insufficient antibody levels. A second vaccine, which targets angiotensin II, has been clinically tested. Administration of CYT006-AngQb to subjects with mild to moderate hypertension was safe and well tolerated. After three administrations of 300 microg of the vaccine, ambulatory blood pressure was significantly reduced compared to placebo. The vaccine was particularly effective early in the morning as systolic and diastolic blood pressure were lowered by -25 mm Hg and -13 mm Hg, respectively. Further studies are required to show long-term safety and to assess how robust and long-lived the blood pressure reduction is. It will also be important to ascertain whether the strong reduction of blood pressure in the early morning, when most cardiovascular events occur, might result in long-term benefits over current therapies.

Bessa J, Jegerlehner A, Hinton HJ, Pumpens P, Saudan P, Schneider P, Bachmann MF. 2009. Alveolar macrophages and lung dendritic cells sense RNA and drive mucosal IgA responses. J Immunol, 183 (6), pp. 3788-3799. | Show Abstract | Read more

The mechanisms regulating systemic and mucosal IgA responses in the respiratory tract are incompletely understood. Using virus-like particles loaded with single-stranded RNA as a ligand for TLR7, we found that systemic vs mucosal IgA responses in mice were differently regulated. Systemic IgA responses following s.c. immunization were T cell independent and did not require TACI or TGFbeta, whereas mucosal IgA production was dependent on Th cells, TACI, and TGFbeta. Strikingly, both responses required TLR7 signaling, but systemic IgA depended upon TLR7 signaling directly to B cells whereas mucosal IgA required TLR7 signaling to lung dendritic cells and alveolar macrophages. Our data show that IgA switching is controlled differently according to the cell type receiving TLR signals. This knowledge should facilitate the development of IgA-inducing vaccines.

Schmitz N, Dietmeier K, Bauer M, Maudrich M, Utzinger S, Muntwiler S, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2009. Displaying Fel d1 on virus-like particles prevents reactogenicity despite greatly enhanced immunogenicity: a novel therapy for cat allergy. J Exp Med, 206 (9), pp. 1941-1955. | Show Abstract | Read more

Allergen-specific desensitization is the only disease-modifying therapy currently available for the treatment of allergies. These therapies require application of allergen over several years and some may induce life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. An ideal vaccine for desensitization should be highly immunogenic and should alleviate allergic symptoms upon few injections while being nonreactogenic. We describe such a vaccine for the treatment of cat allergy, consisting of the major cat allergen Fel d1 coupled to bacteriophage Qbeta-derived virus-like particles (Qbeta-Fel d1). Qbeta-Fel d1 was highly immunogenic, and a single vaccination was sufficient to induce protection against type I allergic reactions. Allergen-specific immunoglobulin G antibodies were shown to be the critical effector molecules and alleviated symptoms by two distinct mechanisms. Although allergen-induced systemic basophil degranulation was inhibited in an FcgammaRIIb-dependent manner, inhibition of local mast cell degranulation in tissues occurred independently of FcgammaRIIb. In addition, treatment with Qbeta-Fel d1 abolished IgE memory responses upon antigen recall. Despite high immunogenicity, the vaccine was essentially nonreactogenic and vaccination induced neither local nor systemic anaphylactic reactions in sensitized mice. Moreover, Qbeta-Fel d1 did not induce degranulation of basophils derived from human volunteers with cat allergies. These data suggest that vaccination with Qbeta-Fel d1 may be a safe and effective treatment for cat allergy.

von Allmen CE, Schmitz N, Bauer M, Hinton HJ, Kurrer MO, Buser RB, Gwerder M, Muntwiler S, Sparwasser T, Beerli RR, Bachmann MF. 2009. Secretory phospholipase A2-IID is an effector molecule of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 106 (28), pp. 11673-11678. | Show Abstract | Read more

Suppression by natural CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) is one mechanism by which tolerance is maintained. However, the way in which Tregs mediate suppression is not well understood. Here, we show that secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2)-IID is selectively produced by Tregs. sPLA2-IID is a potent mediator of Treg function, because it strongly suppressed proliferation of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in vitro and in vivo in a manner independent of its catalytic activity. Furthermore, sPLA2-IID promoted the differentiation of Tregs, presumably via attenuating signaling through the PI3K/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway. Importantly, administration of a sPLA2-IID-Fc fusion protein inhibited disease development in murine models of colitis and multiple sclerosis, suggesting that sPLA2-IID's immunosuppressive function might be exploited therapeutically.

Araki K, Turner AP, Shaffer VO, Gangappa S, Keller SA, Bachmann MF, Larsen CP, Ahmed R. 2009. mTOR regulates memory CD8 T-cell differentiation. Nature, 460 (7251), pp. 108-112. | Show Abstract | Read more

Memory CD8 T cells are a critical component of protective immunity, and inducing effective memory T-cell responses is a major goal of vaccines against chronic infections and tumours. Considerable effort has gone into designing vaccine regimens that will increase the magnitude of the memory response, but there has been minimal emphasis on developing strategies to improve the functional qualities of memory T cells. Here we show that mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin, also known as FRAP1) is a major regulator of memory CD8 T-cell differentiation, and in contrast to what we expected, the immunosuppressive drug rapamycin has immunostimulatory effects on the generation of memory CD8 T cells. Treatment of mice with rapamycin following acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection enhanced not only the quantity but also the quality of virus-specific CD8 T cells. Similar effects were seen after immunization of mice with a vaccine based on non-replicating virus-like particles. In addition, rapamycin treatment also enhanced memory T-cell responses in non-human primates following vaccination with modified vaccinia virus Ankara. Rapamycin was effective during both the expansion and contraction phases of the T-cell response; during the expansion phase it increased the number of memory precursors, and during the contraction phase (effector to memory transition) it accelerated the memory T-cell differentiation program. Experiments using RNA interference to inhibit expression of mTOR, raptor (also known as 4932417H02Rik) or FKBP12 (also known as FKBP1A) in antigen-specific CD8 T cells showed that mTOR acts intrinsically through the mTORC1 (mTOR complex 1) pathway to regulate memory T-cell differentiation. Thus these studies identify a molecular pathway regulating memory formation and provide an effective strategy for improving the functional qualities of vaccine- or infection-induced memory T cells.

Keller SA, von Allmen CE, Hinton HJ, Bauer M, Muntwiler S, Dietmeier K, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2009. Follicular and marginal zone B cells fail to cross-present MHC class I-restricted epitopes derived from viral particles. J Immunol, 182 (10), pp. 6261-6266. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viruses and virus-like particles (VLPs) are known to be potent inducers of B cell as well as Th cell and CTL responses. It is well established that professional APCs such as dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages efficiently process viral particles for both MHC class I- and MHC class II-associated presentation, which is essential for induction of CTL and Th cell responses, respectively. Less is known, however, about the ability of B cells to present epitopes derived from viral particles to T cells. Using two different VLPs, in this study we show in vitro as well as in vivo that DCs present VLP-derived peptides in association with MHC class I as well as class II. In contrast, although B cells were able to capture VLPs similarly as DCs and although they efficiently processed VLPs for presentation in association with MHC class II, they failed to process exogenous VLPs for presentation in association with MHC class I. Thus, in contrast to DCs, B cells are not involved in the process of cross-priming. This finding is of physiological importance because B cells with the ability to cross-present Ag to specific CD8(+) T cells may be killed by these cells, preventing the generation of neutralizing Ab responses.

Senti G, Johansen P, Haug S, Bull C, Gottschaller C, Müller P, Pfister T, Maurer P, Bachmann MF, Graf N, Kündig TM. 2009. Use of A-type CpG oligodeoxynucleotides as an adjuvant in allergen-specific immunotherapy in humans: a phase I/IIa clinical trial. Clin Exp Allergy, 39 (4), pp. 562-570. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: B-type CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) is currently used in clinical trials because of its prolonged half-life, which is due to its phosphorothioate backbone. A-type CpG ODN is a stronger inducer of IFN but has an unstable phosphodiester backbone that has so far prohibited its clinical use. However, upon association with virus-like particles (VLP) consisting of the bacteriophage Qbeta coat protein, A-type CpG ODN can be stabilized and can become an efficient adjuvant in mice. Therefore, the phase I/IIa study presented represents the first test of A-type CpGs in humans. OBJECTIVE: To test the safety, tolerability and clinical efficacy of QbG10 as an adjuvant for subcutaneous immunotherapy with a house dust mite (HDM) allergen extract in allergic patients. METHODS: A single centre, open-label phase I/IIa study evaluated the safety, tolerability and clinical efficacy of QbG10 as an adjuvant to immunotherapy with a subcutaneous HMD allergen extract in 20 patients suffering from HDM allergy. Twenty-one patients were enrolled between March and July 2005. Individual immunotherapy lasted 10 weeks. Clinical end-points included questionnaires, conjunctival provocation, skin prick tests and the measurement of allergen-specific IgG and IgE. RESULTS: QbG10 was well tolerated. Almost complete tolerance to the allergen was observed in conjunctival provocation testing after treatment with QbG10, and symptoms of rhinitis and allergic asthma were significantly reduced. Within 10 weeks of therapy, patients were nearly symptom-free and this amelioration lasted for at least 38 weeks post-treatment. Following injections of QbG10 and HDM allergen extract, allergen-specific IgG increased, while there was a transient increase in allergen-specific IgE titres. Skin reactivity to HDM was reduced. CONCLUSION: The subcutaneous application of HDM allergen, together with A-type CpG ODN packaged into VLP, was safe. All patients achieved practically complete alleviation of allergy symptoms after 10 weeks of immunotherapy. This promising clinical outcome calls for larger placebo-controlled phase II studies.

Bessa J, Jegerlehner A, Hinton HJ, Schneider P, Bachmann MF. 2009. Alveolar macrophages and lung dendritic cells sense RNA and drive mucosal IgA responses SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 139 (9-10), pp. 4S-4S.

Beerli RR, Bauer M, Schmitz N, Buser RB, Gwerder M, Muntwiler S, Renner WA, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2009. Prophylactic and therapeutic activity of fully human monoclonal antibodies directed against influenza A M2 protein. Virol J, 6 (1), pp. 224. | Show Abstract | Read more

Influenza virus infection is a prevalent disease in humans. Antibodies against hemagglutinin have been shown to prevent infection and hence hemagglutinin is the major constituent of current vaccines. Antibodies directed against the highly conserved extracellular domain of M2 have also been shown to mediate protection against Influenza A infection in various animal models. Active vaccination is generally considered the best approach to combat viral diseases. However, passive immunization is an attractive alternative, particularly in acutely exposed or immune compromized individuals, young children and the elderly. We recently described a novel method for the rapid isolation of natural human antibodies by mammalian cell display. Here we used this approach to isolate human monoclonal antibodies directed against the highly conserved extracellular domain of the Influenza A M2 protein. The identified antibodies bound M2 peptide with high affinities, recognized native cell-surface expressed M2 and protected mice from a lethal influenza virus challenge. Moreover, therapeutic treatment up to 2 days after infection was effective, suggesting that M2-specific monoclonals have a great potential as immunotherapeutic agents against Influenza infection.

Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2009. Immunodrugs: therapeutic VLP-based vaccines for chronic diseases. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol, 49 (1), pp. 303-326. | Show Abstract | Read more

Worldwide, the prevalence of noncommunicable chronic diseases is increasing. The use of vaccines to induce autoantibodies that neutralize disease-related proteins offers a means to effectively and affordably treat such diseases. Twenty vaccines designed to induce therapeutic autoantibodies were clinically tested in the past 12 years. Immunodrugs are therapeutic vaccines comprising virus-like particles (VLPs) covalently conjugated with self-antigens that induce neutralizing autoantibody responses. Four such VLP-based vaccines have been clinically tested and one has achieved proof of principle: a reduction of blood pressure in hypertensive patients. To facilitate preliminary clinical testing, novel nonclinical study programs have been developed. Safety study designs have considered the underlying B and T cell immunology and have examined potential toxicities of vaccine components and primary and secondary pharmacodynamic action of the vaccines.

Timmerman P, Puijk WC, Boshuizen RS, Dijken PV, Slootstra JW, Beurskens FJ, Parren PWHI, Huber A, Bachmann MF, Meloen RH. 2009. Functional Reconstruction of Structurally Complex Epitopes using CLIPS™ Technology The Open Vaccine Journal, 2 (1), pp. 56-67. | Show Abstract | Read more

This review summarizes an illustrative set of data from our research on the reconstruction of structurally complex protein surfaces, i.e. those that fail to be mimicked properly by linear peptides. In the past 5 years, our newly developed CLIPS™ technology has proven an extremely valuable tool for 1) binding site mapping of therapeutically relevant mAbs, 2) generating hyperimmune sera via immunization with CLIPS peptides, and 3) the generation of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) via the use of hybridoma technology. We currently have data available for more than 50 therapeutic targets. The examples described in this review illustrate the potential of this powerful new technology. © Timmerman et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

Beerli RR, Bauer M, Buser RB, Gwerder M, Muntwiler S, Maurer P, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2008. Isolation of human monoclonal antibodies by mammalian cell display. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105 (38), pp. 14336-14341. | Show Abstract | Read more

Due to their low immunogenicity in patients, humanized or fully human mAbs are becoming increasingly important for the treatment of a growing number of diseases, including cancer, infections, and immune disorders. Here, we describe a technology allowing for the rapid isolation of fully human mAbs. In contrast to previously described methods, B cells specific for an antigen of interest are directly isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of human donors. Recombinant, antigen-specific single-chain Fv (scFv) libraries are generated from this pool of B cells and screened by mammalian cell surface display by using a Sindbis virus expression system. This method allows isolating antigen-specific antibodies by a single round of FACS. The variable regions (VRs) of the heavy chains (HCs) and light chains (LCs) are isolated from positive clones and recombinant fully human antibodies produced as whole IgG or Fab fragments. In this manner, several hypermutated high-affinity antibodies binding the Qbeta virus like particle (VLP), a model viral antigen, as well as antibodies specific for nicotine were isolated. All antibodies showed high expression levels in cell culture. The human nicotine-specific mAbs were validated preclinically in a mouse model. Thus, the technology presented here allows for rapid isolation of high-affinity, fully human antibodies with therapeutic potential from human volunteers.

Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2008. The coming of age of virus-like particle vaccines. Biol Chem, 389 (5), pp. 521-536. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus-like particles are supra-molecular assemblages, usually icosahedral or rod-like structures. They incorporate key immunologic features of viruses which include repetitive surfaces, particulate structures and induction of innate immunity through activation of pathogen-associated molecular-pattern recognition receptors. They carry no replicative genetic information and can be produced recombinantly in large scale. Virus-like particles thus represent a safe and effective vaccine platform for inducing potent B- and T-cell responses. In addition to being effective vaccines against the corresponding virus from which they are derived, virus-like particles can also be used to present foreign epitopes to the immune system. This can be achieved by genetic fusion or chemical conjugation. This technological innovation has greatly broadened the scope of their use, from immunizing against microbial pathogens to immunotherapy for chronic diseases. Towards this end, virus-like particles have been used to induce autoantibodies to disease-associated self-molecules involved in chronic diseases, such as hypertension and Alzheimer's disease. The recognition of the potent immunogenicity and commercial potential for virus-like particles has greatly accelerated research and development activities. During the last decade, two prophylactic virus-like particle vaccines have been registered for human use, while another 12 vaccines entered clinical development.

Manolova V, Flace A, Bauer M, Schwarz K, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2008. Nanoparticles target distinct dendritic cell populations according to their size. Eur J Immunol, 38 (5), pp. 1404-1413. | Show Abstract | Read more

The efficiency of a vaccine largely depends on the appropriate targeting of the innate immune system, mainly through prolonged delivery of antigens and immunomodulatory substances to professional antigen-presenting cells in the lymphoid environment. Particulate antigens, such as virus-like particles (VLP) induce potent immune responses. However, little is known about the relative importance of direct drainage of free antigen to lymph nodes (LN) versus cellular transport and the impact of particle size on the process. Here, we show that nanoparticles traffic to the draining LN in a size-dependent manner. Whereas large particles (500-2000 nm) were mostly associated with dendritic cells (DC) from the injection site, small (20-200 nm) nanoparticles and VLP (30 nm) were also found in LN-resident DC and macrophages, suggesting free drainage of these particles to the LN. In vivo imaging studies in mice conditionally depleted of DC confirmed the capacity of small but not large particles to drain freely to the LN and demonstrated that DC are strictly required for transport of large particles from the injection site to the LN. These data provide evidence that particle size determines the mechanism of trafficking to the LN and show that only small nanoparticles can specifically target LN-resident cells.

von Allmen CE, Bauer M, Dietmeier K, Buser RB, Gwerder M, Muntwiler S, Utzinger S, Saudan P, Bachmann MF, Beerli RR. 2008. Identification of Ly-6K as a novel marker for mouse plasma cells. Mol Immunol, 45 (10), pp. 2727-2733. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasma cells are the main producers of antibody and key effector cells of the immune system. Despite their importance, analytics of plasma cells still suffers from the limited availability of specific markers. Currently, plasma cell identification relies on the expression of a single marker, CD138/syndecan-1. However, syndecan-1 is widely expressed on various cell types outside the hematopoietic compartment, and furthermore, not expressed on all subsets of plasma cells. To discover novel surface markers, a differential screening followed by signal sequence trap cloning was developed, leading to the identification of mouse Ly-6K (mLy-6K). Expression profiling confirmed that mLy-6K is expressed by plasma cells but not B cells or tissues not containing plasma cells. Expression at the surface of plasma cells isolated from spleen, lymph node, bone marrow, and lamina propria of the small intestine was demonstrated at the protein level using a polyclonal rabbit antibody. This novel plasma cell marker shows promise to help broaden our understanding of plasma cell differentiation and function.

Manolova V, Flace A, Maurer P, Saudan P, Senti G, Kuendig T, Bachmann M. 2008. Cytokine production by peripheral blood cells following therapy with a combined vaccine of allergen and QbG10 SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 138 pp. 11S-11S.

Luckashenak N, Schroeder S, Endt K, Schmidt D, Mahnke K, Bachmann MF, Marconi P, Deeg CA, Brocker T. 2008. Constitutive crosspresentation of tissue antigens by dendritic cells controls CD8+ T cell tolerance in vivo. Immunity, 28 (4), pp. 521-532. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immature dendritic cells (DCs) sample tissue-specific antigens (TSAs) and process them for "crosspresentation" via major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II molecules. Findings with adoptively transferred T cell receptor (TCR)-transgenic CD8+ T cells in transgenic mice expressing model TSA indicate that this process contributes to tolerance induction of CD8+ T cells, a phenomenon termed "crosstolerance." However, up to now it has been unknown whether "crosstolerance" can also control autoimmune T cells specific for physiological nontransgenic TSA. Here, we showed that a DC-specific deficiency in uptake of apoptotic material inhibits crosspresentation in vivo. This defect allowed the accumulation of fully functional autoreactive CD8+ T cells that could be activated for autoimmune attack in peripheral lymphoid organs. Thus, our data demonstrate the importance of crosstolerance induction by DCs as a vital instrument for controlling self-reactive T cells from the peripheral repertoire and preventing autoimmune disease.

Tissot AC, Maurer P, Nussberger J, Sabat R, Pfister T, Ignatenko S, Volk H-D, Stocker H, Müller P, Jennings GT et al. 2008. Effect of immunisation against angiotensin II with CYT006-AngQb on ambulatory blood pressure: a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled phase IIa study. Lancet, 371 (9615), pp. 821-827. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hypertension can be controlled adequately with existing drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers. Nevertheless, treatment success is often restricted by patients not adhering to treatment. Immunisation against angiotensin II could solve this problem. We investigated the safety and efficacy of CYT006-AngQb-a vaccine based on a virus-like particle-that targets angiotensin II to reduce ambulatory blood pressure. METHODS: In this multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled phase IIa trial, 72 patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension were randomly assigned with a computer-generated randomisation list to receive subcutaneous injections of either 100 mug CYT006-AngQb (n=24), 300 mug CYT006-AngQb (24), or placebo (24), at weeks 0, 4, and 12. 24-h ambulatory blood pressure was measured before treatment and at week 14. The primary outcomes were safety and tolerability. Analyses were done by intention to treat. This study is registered with, number NCT00500786. FINDINGS: Two patients in the 100 mug group, three in the 300 mug group, and none in the placebo group discontinued study treatment. All patients were included in safety analyses; efficacy analyses did not include the five dropouts, for whom no data were available at week 14. Five serious adverse events were reported (two in the 100 mug group, two in the 300 mug group, and one in the placebo group); none were deemed to be treatment related. Most side-effects were mild, transient reactions at the injection site. Mild, transient influenza-like symptoms were seen in three patients in the 100 mug group, seven in the 300 mug group, and none in the placebo group. In the 300 mug group, there was a reduction from baseline in mean ambulatory daytime blood pressure at week 14 by -9.0/-4.0 mm Hg compared with placebo (p=0.015 for systolic and 0.064 for diastolic). The 300 mug dose reduced the early morning blood-pressure surge compared with placebo (change at 0800 h -25/-13 mm Hg; p<0.0001 for systolic, p=0.0035 for diastolic). INTERPRETATION: Immunisation with CYT006-AngQb was associated with no serious adverse events; most observed adverse events were consistent with local or systemic responses similar to those seen with other vaccines. The 300 mug dose reduced blood pressure in patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension during the daytime, especially in the early morning. FUNDING: Cytos Biotechnology AG.

Spohn G, Keller I, Beck M, Grest P, Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2008. Active immunization with IL-1 displayed on virus-like particles protects from autoimmune arthritis. Eur J Immunol, 38 (3), pp. 877-887. | Show Abstract | Read more

IL-1 is an important mediator of inflammation and a major cause of tissue damage in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Therapeutic administration of recombinant IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) is efficacious in reducing clinical symptoms of disease, but suffers from several drawbacks, including the need for frequent administrations of large amounts. Here, we show that immunization of mice with either IL-1alpha or IL-1beta chemically cross-linked to virus-like particles (VLP) of the bacteriophage Qbeta elicited a rapid and long-lasting autoantibody response. The induced Ab efficiently neutralized the binding of the respective IL-1 molecules to their receptors in vitro and their pro-inflammatory activities in vivo. In the collagen-induced arthritis model, both vaccines strongly protected mice from inflammation and degradation of bone and cartilage. Moreover, immunization with either vaccine showed superior efficacy than daily administrations of high amounts of IL-1Ra. In the T and B cell-independent collagen Ab transfer model, immunization with the IL-1beta vaccine strongly protected from arthritis, whereas immunization with the IL-1alpha vaccine had no effect. Our results suggest that active immunization with IL-1alpha, and especially IL-1beta conjugated to Qbeta VLP, might become an efficacious and cost-effective new treatment option for RA and other systemic IL-1-dependent inflammatory disorders.

Spohn G, Bachmann MF. 2008. Exploiting viral properties for the rational design of modern vaccines. Expert Rev Vaccines, 7 (1), pp. 43-54. | Show Abstract | Read more

A major challenge for the future is the development of effective vaccines against chronic infections and the application of therapeutic immunization to the treatment of noninfectious diseases, such as cancer, allergy and autoimmune disorders. In recent years, many of the immunological principles governing the immune response to infectious agents have been clarified and can now be exploited for the rational design of new and better vaccines. As an elucidative example, this review will describe the key immunogenic determinants of viruses and discuss how they can be harnessed for the development of tailor-made vaccines against a wide array of human diseases.

Agnellini P, Wiesel M, Schwarz K, Wolint P, Bachmann MF, Oxenius A. 2008. Kinetic and mechanistic requirements for helping CD8 T cells. J Immunol, 180 (3), pp. 1517-1525. | Show Abstract | Read more

The requirements for the generation of fully competent long-lived memory CD8 T cells and in particular the role and the mechanisms of help from CD4 T cells remain ill-defined. Memory CD8 T cells generated in the absence of CD4 T cell help often have an impaired recall proliferation and are thus unable to confer protection against certain pathogens. However, the timing and the mechanisms involved in the delivery of help are still unclear and differ between various experimental systems. In this study, we investigated the role of CD4 T help in generating memory CD8 T cells in a defined heterologous prime-boost system, consisting of priming with replication incompetent virus-like particles and challenge with recombinant vaccinia virus, both sharing only a common lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-derived CD8 T cell epitope. We show in this system that delivery of help is only essential during the challenge phase for recall proliferation of memory CD8 T cells. Furthermore, we show that generation of proliferation-competent memory CD8 T cells is independent of CD40 and CCR5 and that in vivo IL-2 supplementation neither during priming nor during challenge was able to rescue recall proliferation of "unhelped" memory CD8 T cells.

Fulurija A, Lutz TA, Sladko K, Osto M, Wielinga PY, Bachmann MF, Saudan P. 2008. Vaccination against GIP for the treatment of obesity. PLoS One, 3 (9), pp. e3163. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: According to the WHO, more than 1 billion people worldwide are overweight and at risk of developing chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke. Current therapies show limited efficacy and are often associated with unpleasant side-effect profiles, hence there is a medical need for new therapeutic interventions in the field of obesity. Gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP, also known as glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) has recently been postulated to link over-nutrition with obesity. In fact GIP receptor-deficient mice (GIPR(-/-)) were shown to be completely protected from diet-induced obesity. Thus, disrupting GIP signaling represents a promising novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of obesity. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In order to block GIP signaling we chose an active vaccination approach using GIP peptides covalently attached to virus-like particles (VLP-GIP). Vaccination of mice with VLP-GIP induced high titers of specific antibodies and efficiently reduced body weight gain in animals fed a high fat diet. The reduction in body weight gain could be attributed to reduced accumulation of fat. Moreover, increased weight loss was observed in obese mice vaccinated with VLP-GIP. Importantly, despite the incretin action of GIP, VLP-GIP-treated mice did not show signs of glucose intolerance. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study shows that vaccination against GIP was safe and effective. Thus active vaccination may represent a novel, long-lasting treatment for obesity. However further preclinical safety/toxicology studies will be required before the therapeutic concept can be addressed in humans.

Cornuz J, Zwahlen S, Jungi WF, Osterwalder J, Klingler K, van Melle G, Bangala Y, Guessous I, Müller P, Willers J et al. 2008. A vaccine against nicotine for smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One, 3 (6), pp. e2547. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tobacco dependence is the leading cause of preventable death and disabilities worldwide and nicotine is the main substance responsible for the addiction to tobacco. A vaccine against nicotine was tested in a 6-month randomized, double blind phase II smoking cessation study in 341 smokers with a subsequent 6-month follow-up period. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 229 subjects were randomized to receive five intramuscular injections of the nicotine vaccine and 112 to receive placebo at monthly intervals. All subjects received individual behavioral smoking cessation counseling. The vaccine was safe, generally well tolerated and highly immunogenic, inducing a 100% antibody responder rate after the first injection. Point prevalence of abstinence at month 2 showed a statistically significant difference between subjects treated with Nicotine-Qbeta (47.2%) and placebo (35.1%) (P = 0.036), but continuous abstinence between months 2 and 6 was not significantly different. However, in subgroup analysis of the per-protocol population, the third of subjects with highest antibody levels showed higher continuous abstinence from month 2 until month 6 (56.6%) than placebo treated participants (31.3%) (OR 2.9; P = 0.004) while medium and low antibody levels did not increase abstinence rates. After 12 month, the difference in continuous abstinence rate between subjects on placebo and those with high antibody response was maintained (difference 20.2%, P = 0.012). CONCLUSIONS: Whereas Nicotine-Qbeta did not significantly increase continuous abstinence rates in the intention-to-treat population, subgroup analyses of the per-protocol population suggest that such a vaccination against nicotine can significantly increase continuous abstinence rates in smokers when sufficiently high antibody levels are achieved. Immunotherapy might open a new avenue to the treatment of nicotine addiction. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Swiss Medical Registry 2003DR2327; NCT00369616.

Won W-J, Bachmann MF, Kearney JF. 2008. CD36 is differentially expressed on B cell subsets during development and in responses to antigen. J Immunol, 180 (1), pp. 230-237. | Show Abstract | Read more

Of a number of mAbs made by immunization with sort-purified marginal zone (MZ) B cells, one was shown to recognize the mouse scavenger receptor CD36. Although CD36 is expressed by most resting MZ B cells and not by follicular and B1 B cells, it is rapidly induced on follicular B cells in vitro following TLR and CD40 stimulation. In response to T-independent and T-dependent Ag challenge, we found that CD36 was expressed on IgM+ plasma cells, but down-regulated on isotype-switched plasma cells in vivo. Although development, localization, and phenotype of MZ B cells in CD36-/- mice appeared normal, there was a minor block in the transitional stages of mature B cell development. In both primary and secondary Ab responses to heat-killed Streptococcus pneumoniae (R36A strain), both phosphoryl choline (PC)-specific IgM and IgG levels in CD36-/- mice were slightly reduced compared with wild-type mice. In addition, mice deficient in both TLR2 and CD36 produced significantly reduced levels of anti-PC IgG titers than those of single gene-deficient mice, suggesting that they may cooperate in an anti-PC Ab response. Collectively, these results show that CD36 does not affect the development of B cells, but modulates both primary and secondary anti-PC Ab responses during S. pneumoniae infection similarly to TLR2.

Bessa J, Schmitz N, Hinton HJ, Schwarz K, Jegerlehner A, Bachmann MF. 2008. Efficient induction of mucosal and systemic immune responses by virus-like particles administered intranasally: implications for vaccine design. Eur J Immunol, 38 (1), pp. 114-126. | Show Abstract | Read more

Intranasal (i.n.) immunization aims to induce local as well as systemic immune responses. In the present study, we assessed a vaccine platform based on virus-like particles (VLP) derived from the RNA phage Qbeta for i.n. immunization. We found that both i.n. and subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of Qbeta-VLP elicited strong and comparable specific IgG responses in serum and lung. Surprisingly, both routes also induced high levels of specific IgA in serum. In contrast, only i.n. administration of Qbeta-VLP resulted in local IgA production in the lung. Efficient induction of B cell responses by i.n. administration of VLP was further supported by the presence of large numbers of germinal centers (GC) as well as memory B cells in the spleen and plasma cells in the bone marrow. Results obtained for the VLP itself could be extended to an antigen covalently attached to it. Specifically, i.n. immunization of mice with VLP displaying the influenza virus derived ectodomain of the M2 protein resulted in strong M2-specific antibody responses as well as anti-viral protection. In contrast, i.n. immunization with VLP displaying p33 peptide, the major CTL epitope of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, induced relatively inefficient cytotoxic T cell responses, resulting in low numbers of specific T cells and poor effector cell differentiation. Taken together, these results suggest that effective antibody-based vaccines are achievable by i.n. administration of Qbeta-VLP displaying specific antigens.

Hinton HJ, Jegerlehner A, Bachmann MF. 2008. Pattern recognition by B cells: the role of antigen repetitiveness versus Toll-like receptors. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol, 319 pp. 1-15. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viruses induce excellent antibody responses due to several intrinsic features. Their repetitive, organised structure is optimal for the activation of the B cell receptor (BCR), leading to an increased humoral response and a decreased dependence on T cell help. Viruses also trigger Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which in addition to increasing overall Ig levels, drive the switch to the IgG2a isotype. This isotype is more efficient in viral and bacterial clearance and will activate complement, which in turn lowers the threshold of BCR activation. Exploiting these characteristics in vaccine design may help us to create vaccines which are as safe as a recombinant vaccine yet still as effective as a virus in inducing B cell responses.

Bachmann MF, Oxenius A. 2007. Interleukin 2: from immunostimulation to immunoregulation and back again. EMBO Rep, 8 (12), pp. 1142-1148. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin 2 (IL-2) was one of the first cytokines to be discovered. However, the complex role of IL-2 and its receptor in the regulation of immune responses is only now emerging. This review explores the various signals triggered by IL-2 and discusses their translation into biological function. A model is outlined that accommodates the seemingly contradictory functions of IL-2, and explains how one cytokine can be an essential T-cell growth and differentiation factor and yet also be indispensable to maintain peripheral tolerance.

Maurer P, Bachmann MF. 2007. Vaccination against nicotine: an emerging therapy for tobacco dependence. Expert Opin Investig Drugs, 16 (11), pp. 1775-1783. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tobacco dependence is an addiction characterised by compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior and intensive craving in the absence of tobacco. Nicotine is the major addictive component of tobacco and acts on the reward system in the brain. Together with strong conditional reinforcements, unaided smoking cessation attempts are notoriously unsuccessful and even the most recently introduced pharmacotherapy, varenicline, only achieves a 23% continuous abstinence rate after 1 year. Vaccination against nicotine represents a promising novel concept for treating nicotine addiction. Antibodies against nicotine inhibit the passage of nicotine to brain and thus inhibit its addiction-reinforcing activities. There are three nicotine vaccines that are in clinical development. The first proof-of-concept study in smoking cessation with the vaccine NicQb (Cytos Biotechnology), a nicotine vaccine based on virus-like particles, demonstrated that continuous abstinence rates can be significantly increased by vaccination; however, as expected from the mode of action, a sufficient antibody level had to be achieved. Antibody level dependence of abstinence was also observed with the nicotine vaccine NicVAX (Nabi Biopharmaceuticals). Vaccination against nicotine has the potential of becoming an important therapy against tobacco dependence.

Tissot AC, Nussberger J, Maurer P, Stocker H, Pfister T, Wagner F, Mueller P, Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2007. CYT006-AngQb, a vaccine against hypertension targeting angiotensin II, reduces early-morning and day-time blood pressure CIRCULATION, 116 (16), pp. 556-556.

Kuendig T, Pichler C, Scherer K, Bircher A, Mueller P, Ulrich M, Bachmann M, Renner W, Senti G. 2007. A double-blind, placebo-controlled phase Ila study investigating CYT003-QbG10 as a novel immunotherapy in patients suffering from house dust mite allergy ALLERGY, 62 pp. 259-259.

Senti G, Bull C, Mueller P, Ulrich M, Bachmann M, Renner W, Kuendig T. 2007. A double-blind, placebo-controlled phase IIa study investigating CYT003-QbG10 as a novel allergen-independent immunotherapy in patients suffering from grass pollen allergy ALLERGY, 62 pp. 74-74.

Bachmann MF, Wolint P, Walton S, Schwarz K, Oxenius A. 2007. Differential role of IL-2R signaling for CD8+ T cell responses in acute and chronic viral infections. Eur J Immunol, 37 (6), pp. 1502-1512. | Show Abstract | Read more

IL-2 is a cytokine with multiple and even divergent functions; it has been described as a key cytokine for in vitro T cell proliferation but is also essential for down-regulating T cell responses by inducing activation-induced cell death as well as regulatory T cells. The in vivo analysis of IL-2 function in regulating specific T cell responses has been hampered by the fact that mice deficient in IL-2 or its receptors develop lymphoproliferative diseases and/or autoimmunity. Here we generated chimeric mice harboring both IL-2R-competent and IL-2R-deficient T cells and assessed CD8+ T cell induction, function and maintenance after acute or persistent viral infections. Induction and maintenance of CD8+ T cells were relatively independent of IL-2R signaling during acute/resolved viral infection. In marked contrast, IL-2 was crucial for secondary expansion of memory CD8+ T cells and for the maintenance of virus-specific CD8+ T cells during persistent viral infections. Thus, depending on the chronicity of antigen exposure, IL-2R signaling is either essential or largely dispensable for induction and maintenance of virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses.

Haug S, Senti G, Johansen P, Maurer P, Bachmann M, Kuendig T. 2007. Dust mite allergy - New treatment options ALLERGY, 62 pp. 60-60.

Tissot AC, Maurer P, Nussberger J, Wagner F, Pfister T, Stocker H, Mueller P, Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2007. Vaccination against angiotensin II reduces day-time ambulatory blood pressure: Results of a randomized placebo-controlled phase IIA study with CYT006-ANGQB JOURNAL OF HYPERTENSION, 25 pp. S139-S139.

Spohn G, Guler R, Johansen P, Keller I, Jacobs M, Beck M, Rohner F, Bauer M, Dietmeier K, Kündig TM et al. 2007. A virus-like particle-based vaccine selectively targeting soluble TNF-alpha protects from arthritis without inducing reactivation of latent tuberculosis. J Immunol, 178 (11), pp. 7450-7457. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neutralization of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha by mAbs or soluble receptors represents an effective treatment for chronic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or Crohn's disease. In this study, we describe a novel active immunization approach against TNF-alpha, which results in the induction of high titers of therapeutically active autoantibodies. Immunization of mice with virus-like particles of the bacteriophage Qbeta covalently linked to either the entire soluble TNF-alpha protein (Qbeta-C-TNF(1-156)) or a 20-aa peptide derived from its N terminus (Qbeta-C-TNF(4-23)) yielded specific Abs, which protected from clinical signs of inflammation in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis. Whereas mice immunized with Qbeta-C-TNF(1-156) showed increased susceptibility to Listeria monocytogenes infection and enhanced reactivation of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis, mice immunized with Qbeta-C-TNF(4-23) were not immunocompromised with respect to infection with these pathogens. This difference was attributed to recognition of both transmembrane and soluble TNF-alpha by Abs elicited by Qbeta-C-TNF(1-156), and a selective recognition of only soluble TNF-alpha by Abs raised by Qbeta-C-TNF(4-23). Thus, by specifically targeting soluble TNF-alpha, Qbeta-C-TNF(4-23) immunization has the potential to become an effective and safe therapy against inflammatory disorders, which might overcome the risk of opportunistic infections associated with the currently available TNF-alpha antagonists.

Hinton HJ, Titz A, Kopf M, Alessi DR, Bachmann MF. 2007. The role of PDK1 in B cells SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 22S-22S.

Bessa J, Jegerlehner A, Bachmann MF. 2007. Toll-like receptor 7 signaling drives IgA responses SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 16S-16S.

Manolova V, Flace A, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2007. Nanoparticles target distinct dendritic cell populations according to their size SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 26S-26S.

Keller SA, Renhofa R, Cielens I, Pumpens P, Tissot A, Hinton HJ, Bachmann MF. 2007. Follicular and marginal zone B cells fail to cross-present MHC class restricted epitopes derived from viral particles SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 24S-24S.

von Allmen CE, Beerli RR, Schmitz N, Bauer M, Bachmann ME. 2007. Identification of a immunosuppressive protein selectively produced by regulatory T cells SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 10S-10S.

Haug S, Senti G, Johansen P, Maurer P, Bachmann M, T K. 2007. Dust mite allergy - new treatment option SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 36S-36S.

Schmitz N, Saudan P, Bachmann MF. 2007. A universal Influenza A vaccine based on M2 mediates complete protection from lethal infection in mice SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 32S-32S.

Bull C, Muller P, Renner WA, Bachmann MF, Kundig TM, Senti G. 2007. Novel allergen-independent immunotherapy: positive data from a phase Ila pilot study with CpG contained in virus-like particles SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 36S-36S.

Jegerlehner A, Maurer P, Bessa J, Hinton HJ, Kopf M, Bachmann MF. 2007. TLR9 signaling in B cells determines class switch recombination to IgG2a SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 22S-22S.

Schwarz K, Jaeger P, Bachmann MF. 2007. TLR9- and TLR7-enhanced CD8(+) T cell responses are suppressed by TLR2-ligands SWISS MEDICAL WEEKLY, 137 pp. 32S-32S.

Gatto D, Bauer M, Martin SW, Bachmann MF. 2007. Heterogeneous antibody repertoire of marginal zone B cells specific for virus-like particles. Microbes Infect, 9 (3), pp. 391-399. | Show Abstract | Read more

Marginal zone (MZ) B cells differ from follicular (FO) B cells in their functional, phenotypic and localization properties. It is still unclear whether B cells from the MZ compartment also have distinct or biased BCR specificities, recognizing only a limited number of conserved antigenic structures. To address the complexity of the immune response mounted by marginal zone B cells, we compared the antibody repertoire of murine MZ and FO B cells induced by immunization with two different virus-like particles (VLPs). Antibody sequences isolated from sorted VLP-specific MZ and FO B cells were similar in heavy chain V, D and J gene segment usage. Sequence analysis of CDR3 regions of antibodies from MZ and FO B cells also revealed no consistent difference in N nucleotide additions or CDR3 length. In contrast, somatic hypermutations were reduced in CDR regions of antibodies from MZ B cells compared to those from FO B cells. These results indicate that the response of MZ B cells to VLPs is clonotypically heterogeneous and suggest that the MZ B cell compartment is capable of generating variable and diverse antibody responses.

Boulter JM, Schmitz N, Sewell AK, Godkin AJ, Bachmann MF, Gallimore AM. 2007. Potent T cell agonism mediated by a very rapid TCR/pMHC interaction. Eur J Immunol, 37 (3), pp. 798-806. | Show Abstract | Read more

The interaction between T cell receptors (TCR) and peptide-major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) antigens can lead to varying degrees of agonism (T cell activation), or antagonism. The P14 TCR recognises the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-derived peptide, gp33 residues 33-41 (KAVYNFATC), presented in the context of H-2D(b). The cellular responses to various related H-2D(b) peptide ligands are very well characterised, and P14 TCR-transgenic mice have been used extensively in models of virus infection, autoimmunity and tumour rejection. Here, we analyse the binding of the P14 soluble TCR to a broad panel of related H-2D(b)-peptide complexes by surface plasmon resonance, and compare this with their diverse cellular responses. P14 TCR binds H-2D(b)-gp33 with a KD of 3 microM (+/-0.5 microM), typical of an immunodominant antiviral TCR, but with unusually fast kinetics (k(off) = 1 s(-1)), corresponding to a half-life of 0.7 s at 25 degrees C, outside the range previously observed for murine agonist TCR/pMHC interactions. The most striking feature of these data is that a very short half-life does not preclude the ability of a TCR/pMHC interaction to induce antiviral immunity, autoimmune disease and tumour rejection.

Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2007. Designing recombinant vaccines with viral properties: a rational approach to more effective vaccines. Curr Mol Med, 7 (2), pp. 143-155. | Show Abstract | Read more

One of the great demands and challenges for vaccination is to successfully target the pathogens responsible for much of mankind's chronic disease burden including: AIDS, infectious hepatitis, tuberculosis and malaria. Another is realizing the potential of therapeutic immunization to cure diseases such as cancer, allergy and inflammatory autoimmunity. To achieve these objectives, the fundamental insights gained from immunology, genomics, molecular-cellular biology and vaccinology must be implemented in order to develop more effective, better defined and safer vaccines. As an illustrative example of this we examine the key features of viruses that are known to be responsible for eliciting superb host immune responses. These insights have formed a basis for understanding the effectiveness of existing vaccines and provide a framework for designing and developing new vaccines better able to meet pressing unmet medical needs. The key immunogenic properties of viruses that are understood to date and are currently being applied include: their particulate nature, their highly repetitive and ordered structures, their ability to induce innate immunity with consequent conditioning of adaptive responses and the kinetics and distribution of viral antigens during infection. Vaccines and vaccine-formulations recently registered for use in humans already incorporate some of these elements. Of great anticipation is the progress of the next-generation vaccines now advancing through the various stages of research and development. Vaccines which, by way of rational design, incorporate viral properties to induce tailored responses and thus have the potential to provide safer and more effective prophylaxis and therapies.

Jegerlehner A, Maurer P, Bessa J, Hinton HJ, Kopf M, Bachmann MF. 2007. TLR9 signaling in B cells determines class switch recombination to IgG2a. J Immunol, 178 (4), pp. 2415-2420. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although IgG2a is the most potent Ab isotype in the host response to viral and bacterial infections, the regulation of class switch recombination to IgG2a in vivo is not yet well understood. Recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns by dendritic cells expressing TLRs, like TLR7, recognizing ssRNA, or TLR9, recognizing DNA rich in nonmethylated CG motifs (CpG), favors induction of Th1 responses. It is generally assumed that these Th1 responses are responsible for the TLR-mediated induction of IgG2a. Using virus-like particles loaded with CpGs, we show here that TLR9 ligands can directly stimulate B cells to undergo isotype switching to IgG2a. Unexpectedly, TLR9 expression in non-B cells did not affect isotype switching in the Ab response against virus-like particles. Thus, TLR9 can regulate isotype switching to IgG2a directly by interacting with B cells rather than indirectly by inducing Th1 responses.

Spohn G, Bachmann MF. 2007. Targeting osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis by active vaccination against RANKL. Adv Exp Med Biol, 602 pp. 135-142. | Read more

Ambühl PM, Tissot AC, Fulurija A, Maurer P, Nussberger J, Sabat R, Nief V, Schellekens C, Sladko K, Roubicek K et al. 2007. A vaccine for hypertension based on virus-like particles: preclinical efficacy and phase I safety and immunogenicity. J Hypertens, 25 (1), pp. 63-72. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Despite the availability of efficacious drugs, the success of treating hypertension is limited by patients' inconsistent drug intake. Immunization against angiotensin II may offer a valuable alternative to conventional drugs for the treatment of hypertension, because vaccines induce relatively long-lasting effects and do not require daily dosing. Here we describe the preclinical development and the phase I clinical trial testing of a virus-like particle (VLP)-based antihypertensive vaccine. METHODS AND RESULTS: An angiotensin II-derived peptide was conjugated to the VLP Qbeta (AngQb). AngQb was highly immunogenic in mice and rats. To test for efficacy, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) were immunized with 400 microg AngQb or VLP alone. Group mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) was reduced by up to 21 mmHg (159 +/- 2 versus 180 +/- 5 mmHg, P < 0.001), and total angiotensin II levels (antibody-bound and free) were increased ninefold (85 +/- 20 versus 9 +/- 1 pmol/l, P = 0.002) compared with VLP controls. SHR treated with the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor ramipril (1 mg/kg per day by mouth) reached an SBP of 155 +/- 2 mmHg. Twelve healthy volunteers of a placebo-controlled randomized phase I trial were injected once with 100 microg AngQb. Angiotensin II-specific antibodies were raised in all subjects (100% responder rate) and AngQb was well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: AngQb reduces blood pressure in SHR to levels obtained with an ACE inhibitor, and is immunogenic and well tolerated in humans. Therefore, vaccination against angiotensin II has the potential to become a useful antihypertensive treatment providing long-lasting effects and improving patient compliance.

Gatto D, Martin SW, Bessa J, Pellicioli E, Saudan P, Hinton HJ, Bachmann MF. 2007. Regulation of memory antibody levels: the role of persisting antigen versus plasma cell life span. J Immunol, 178 (1), pp. 67-76. | Show Abstract | Read more

Protective Ab levels can be maintained for years upon infection or vaccination. In this study, we studied the duration of Ab responses as a function of the life span of plasma cells and tested the role of persisting Ag in maintaining B cell memory. Our analysis of B cell responses induced in mice immunized with virus-like particles demonstrates the following: 1) Ab titers are long-lived, but decline continuously with a t(1/2) of approximately 80 days, which corresponds to the life span of plasma cells; 2) the germinal center (GC) reaction, which lasts for up to 100 days, is dependent on Ag associated with follicular dendritic cells; and 3) early GCs produce massive numbers of plasma and memory B cell precursors, whereas the late Ag-dependent GCs are dispensable for the maintenance of Ab levels and B cell memory.

Röhn TA, Jennings GT, Hernandez M, Grest P, Beck M, Zou Y, Kopf M, Bachmann MF. 2006. Vaccination against IL-17 suppresses autoimmune arthritis and encephalomyelitis. Eur J Immunol, 36 (11), pp. 2857-2867. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin 17 is a T cell-derived cytokine that induces the release of pro-inflammatory mediators in a wide range of cell types. Recently, a subset of IL-17-producing T helper cells (Th17) distinct from Th1 and Th2 cells has been described, which constitutes a new T cell polarization state. Aberrant Th17 responses and overexpression of IL-17 have been implicated in a number of autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Molecules blocking IL-17 such as IL-17-specific monoclonal antibodies have proved to be effective in ameliorating disease in animal models. Hitherto, active immunization targeting IL-17 is an untried approach. Herein we explore the potential of neutralizing IL-17 by active immunization using virus-like particles conjugated with recombinant IL-17 (IL-17-VLP). Immunization with IL-17-VLP induced high levels of anti-IL-17 antibodies thereby overcoming natural tolerance, even in the absence of added adjuvant. Mice immunized with IL-17-VLP had lower incidence of disease, slower progression to disease and reduced scores of disease severity in both collagen-induced arthritis and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Active immunization against IL-17 therefore represents a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Sonderegger I, Röhn TA, Kurrer MO, Iezzi G, Zou Y, Kastelein RA, Bachmann MF, Kopf M. 2006. Neutralization of IL-17 by active vaccination inhibits IL-23-dependent autoimmune myocarditis. Eur J Immunol, 36 (11), pp. 2849-2856. | Show Abstract | Read more

The most common reason for heart failure in young adults is dilated cardiomyopathy often resulting from myocarditis. Clinical studies and animal models provide evidence that an autoimmune response against heart myosin is the underlying reason for the disease. IL-12 has been suggested to play a key role in development of experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM), as IL-12p40 and IL-12Rbeta1 knockouts are protected from disease. In this study, we have compared IL-12p40-/- mice, IL-12p35-/- mice and mice treated with a neutralizing IL-23 antibody in EAM and found that in fact IL-23, not IL-12, is responsible for inflammatory heart disease. However, these cytokines appear to have redundant activity for priming and expansion of autoreactive CD4 T cells, as specific T cell proliferation was only defective in the absence of both cytokines. IL-23 has been suggested to promote a pathogenic IL-17-producing T cell population. We targeted IL-17 by capitalizing on an active vaccination approach that effectively breaks B cell tolerance. Neutralization of IL-17 reduced myocarditis and heart autoantibody responses, suggesting that IL-17 is the critical effector cytokine responsible for EAM. Thus, targeting of IL-23 and IL-17 by passive and active vaccination strategies holds promise as a therapeutic approach to treat patients at risk for development of dilated cardiomyopathy.

Dyer MR, Renner WA, Bachmann MF. 2006. A second vaccine revolution for the new epidemics of the 21st century. Drug Discov Today, 11 (21-22), pp. 1028-1033. | Show Abstract | Read more

Non-communicable, chronic diseases are currently the major cause of death and disability worldwide, and many of these maladies have reached epidemic proportions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) these disorders, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity and cancer, now account for about half of the global disease burden as well as deaths worldwide. The WHO identifies comparatively few risk factors, namely smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as the cause of many of these chronic conditions. A new class of medicines, based on vaccine approaches, are now in clinical trials and hold significant promise to treat both risk factors and their associated chronic diseases.

Vogt L, Schmitz N, Kurrer MO, Bauer M, Hinton HI, Behnke S, Gatto D, Sebbel P, Beerli RR, Sonderegger I et al. 2006. VSIG4, a B7 family-related protein, is a negative regulator of T cell activation. J Clin Invest, 116 (10), pp. 2817-2826. | Show Abstract | Read more

T cell activation by APCs is positively and negatively regulated by members of the B7 family. We have identified a previously unknown function for B7 family-related protein V-set and Ig domain-containing 4 (VSIG4). In vitro experiments using VSIG4-Ig fusion molecules showed that VSIG4 is a strong negative regulator of murine and human T cell proliferation and IL-2 production. Administration to mice of soluble VSIG4-Ig fusion molecules reduced the induction of T cell responses in vivo and inhibited the production of Th cell-dependent IgG responses. Unlike that of B7 family members, surface expression of VSIG4 was restricted to resting tissue macrophages and absent upon activation by LPS or in autoimmune inflammatory foci. The specific expression of VSIG4 on resting macrophages in tissue suggests that this inhibitory ligand may be important for the maintenance of T cell unresponsiveness in healthy tissues.

Kündig TM, Senti G, Schnetzler G, Wolf C, Prinz Vavricka BM, Fulurija A, Hennecke F, Sladko K, Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2006. Der p 1 peptide on virus-like particles is safe and highly immunogenic in healthy adults. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 117 (6), pp. 1470-1476. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In mice, highly repetitive antigens, such as those present on bacterial or viral surfaces, efficiently cross-link B-cell receptors and therefore induce strong IgG responses. In this study we covalently coupled a synthetic 16-amino-acid sequence of the allergen Der p 1 to a virus-like particle derived from the bacteriophage Qbeta (Qbeta-Der p 1). OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of Qbeta-Der p 1 in human subjects and compared different doses and routes of immunization. METHODS: In a phase I trial 24 healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to one of 4 treatment groups. Group 1 received 50 microg of Qbeta-Der p 1 intramuscularly, group 2 received 50 microg of Qbeta-Der p 1 subcutaneously, group 3 received 10 microg of Qbeta-Der p 1 intramuscularly, and group 4 received 10 microg of Qbeta-Der p 1 subcutaneously. Boosting immunizations with 10 microg were given after 1 and 3 months. Antibody titers were measured after 1, 3, 4, 6, 12, and 18 months. RESULTS: The vaccine Qbeta-Der p 1 was well tolerated. Significant IgG responses were observed 4 weeks after a single injection. Individuals receiving 50 microg of the vaccine had significantly higher IgG titers than those vaccinated with 10 microg. However, the route of immunization (subcutaneous vs intramuscular) had no effect. In the 50-microg dose group, strong antibody responses against Der p 1 with average titers of 1:2000 were obtained. CONCLUSION: Vaccination with a peptide antigen covalently coupled to highly repetitive virus-like particles represents an adjuvant-free means of rapidly inducing high antibody titers in human subjects. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Allergens coupled to virus-like particles can be used to enhance the efficiency of allergen-specific immunotherapy.

Bachmann MF, Beerli RR, Agnellini P, Wolint P, Schwarz K, Oxenius A. 2006. Long-lived memory CD8+ T cells are programmed by prolonged antigen exposure and low levels of cellular activation. Eur J Immunol, 36 (4), pp. 842-854. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD8+ T cells play a crucial role in controlling intracellular pathogens. The level of memory CD8+ T cells developing after vaccination or infection influences the degree of T cell-mediated protection after secondary infection. We used defined animal models and infections/immunizations by replicating or non-replicating antigens to define on a molecular and cellular level in vivo the parameters that identify and shape long-lived CD8+ T cell memory. We show that the timing of antigen exposure during vaccination is key for the induction of long-lived T cell memory. Brief antigen exposure induced high numbers of effector cells but limited development of long-lived CD8+ memory T cells. In contrast, prolonged antigen exposure for up to 9 days induced similar numbers of effector T cells but additionally resulted in high levels of memory CD8+ T cells. Unexpectedly CD127 (IL-7Ralpha) expression on CD8+ T cells during the acute priming phase was a necessary but not sufficient requirement for entering the pool of long-lived antigen-independent memory CD8+ T cells. However, we provide strong evidence for the interpretation that programming of long-lived memory T cells was driven by low levels of transcription factor eomesodermin and protease inhibitor Spi2A as well as reduced phosphorylation of c-JUN.

Bachmann MF, Nussberger J, Tissot AC, Jennings GT. 2006. Reply to 'Blood pressure vaccine shot down by safety concerns'. Nat Med, 12 (3), pp. 270. | Read more

Bachmann MF, Kopf M, Marsland BJ. 2006. Chemokines: more than just road signs. Nat Rev Immunol, 6 (2), pp. 159-164. | Show Abstract | Read more

Chemokines have long been known to orchestrate dendritic-cell migration in the body. However, recent evidence has shown that chemokines not only direct the trafficking of dendritic cells but also can regulate their maturation status. Here, we propose that this dual function of chemokines ensures that T cells and dendritic cells meet in T-cell regions of lymphoid organs and that antigen is presented in an immunologically optimal context for T-cell priming.

Gründemann C, Bauer M, Schweier O, von Oppen N, Lässing U, Saudan P, Becker K-F, Karp K, Hanke T, Bachmann MF, Pircher H. 2006. Cutting edge: identification of E-cadherin as a ligand for the murine killer cell lectin-like receptor G1. J Immunol, 176 (3), pp. 1311-1315. | Show Abstract | Read more

The killer cell lectin-like receptor G1 (KLRG1) is expressed by NK cells and by T cells. In both humans and mice, KLRG1 identifies Ag-experienced T cells that are impaired in their proliferative capacity but are capable of performing effector functions. In this study, we identified E-cadherin as a ligand for murine KLRG1 by using fluorescently labeled, soluble tetrameric complexes of the extracellular domain of the murine KLRG1 molecule as staining reagents in expression cloning. Ectopic expression of E-cadherin in B16.BL6 target cells did not affect cell-mediated lysis by lymphokine-activated NK cells and by CD8 T cells but inhibited Ag-induced proliferation and induction of cytolytic activity of CD8 T cells. E-cadherin is expressed by normal epithelial cells, Langerhans cells, and keratinocytes and is usually down-regulated on metastatic cancer cells. KLRG1 ligation by E-cadherin in healthy tissue may thus exert an inhibitory effect on primed T cells.

Abel B, Freigang S, Bachmann MF, Boschert U, Kopf M. 2005. Osteopontin is not required for the development of Th1 responses and viral immunity. J Immunol, 175 (9), pp. 6006-6013. | Show Abstract | Read more

Osteopontin (OPN) has been defined as a key cytokine promoting the release of IL-12 and hence inducing the development of protective cell-mediated immunity to viruses and intracellular pathogens. To further characterize the role of OPN in antiviral immunity, OPN-deficient (OPN-/-) mice were analyzed after infection with influenza virus and vaccinia virus. Surprisingly, we found that viral clearance, lung inflammation, and recruitment of effector T cells to the lung were unaffected in OPN-/- mice after influenza infection. Furthermore, effector status of T cells was normal as demonstrated by normal IFN-gamma production and CTL lytic activity. Moreover, activation and Th1 differentiation of naive TCR transgenic CD4+ T cells by dendritic cells and cognate Ag was normal in the absence of OPN in vitro. Contrary to a previous report, we found that OPN-/- mice mounted a normal immune response to Listeria monocytogenes. In conclusion, OPN is dispensable for antiviral immune responses against influenza virus and vaccinia virus.

Spohn G, Schwarz K, Maurer P, Illges H, Rajasekaran N, Choi Y, Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2005. Protection against osteoporosis by active immunization with TRANCE/RANKL displayed on virus-like particles. J Immunol, 175 (9), pp. 6211-6218. | Show Abstract | Read more

TNF-related activation-induced cytokine (TRANCE), also known as receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL), is the key molecule responsible for the bone loss observed in osteoporosis. Passive administration of osteoprotegerin, the soluble decoy receptor of TRANCE/RANKL, is efficient in blocking disease progression, but may not find widespread clinical use due to patient compliance problems and the expected high costs. In this study, we describe an efficient, safe, and potentially cost-effective active immunization strategy against TRANCE/RANKL. We show in mice that immunization with TRANCE/RANKL covalently linked to virus-like particles can overcome the natural tolerance of the immune system toward self proteins and produce high levels of specific Abs without the addition of any adjuvant. Serum Abs of immunized mice neutralized TRANCE/RANKL activity in vitro and were highly active in preventing bone loss in a mouse model of osteoporosis. Active immunization against TRANCE/RANKL was essentially reversible and did not produce any measurable immunosuppressive side effects, underscoring its potential as a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of human bone-degenerative disorders.

Tissot AC, Ambuhl PM, Fulurija A, Maurer P, Jennings GT, Nussberger J, Sabat R, Volk HD, Wagner F, Nief V et al. 2005. Preclinical antihypertensive efficacy and immunogenicity in humans of a vaccine against angiotensin II based on virus-like particles (VLPs) CIRCULATION, 112 (17), pp. U571-U571.

Marsland BJ, Nembrini C, Schmitz N, Abel B, Krautwald S, Bachmann MF, Kopf M. 2005. Innate signals compensate for the absence of PKC-{theta} during in vivo CD8(+) T cell effector and memory responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 102 (40), pp. 14374-14379. | Show Abstract | Read more

PKC- is central to T-helper (Th) 2 cell differentiation and effector function; however, its importance for antiviral effector, and in particular memory CD8(+) T cell responses, remains unclear. We have investigated the role of PKC- during in vivo and in vitro responses against influenza virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, vaccinia virus, and replication-deficient virus-like particles. In the absence of PKC-, antiviral CD8(+) T cells presented an unresponsive phenotype in vitro, which could be restored with exogenous IL-2 or by Toll-like receptor ligand-activated dendritic cells. In striking contrast, PKC- appeared to be superfluous for in vivo antiviral responses irrespective of whether the virus infected systemically, was localized to the lung, or did not replicate. In addition, CD8(+) CCR7-effector memory responses were normal in PKC--deficient mice, both in lymphoid and peripheral tissues. Our data show that increased activation signals delivered in vivo by highly activated dendritic cells, as present during viral infections, overcome the requirement for PKC- during CD8(+) T cell antiviral responses.

Bachmann MF, Wolint P, Schwarz K, Jäger P, Oxenius A. 2005. Functional properties and lineage relationship of CD8+ T cell subsets identified by expression of IL-7 receptor alpha and CD62L. J Immunol, 175 (7), pp. 4686-4696. | Show Abstract | Read more

Three major subsets of Ag-experienced CD8+ T cells have been identified according to their expression of CD62L and CD127. These markers are associated with central memory T cells (CD62L+ CD127+), effector memory T cells (CD162L- CD127+), and effector T cells (CD62L- CD127-). In this study we characterized the development of these three populations during acute and chronic viral infections and after immunization with virus-like particles and determined their lineage relation and functional and protective properties. We found that the balance between the three subsets was critically regulated by the availability of Ag and time. After initial down-regulation of CD127, the responding CD8+ T cell population down-regulated CD62L and re-expressed CD127. Dependent on Ag availability, the cells then further differentiated into CD62L- CD127- effector cells or, in the absence of Ag, re-expressed CD62L to become central memory T cells. Although all three populations efficiently produced effector cytokines such as IFN-gamma, CD62L- CD127- effector cells exhibited the highest ex vivo lytic potential. In contrast, CD62L+ CD127+ central memory T cells most efficiently produced IL-2 and proliferated extensively in vitro and in vivo upon antigenic restimulation. Strikingly, only effector and effector memory, but not central memory, T cells were able to protect against peripheral infection with vaccinia virus, whereas central memory T cells were most potent at protecting against systemic infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, indicating that the antiviral protective capacities of specific CD8+ T cell subsets are closely related to the nature of the challenging pathogen.

Bachmann MF, Wolint P, Schwarz K, Oxenius A. 2005. Recall proliferation potential of memory CD8+ T cells and antiviral protection. J Immunol, 175 (7), pp. 4677-4685. | Show Abstract | Read more

Memory CD8+ T cells play a crucial role in mediating protection from infection with viruses and other intracellular pathogens. Memory T cells are not a homogenous cellular population and may be separated into central memory T cells with substantial recall proliferation capacity and effector memory T cells with limited recall proliferation capacity. It has been suggested that the protective capacity of effector memory T cells is more limited than that of central memory T cells in viral infections. Here, we show that pronounced recall proliferation potential is indeed key for protection against lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which replicates in central lymphoid organs and is controlled by contact-dependent lysis of infected cells. In contrast, recall proliferation competence is not sufficient for protection against vaccinia virus, which is replicating in peripheral solid organs and is controlled by cytokines. To protect against vaccinia virus, high numbers of effector-like T cells were required to be present in peripheral tissue before viral challenge. These data indicate that the protective capacity of different subpopulations of memory T cells may vary dependent on the nature and the route of the challenge infection, which must be considered in T cell-based vaccine design.

Bachmann MF. 2005. Use of virus-like particles for therapeutic vaccination against addiction and other chronic diseases JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, 118 pp. S67-S67.

Maurer P, Jennings GT, Willers J, Rohner F, Lindman Y, Roubicek K, Renner WA, Müller P, Bachmann MF. 2005. A therapeutic vaccine for nicotine dependence: preclinical efficacy, and Phase I safety and immunogenicity. Eur J Immunol, 35 (7), pp. 2031-2040. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nicotine is the principal addictive component in tobacco, and following uptake acts in the central nervous system. The smoking-cessation efforts of most smokers fail because a single slip often delivers sufficient nicotine to the brain to reinstate the drug-seeking behaviour. Blocking nicotine from entering the brain by induction of specific antibodies may be an effective means to prevent such relapses. The hapten nicotine was coupled to virus-like particles (VLP) formed by the coat protein of the bacteriophage Qb. In preclinical experiments, this Nicotine-Qb VLP (NicQb) vaccine induced strong antibody responses. After intravenous nicotine challenge, vaccinated mice exhibited strongly reduced nicotine levels in the brain compared with control mice. In a phase I study, 32 healthy non-smokers were immunized with NicQb. The vaccine was safe and well-tolerated. All volunteers who received NicQb showed nicotine-specific IgM antibodies at day 7 and nicotine-specific IgG antibodies at day 14. Antibody levels could be boosted by a second injection or the addition of Alum as an adjuvant and the antibodies had a high affinity for nicotine. These data suggest that antibodies induced by NicQb may prevent relapses by sequestering nicotine in the blood of immunized smokers.

Schmitz N, Kurrer M, Bachmann MF, Kopf M. 2005. Interleukin-1 is responsible for acute lung immunopathology but increases survival of respiratory influenza virus infection. J Virol, 79 (10), pp. 6441-6448. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha) and IL-1beta are proinflammatory cytokines, which induce a plethora of genes and activities by binding to the type 1 IL-1 receptor (IL-1R1). We have investigated the role of IL-1 during pulmonary antiviral immune responses in IL-1R1(-/-) mice infected with influenza virus. IL-1R1(-/-) mice showed markedly reduced inflammatory pathology in the lung, primarily due to impaired neutrophil recruitment. Activation of CD4(+) T cells in secondary lymphoid organs and subsequent migration to the lung were impaired in the absence of IL-1R1. In contrast, activation of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and killing of virus-infected cells in the lung were intact. Influenza virus-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA antibody responses were intact, while the IgM response was markedly reduced in both serum and mucosal sites in IL-1R1(-/-) mice. We found significantly increased mortality in the absence of IL-1R1; however, lung viral titers were only moderately increased. Our results demonstrate that IL-1alpha/beta mediate acute pulmonary inflammatory pathology while enhancing survival during influenza virus infection. IL-1alpha/beta appear not to influence killing of virus-infected cells but to enhance IgM antibody responses and recruitment of CD4(+) T cells to the site of infection.

Bättig P, Saudan P, Storni T, Gallimore A, Bachmann MF. 2005. Limited in vivo reactivity of polyclonal effector cytotoxic T cells towards altered peptide ligands. Microbes Infect, 7 (4), pp. 729-737. | Show Abstract | Read more

T cell responses are regulated by the affinity/avidity of the T cell receptor for the MHC/peptide complex, available costimulation and duration of antigenic stimulation. Altered peptide ligands (APLs) are usually recognized with a reduced affinity/avidity by the T cell receptor and are often able to only partially activate T cells in vitro or may even function as antagonists. Here we assessed the ability of APLs derived from peptide p33 of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) to mediate lysis of target cells in vivo, confer anti-viral protection and cause auto-immune disease. In general, in vitro cross-reactivity between APLs was rather limited, and even strongly cross-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes were only able to mediate moderate anti-viral protection. Partial protection was observed for infection with LCMV or low doses of recombinant vaccinia virus, while no reduced viral titers could be seen upon infection with high dose of vaccinia virus. In a transgenic mouse model expressing LCMV glycoprotein in the islets of the pancreas, APLs induced a transient insulitis but failed to induce autoimmune diabetes. Thus, effector functions induced by even highly homologous APLs are rather limited in vivo.

Marsland BJ, Bättig P, Bauer M, Ruedl C, Lässing U, Beerli RR, Dietmeier K, Ivanova L, Pfister T, Vogt L et al. 2005. CCL19 and CCL21 induce a potent proinflammatory differentiation program in licensed dendritic cells. Immunity, 22 (4), pp. 493-505. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dendritic cells (DCs) are key instigators of adaptive immune responses. Using an alphaviral expression cloning technology, we have identified the chemokine CCL19 as a potent inducer of T cell proliferation in a DC-T cell coculture system. Subsequent studies showed that CCL19 enhanced T cell proliferation by inducing maturation of DCs, resulting in upregulation of costimulatory molecules and the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Moreover, CCL19 programmed DCs for the induction of T helper type (Th) 1 rather than Th2 responses. Importantly, only activated DCs that migrated from the periphery to draining lymph nodes, but not resting steady-state DCs residing within lymph nodes, expressed high levels of CCR7 in vivo and responded to CCL19 with the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Migrating DCs isolated from mice genetically deficient in CCL19 and CCL21 (plt/plt) presented an only partially mature phenotype, highlighting the importance of these chemokines for full DC maturation in vivo. Our findings indicate that CCL19 and CCL21 are potent natural adjuvants for terminal activation of DCs and suggest that chemokines not only orchestrate DC migration but also regulate their immunogenic potential for the induction of T cell responses.

Gatto D, Pfister T, Jegerlehner A, Martin SW, Kopf M, Bachmann MF. 2005. Complement receptors regulate differentiation of bone marrow plasma cell precursors expressing transcription factors Blimp-1 and XBP-1. J Exp Med, 201 (6), pp. 993-1005. | Show Abstract | Read more

Humoral immune responses are thought to be enhanced by complement-mediated recruitment of the CD21-CD19-CD81 coreceptor complex into the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) complex, which lowers the threshold of B cell activation and increases the survival and proliferative capacity of responding B cells. To investigate the role of the CD21-CD35 complement receptors in the generation of B cell memory, we analyzed the response against viral particles derived from the bacteriophage Qbeta in mice deficient in CD21-CD35 (Cr2(-/-)). Despite highly efficient induction of early antibody responses and germinal center (GC) reactions to immunization with Qbeta, Cr2(-/-) mice exhibited impaired antibody persistence paralleled by a strongly reduced development of bone marrow plasma cells. Surprisingly, antigen-specific memory B cells were essentially normal in these mice. In the absence of CD21-mediated costimulation, Qbeta-specific post-GC B cells failed to induce the transcriptional regulators Blimp-1 and XBP-1 driving plasma cell differentiation, and the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2, which resulted in failure to generate the precursor population of long-lived plasma cells residing in the bone marrow. These results suggest that complement receptors maintain antibody responses by delivery of differentiation and survival signals to precursors of bone marrow plasma cells.

Won WJ, Laessing U, Bachmann M, Kearney J. 2005. Expression of CD36 by mouse marginal zone B cell FASEB JOURNAL, 19 (4), pp. A358-A358.

Schwarz K, Meijerink E, Speiser DE, Tissot AC, Cielens I, Renhof R, Dishlers A, Pumpens P, Bachmann MF. 2005. Efficient homologous prime-boost strategies for T cell vaccination based on virus-like particles. Eur J Immunol, 35 (3), pp. 816-821. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction of high frequencies of specific T cells by vaccination requires prime-boost regimens. To reach optimal immune responses, it is necessary to use different vectors for priming and boosting as e.g. DNA vaccination followed by boosting with a recombinant viral vector. Here, we show that vaccines based on virus-like particles (VLP) displaying peptide epitopes are equally effective to induce CTL responses if used in a homologous or heterologous prime-boost setting. Strikingly, high frequencies (>20% of CD8(+) cells) of protective CTL could be induced and maintained by weekly injection of VLP. Thus, the use of VLP may avoid the requirement for complicated heterologous prime-boost regimens, facilitating the development of effective T cell-based vaccines.

Gatto D, Bachmann MF. 2005. Function of marginal zone B cells in antiviral B-cell responses. Crit Rev Immunol, 25 (4), pp. 331-342. | Show Abstract | Read more

B cells of the marginal zone (MZ) compartment are poised to combat infectious threats reaching the bloodstream. They owe this ability to their unique location at the ports of entry of blood-borne pathogens as well as to their distinct functional properties. MZ B cells respond to antigen encounters with rapid activation, local antibody secretion, and isotype switching. In addition, they are involved in antigen trapping, transport, and presentation. Herein, we review the current data on the functional characteristics that enable the MZ B-cell population to act as an efficient first line of defense against systemic infections.



European Pubmed Central

Ruedl C, Schwarz K, Jegerlehner A, Storni T, Manolova V, Bachmann MF. 2005. Virus-like particles as carriers for T-cell epitopes: limited inhibition of T-cell priming by carrier-specific antibodies. J Virol, 79 (2), pp. 717-724. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are able to induce cytotoxic T-cell responses in the absence of infection or replication. This makes VLPs promising candidates for the development of recombinant vaccines. However, VLPs are also potent inducers of B-cell responses, and it is generally assumed that such VLP-specific antibodies interfere with the induction of protective immune responses, a phenomenon summarized as carrier suppression. In this study, we investigated the impact of preexisting VLP-specific antibodies on the induction of specific cytotoxic T-cell and Th-cell responses in mice. The data show that VLP-specific antibodies did not measurably reduce antigen presentation in vitro or in vivo. Nevertheless, T-cell priming was slightly reduced by antigen-specific antibodies; however, the overall reduction was limited and vaccination with VLPs in the presence of VLP-specific antibodies still resulted in protective T-cell responses. Thus, carrier suppression is unlikely to be a limiting factor for VLP-based T-cell vaccines.

Schlaepfer E, Audigé A, von Beust B, Manolova V, Weber M, Joller H, Bachmann MF, Kundig TM, Speck RF. 2004. CpG oligodeoxynucleotides block human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication in human lymphoid tissue infected ex vivo. J Virol, 78 (22), pp. 12344-12354. | Show Abstract | Read more

Oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) with immunomodulatory motifs control a number of microbial infections in animal models, presumably by acting through toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) to induce a number of cytokines (e.g., alpha interferon and tumor necrosis factor alpha). The immunomodulatory motif consists of unmethylated sequences of cytosine and guanosine (CpG motif). ODNs without CpG motifs do not trigger TLR9. We hypothesized that triggering of TLR9 generates a cellular environment unfavorable for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication. We tested this hypothesis in human lymphocyte cultures and found that phosphorothioate-modified ODN CpG2006 (type B ODNs) inhibited HIV replication nearly completely and prevented the loss of CD4(+) T cells. ODNs CpG2216 and CpG10 (type A ODNs) were less effective. CpG2006 blocked HIV replication in purified CD4(+) T cells and T-cell lines; CpG10 was ineffective in this setting, indicating that type A ODNs may inhibit HIV replication in CD4(+) T-cell lines indirectly through a separate cell subset. However, control ODNs without CpG motifs also showed anti-HIV effects, indicating that these effects are nonspecific and not due to TLR9 triggering. The mechanism of action is not clear. CpG2006 and its control ODN blocked syncytium formation in a cell fusion-based assay, but CpG10, CpG2216, and their control ODNs did not. The latter types interfered with the HIV replication cycle during disassembly or reverse transcription. In contrast, CpG2006 and CpG2216 specifically induced cytokines critical to initiation of the innate immune response. In summary, the nonspecific anti-HIV activity of CpG ODNs, their ability to stimulate HIV replication in latently infected cells, potentially resulting in their elimination, and their documented ability to link the innate and adaptive immune responses make them attractive candidates for further study as anti-HIV drugs.

Gatto D, Ruedl C, Odermatt B, Bachmann MF. 2004. Rapid response of marginal zone B cells to viral particles. J Immunol, 173 (7), pp. 4308-4316. | Show Abstract | Read more

Marginal zone (MZ) B cells are thought to be responsible for the first wave of Abs against bacterial Ags. In this study, we assessed the in vivo response of MZ B cells in mice immunized with viral particles derived from the RNA phage Qbeta. We found that both follicular (FO) and MZ B cells responded to immunization with viral particles. MZ B cells responded with slightly faster kinetics, but numerically, FO B cells dominated the response. B1 B cells responded similarly to MZ B cells. Both MZ and FO B cells underwent isotype switching, with MZ B cells again exhibiting faster kinetics. In fact, almost all Qbeta-specific MZ B cells expressed surface IgG by day 5. Histological analysis demonstrated that a population of activated B cells remain associated with the MZ, probably due to the elevated integrin levels expressed by these cells. Thus, both MZ and FO B cells respond with rapid proliferation to viral infection and both populations undergo isotype switching, but MZ B cells remain in the MZ and may be responsible for local Ab production, opsonizing pathogens entering the spleen.

Bachmann MF, Schwarz K, Wolint P, Meijerink E, Martin S, Manolova V, Oxenius A. 2004. Cutting edge: distinct roles for T help and CD40/CD40 ligand in regulating differentiation of proliferation-competent memory CD8+ T cells. J Immunol, 173 (4), pp. 2217-2221. | Show Abstract | Read more

Murine primary antiviral cytotoxic T cell (CTL) responses are often induced in the absence of Th cells. In this study, we show that virus-like particles, if combined with DNA rich in CpG motifs, efficiently trigger primary CTL responses and comparable frequencies of memory CTLs in the presence or absence of T help. However, memory CTLs primed in the absence of T help failed to proliferate upon viral challenge. Nevertheless, they were efficiently recruited to sites of inflammation, indicating that T help may regulate the balance between proliferation-competent and migration-competent memory CTLs. Surprisingly, generation of proliferation-competent memory CTLs was completely independent of CD40 or CD40L, molecules commonly assumed to be central for mediating the beneficial effects of Th cells on CTL development. Thus, Th cells but not CD40/CD40L are key for the differentiation of proliferation-competent central memory CD8(+) T cells.

Storni T, Bachmann MF. 2004. Loading of MHC class I and II presentation pathways by exogenous antigens: a quantitative in vivo comparison. J Immunol, 172 (10), pp. 6129-6135. | Show Abstract | Read more

The MHC class I pathway is usually fueled by endogenous Ags, while exogenous Ags reach the MHC class II pathway. Although exogenous epitopes may also enter the MHC class I pathway, quantification of the efficiency of the process has remained a difficult task. In an attempt of such a quantification, we directly compared the amount of exogenous virus-like particles required for induction of cytotoxic T cell responses by cross-priming with the amount of virus-like particles required for induction of Th cell responses by the conventional route of MHC class II loading as an internal standard. Surprisingly, we found that cross-presentation of peptides derived from exogenous Ags on MHC class I molecules is of only marginally lower efficiency ( approximately 1- to 10-fold) than the classical MHC class II pathway in vitro and in vivo. Thus, Ag quantities required for cross-presentation and cross-priming are similar to those required for fueling the MHC class II pathway.

Sirena D, Lilienfeld B, Eisenhut M, Kälin S, Boucke K, Beerli RR, Vogt L, Ruedl C, Bachmann MF, Greber UF, Hemmi S. 2004. The human membrane cofactor CD46 is a receptor for species B adenovirus serotype 3. J Virol, 78 (9), pp. 4454-4462. | Show Abstract | Read more

Many human adenovirus (Ad) serotypes use the coxsackie B virus-Ad receptor (CAR). Recently, CD46 was suggested to be a receptor of species B Ad serotype 11 (Ad11), Ad14, Ad16, Ad21, Ad35, and Ad50. Using Sindbis virus-mediated cDNA library expression, we identify here the membrane cofactor protein CD46 as a surface receptor of species B Ad3. All four major CD46 transcripts and one minor CD46 transcript expressed in nucleated human cells were isolated. Rodent BHK cells stably expressing the BC1 form of CD46 bound radiolabeled Ad3 with a dissociation constant of 0.3 nM, identical to that of CD46-positive HeLa cells expressing twice as many Ad3 binding sites. Pull-down experiments with recombinant Ad3 fibers and a soluble form of the CD46 extracellular domain linked to the Fc portion of human immunoglobulin G (CD46ex-Fc) indicated direct interactions of the Ad3 fiber knob with CD46ex-Fc but not CARex-Fc (Fc-linked extracellular domain of CAR). Ad3 colocalized with cell surface CD46 in both rodent and human cells at the light and electron microscopy levels. Anti-CD46 antibodies and CD46ex-Fc inhibited Ad3 binding to CD46-expressing BHK cells more than 10-fold and to human cells 2-fold. In CD46-expressing BHK cells, wild-type Ad3 and a chimeric Ad consisting of the Ad5 capsid and the Ad3 fiber elicited dose-dependent cytopathic effects and transgene expression, albeit less efficiently than in human cells. Together, our results show that all of the major splice forms of CD46 are predominant and functional binding sites of Ad3 on CD46-expressing rodent and human cells but may not be the sole receptor of species B Ads on human cells. These results have implications for understanding viral pathogenesis and therapeutic gene delivery.



European Pubmed Central

Bättig P, Saudan P, Gunde T, Bachmann MF. 2004. Enhanced apoptotic activity of a structurally optimized form of galectin-1. Mol Immunol, 41 (1), pp. 9-18. | Show Abstract | Read more

Galectin-1 is a homodimeric protein with potent anti-inflammatory properties due to its ability to induce apoptosis in thymocytes and T cells. The galectin-1 subunits are not covalently linked but the monomers are in a dynamic equilibrium with the dimeric form. Since the affinity of the monomers for each other is rather low (in the range of 10(-5)M), the in vivo efficacy of galectin-1 is limited because the equilibrium is shifted towards the inactive monomeric form at lower concentrations. In order to overcome this problem, we designed a covalently linked form of the dimer based on the galectin-1 crystal structure. Here we show that this irreversibly dimeric form of galectin-1 is a potent inducer of apoptosis in murine thymocytes as well as murine mature T cells at concentrations 10-fold lower than wild-type galectin-1. This structurally optimized form of galectin-1 may therefore be a potentially powerful tool to treat chronic inflammatory diseases.

Jegerlehner A, Schmitz N, Storni T, Bachmann MF. 2004. Influenza A vaccine based on the extracellular domain of M2: weak protection mediated via antibody-dependent NK cell activity. J Immunol, 172 (9), pp. 5598-5605. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination of mice with a peptide corresponding to the extracellular part of M2 protein coupled to the immunodominant domain of hepatitis B core can protect mice from a lethal challenge with influenza A virus. As the extracellular part of M2 protein is highly conserved in all known human influenza A strains, such a vaccine may protect against all human influenza A strains, which would represent a major advantage over current vaccine strategies. The present study demonstrates that protection is mediated exclusively by Abs, a very important feature of a successful preventive vaccine. However, these Abs neither bind efficiently to the free virus nor neutralize virus infection, but bind to M2 protein expressed on the surface of virus-infected cells. The presence of NK cells is important for protection, whereas complement is not, supposing that protection is mediated via Ab-dependent, cell-mediated cytotoxicity. The absence of neutralizing Abs results in much weaker protection than that achieved by vaccination with UV-inactivated influenza virus. Specifically, whereas neutralizing Abs completely eliminate signs of disease even at high viral challenge doses, M2-specific Abs cannot prevent infection, but merely reduce disease at low challenge doses. M2-specific Abs fail to protect from high challenge doses, as vaccinated mice undergo lethal infection under these conditions. In conclusion, protection mediated by M2-hepatitis B core vaccine would be insufficient during the yearly epidemics, for which full protection is desirable, and overall is clearly inferior to protection achieved by immunization with classical inactivated viral preparations.

Freer G, Giannecchini S, Tissot A, Bachmann MF, Rovero P, Serres PF, Bendinelli M. 2004. Dissection of seroreactivity against the tryptophan-rich motif of the feline immunodeficiency virus transmembrane glycoprotein. Virology, 322 (2), pp. 360-369. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunogenicity of the tryptophan-rich motif (TrpM) in the membrane-proximal ectodomain of the transmembrane (TM) glycoprotein of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) was investigated. Peptide 59, a peptide containing the TrpM of the TM of FIV, was covalently coupled to Qbeta phage virus-like particles (Qbeta-59) in the attempt to induce potent anti-TrpM B cell responses in cats. All Qbeta-59 immunized cats, but not cats that received a mixture of uncoupled Qbeta and peptide 59, developed antibodies that reacted with a same epitope in extensive binding and binding competition assays. The epitope recognized was composed of three amino acids, two of which are adjacent. However, Qbeta-59-immune sera failed to recognize whole FIV in all binding and neutralization assays performed. Furthermore, no reactivity against the TrpM was detected by screening sera from FIV-infected cats that had reacted with TM peptides, confirming that this epitope does not seem to be serologically functional in the FIV virion. The data suggest that TrpM may not be a suitable target for antiviral vaccine design.

Bachmann MF, Hunziker L, Zinkernagel RM, Storni T, Kopf M. 2004. Maintenance of memory CTL responses by T helper cells and CD40-CD40 ligand: antibodies provide the key. Eur J Immunol, 34 (2), pp. 317-326. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are essential for control of primary infections by many pathogens and in particular by non-cytopathic viruses. It has been proposed that long-term maintenance of CTL memory and control of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is dependent upon the presence of T helper cells and interaction of antigen-presenting cells and CTL via CD40 and its ligand CD40L. However, we demonstrate here that CD40-CD40L interaction maintains CTL memory by induction of virus-specific antibodies. In fact, loss of CTL memory responses and spread of virus in mice lacking CD40 or its ligand is prevented by repetitive therapeutic injections of LCMV-specific antibodies. This indicates that antibodies are essential for long-term control of non-cytopathic virus and to maintain protective memory. Transfer of neutralizing antibodies or induction of antibodies by therapeutic vaccination within weeks after infection may therefore prove beneficial for the treatment of chronic virus infections such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. See accompanying article

Piossek C, Thierauch K-H, Schneider-Mergener J, Volkmer-Engert R, Bachmann MF, Korff T, Augustin HG, Germeroth L. 2003. Potent inhibition of angiogenesis by D,L-peptides derived from vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2. Thromb Haemost, 90 (3), pp. 501-510. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent mitogen for endothelial cells and plays a central role in angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. Therefore, VEGF and its receptors VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 are prime targets for anti-angiogenic intervention which is thought to be one of the most promising approaches in cancer therapy. Recently, we have discovered a VEGFR-2-derived peptide ((247)RTELNVGIDFNWEYP(261)) representing a potential binding site to VEGF. Using the spot synthesis technique, systematic D-amino acid substitutional analyses of this peptide were conducted and the resulting D,L-peptides inhibit VEGF binding to VEGFR-2 at half maximal concentration of 30 nM. The serum-stable D,L-peptides further inhibited autophosphorylation of the VEGFR-2 at nanomolar concentrations. Testing of the peptides in a spheroid-based angiogenesis assay demonstrated a potent anti-angiogenic effect in vitro. The rational design of potent and stable anti-angiogenic peptide inhibitors from their parent receptors provides a feasible route to develop novel leads for anti-angiogenic medicines.

Storni T, Bachmann MF. 2003. On the role of APC-activation for in vitro versus in vivo T cell priming. Cell Immunol, 225 (1), pp. 1-11. | Show Abstract | Read more

Professional antigen-presenting cells take up antigens for processing and presentation in association with MHC class I and II molecules. When APCs receive the right stimuli, they undergo a maturation process and migrate to secondary lymphoid organs to trigger T cell activation. In this study, we compared side-by-side in vivo and in vitro activation of T cells. Transgenic CD8(+) T cells specific for the p33 epitope, derived from the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus glycoprotein, were labeled with CFSE and injected into syngeneic mice or alternatively, co-cultured in vitro with APCs. The p33 epitope was delivered as free peptide or genetically fused to virus-like particles. Whereas proliferation of specific T cells was comparable in both systems, the production of IFN-gamma and the expression of CD25 showed important differences. Induction of effector function and expression of activation markers were strongly enhanced in vitro by both the free peptide and VLPs. Surprisingly, addition of CpG-containing immune-stimulating DNA for activation of APCs dramatically increased effector T cell differentiation in vitro, whereas no enhancement could be observed in vitro. Thus, activation of professional APCs was mandatory for induction of effector CD8(+) T cell responses in vivo, while this step was largely dispensable in vitro.

Spohn G, Bachmann MF. 2003. Therapeutic vaccination to block receptor-ligand interactions. Expert Opin Biol Ther, 3 (3), pp. 469-476. | Show Abstract | Read more

Many chronic diseases are caused by non-physiological interactions of certain ligands with their receptors. Conventional treatment of these diseases with synthetic drugs or monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is efficient, but problematic due to the non-compliance of patients and the risk of adverse side effects. Novel therapeutic approaches are focusing on strategies of active immunisation aimed at the induction of a humoral immune response directed against the deleterious receptor-ligand interaction. Autoantibody production has been achieved by several vaccine formulations, including conjugates of self-antigens to foreign T helper (Th) cell epitopes, virus-like particles coated with self-antigens, and naked DNA vectors. All of these approaches have the potential to be developed for clinical use if important safety issues, related to the possible long-term presence of self-reactive antibodies in the serum of vaccinated individuals and the risk of undesired T cell responses, can be properly addressed.

Schwarz K, Storni T, Manolova V, Didierlaurent A, Sirard J-C, Röthlisberger P, Bachmann MF. 2003. Role of Toll-like receptors in costimulating cytotoxic T cell responses. Eur J Immunol, 33 (6), pp. 1465-1470. | Show Abstract | Read more

Stimulation of Toll-like receptors (TLR) by pathogen-derived compounds leads to activation of APC, facilitating the induction of protective immunity. This phenomenon is the basis of most adjuvant formulations currently in development. Here, we tested the ability of TLR2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 signaling to enhance CTL responses upon vaccination with virus-like particles. Stimulation of TLR2 and 4 failed to increase CTL responses, whereas ligands for TLR3, 5 and 7 exhibited moderate adjuvant function. In contrast, stimulation of TLR9 dramatically increased CTL responses, indicating that ligands for TLR9 are likely to be the most promising candidates for the development of novel adjuvant formulations for stimulating CTL responses.

Boorsma M, Saudan P, Pfruender H, Bailey JE, Schlesinger S, Renner WA, Bachmann MF. 2003. Alphavirus cDNA-based expression vectors: effects of RNA transcription and nuclear export. Biotechnol Bioeng, 81 (5), pp. 553-562. | Show Abstract | Read more

The construction of layered DNA-RNA replicons has facilitated and expanded the use of alphavirus vectors to vaccine development, construction of packaging cell lines and long-term heterologous gene expression. In these vector systems, the alphavirus replicon is under the control of a strong RNA polymerase II promoter and replicon RNA is transcribed from DNA before transport to the cytoplasm. Efficient RNA amplification catalyzed by the viral replicase results in high levels of mRNA and the recombinant protein. Recently, we developed a temperature-regulated Sindbis replicon-based DNA expression system characterized by a linear increase of expression upon decrease of the temperature from 37 degrees C to 29 degrees C. Modifications known to affect transcription and nuclear export of RNA led to a 5-fold increase in expression in BHK cells and up to over 80-fold increase in CHO cells and BF fibroblasts in transient transfection experiments. Furthermore, reducing cell proliferation resulted in a further 2- to 3-fold higher expression. While increased expression per cell was responsible for some of the enhanced production, it was primarily the number of expressing cells that made the difference in most cell lines. Further experiments indicated that a threshold amount of replicon RNA had to reach the cytoplasm in order for replication to occur. Thus, alterations that improve transcription, nuclear export and stability of the RNA had a significant impact on protein production in the pCytTS expression system and probably in other layered DNA-based viral vectors. Furthermore the results indicate that RNA replication is differentially regulated in DNA layered RNA replicons versus viral infection.

Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2002. Immunotherapies: cause for measured optimism. Drug Discov Today, 7 (19), pp. 994-996. | Read more

Boorsma M, Hoenke S, Marrero A, Fischer R, Bailey JE, Renner WA, Bachmann MF. 2002. Bioprocess applications of a Sindbis virus-based temperature-inducible expression system. Biotechnol Bioeng, 79 (6), pp. 602-609. | Show Abstract | Read more

The production and study of toxic proteins requires inducible expression systems with low basal level expression and high inducibility. Here, we describe bioprocess applications of the pCytTS temperature-regulatable Sindbis virus replicon-based expression system. We used green fluorescent protein as a marker protein to optimize the selection of stable transfected clones with increased expression levels. Using the optimized protocol, clones were constructed that produced the growth-inhibiting, anti-viral protein interferon beta (beta-IFN). Selected clones were analyzed for temperature-dependent beta-IFN production in adherent and suspension cultures in serum free medium. Specific expression levels were around 1.0 x 10(5) IU/10(6) cells/day (0.5 microg/10(6) cells/day) in suspension cultures and over 1.5 x 10(6) IU/mL/day (7.5 microg/mL/day) in hollow fiber reactors using adherent cells. Hexahistidine-tagged beta-IFN purified from T-flask cultures was highly glycosylated and showed high specific activity. beta-IFN mRNA amplified by the viral replicase for 10 days did not show an accumulation of mutations. These data suggest the applicability of the pCytTS-inducible expression system for the production of high-quality glycoproteins in different reactors.

Jegerlehner A, Tissot A, Lechner F, Sebbel P, Erdmann I, Kündig T, Bächi T, Storni T, Jennings G, Pumpens P et al. 2002. A molecular assembly system that renders antigens of choice highly repetitive for induction of protective B cell responses. Vaccine, 20 (25-26), pp. 3104-3112. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus like particles (VLPs) are known to induce potent B cell responses in the absence of adjuvants. Moreover, epitope-specific antibody responses may be induced by VLPs that contain peptides inserted in their immunodominant regions. However, due to steric problems, the size of the peptides capable of being incorporated into VLPs while still permitting capsid assembly, is rather limited. While peptides genetically fused to either the N- or C-terminus of VLPs present fewer assembly problems, the immune responses obtained against such epitopes are often limited, most likely because the epitopes are not optimally exposed. In addition, such particles may be less stable in vivo. Here, we show that peptides and proteins engineered to contain a free cys can be chemically coupled to VLPs formed from the hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) containing a lys in the immuno-dominant region. By using this approach steric hindrance of capsid assembly is abrogated. Peptides or protein coupled to VLPs in an oriented fashion are shown to induce strong and protective B cell responses even against self-epitopes in the absence of adjuvants. This molecular assembly system may be used to induce strong B cell responses against most antigens.

Kopf M, Brombacher F, Bachmann MF. 2002. Role of IgM antibodies versus B cells in influenza virus-specific immunity. Eur J Immunol, 32 (8), pp. 2229-2236. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have compared the role of IgM antibodies with the role of B cells in control of primary influenza virus infection. Mice deficient in IgM (IgM(-/-)), but capable of producing other Igisotypes, exhibited increased pulmonary virus titers compared to wild-type mice. However, IgM(-/-) mice were less susceptible compared to B cell-deficient micro MT) mice. CD4(+) T cells from spleen and lung draining lymph nodes of infected micro MT mice showed reduced proliferation upon virus re-stimulation in vitro. Furthermore, numbers of IFN-gamma-producing CD4(+) effector T cells were reduced in the alveolar lavage (BAL) of micro MT mice but not IgM(-/-) mice. In contrast, total number of virus-specific CTL was almost comparable in BAL of micro MT and wild-type mice. Pulmonary recruitment of inflammatory macrophages and neutrophils occurred normally in both micro MT and IgM(-/-) mice. Interestingly, virus-specific IgG2a and IgG2b antibody responses were affected locally in the BAL and in the serum of IgM(-/-) mice, while IgG1 responses remained largely normal. Taken together, our data suggest a role for B cells to promote effector T cell responses and a role of both IgM and IgG antibodies in the defense against acute influenza virus infection.

Bachmann MF, Kopf M. 2002. Balancing protective immunity and immunopathology. Curr Opin Immunol, 14 (4), pp. 413-419. | Show Abstract | Read more

The immune system is fighting a constant war against pathogens in its own territory. This requires a potent arsenal for efficient control of pathogens but also requires tight regulatory mechanisms in order to avoid excessive collateral damage. Maintaining equilibrium is the daily challenge of the immune system. Interactions between pathogens, antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and lymphocytes are critical in this balancing act. Of particular importance for the generation of protective immune responses is the induction of activation programs in APCs directly by pathogens or by T cell derived factors, such as CD40L, RANKL or cytokines. In order to counterbalance overshooting immune responses, T cells and APCs secrete anti-inflammatory cytokines that are key for maintaining a healthy balance between protection and immunopathology.

Kopf M, Abel B, Gallimore A, Carroll M, Bachmann MF. 2002. Complement component C3 promotes T-cell priming and lung migration to control acute influenza virus infection. Nat Med, 8 (4), pp. 373-378. | Show Abstract | Read more

The complement cascade defines an important link between the innate and the specific immune system. Here we show that mice deficient for the third component of complement (C3-/- mice) are highly susceptible to primary infection with influenza virus. C3-/- mice showed delayed viral clearance and increased viral titers in lung, whereas mice deficient for complement receptors CR1 and CR2 (Cr2-/- mice) cleared the infection normally. Priming of T-helper cells and cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) in lung-draining lymph nodes was reduced, and the recruitment into the lung of virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ effector T cells producing interferon-gamma was severely impaired in C3-/- but not in Cr2-/- mice. Consequently, T-helper cell-dependent IgG responses were reduced in C3-/- mice but remained intact in Cr2-/- mice. These results demonstrate that complement induces specific immunity by promoting T-cell responses.

Storni T, Lechner F, Erdmann I, Bächi T, Jegerlehner A, Dumrese T, Kündig TM, Ruedl C, Bachmann MF. 2002. Critical role for activation of antigen-presenting cells in priming of cytotoxic T cell responses after vaccination with virus-like particles. J Immunol, 168 (6), pp. 2880-2886. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are known to induce strong Ab responses in the absence of adjuvants. In addition, VLPs are able to prime CTL responses in vivo. To study the efficiency of this latter process, we fused peptide p33 derived from lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus to the hepatitis B core Ag, which spontaneously assembles into VLPs (p33-VLPs). These p33-VLPs were efficiently processed in vitro and in vivo for MHC class I presentation. Nevertheless, p33-VLPs induced weak CTL responses that failed to mediate effective protection from viral challenge. However, if APCs were activated concomitantly in vivo using either anti-CD40 Abs or CpG oligonucleotides, the CTL responses induced were fully protective against infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus or recombinant vaccinia virus. Moreover, these CTL responses were comparable to responses generally induced by live vaccines, because they could be measured in primary ex vivo (51)Cr release assays. Thus, while VLPs alone are inefficient at inducing CTL responses, they become very powerful vaccines if applied together with substances that activate APCs.



European Pubmed Central

Lechner F, Jegerlehner A, Tissot AC, Maurer P, Sebbel P, Renner WA, Jennings GT, Bachmann MF. 2002. Virus-like particles as a modular system for novel vaccines. Intervirology, 45 (4-6), pp. 212-217. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction of protective immune responses with recombinant antigens is a major challenge for the vaccine industry. Here we present a molecular assembly system that renders antigens of choice highly repetitive. Using this method, efficient antibody responses may be induced in the absence of adjuvants resulting in protection from viral infection and allergic reactions.

Ruedl C, Storni T, Lechner F, Bächi T, Bachmann MF. 2002. Cross-presentation of virus-like particles by skin-derived CD8(-) dendritic cells: a dispensable role for TAP. Eur J Immunol, 32 (3), pp. 818-825. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus-like particles (VLP) induce efficient CTL responses although they do not carry any genetic information. Here, we analyzed MHC class I associated presentation of VLP-derived CTL-epitopes in vivo. After intradermal injection of VLP containing the immunodominant epitope (p33) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (p33-VLP), presentation of peptide p33 in draining lymph nodes was largely restricted to CD8(-) skin-derived dendritic cells (DC). Surprisingly, and in contrast to findings with tumor cells, TAP1-deficient DC and macrophages mediated efficient cross-presentation of VLP-derived p33 in vivo and in vitro. However, the ability of TAP1-deficient DC to cross-present p33-VLP was reduced compared to wild-type DC, indicating that in DC, both TAP-dependent and TAP-independent pathways were operative. In contrast, macrophages cross-presented p33-VLP normally in the absence of TAP. The TAP-dependent pathway of cross-presentation is therefore confined to DC while both macrophages and DC harbor the TAP-independent pathway. In summary, the results show that VLP-derived epitopes are cross-presented by CD8(-) DC in vivo in a partial TAP-independent fashion and highlight important differences in the processing machinery of DC versus macrophages.

Nguyen LT, Bachmann MF, Ohashi PS. 2002. Contribution of LCMV transgenic models to understanding T lymphocyte development, activation, tolerance, and autoimmunity. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol, 263 pp. 119-143. | Read more

Bachmann MF, Kopf M. 2001. On the role of the innate immunity in autoimmune disease. J Exp Med, 193 (12), pp. F47-F50. | Read more

Bachmann MF, Jennings GT. 2001. Challenges and new approaches for the vaccine industry. Drug Discov Today, 6 (11), pp. 566-568. | Read more




Bachmann MF, Gallimore A, Jones E, Ecabert B, Acha-Orbea H, Kopf M. 2001. Normal pathogen-specific immune responses mounted by CTLA-4-deficient T cells: a paradigm reconsidered. European journal of immunology, 31 (2), pp. 450-458. | Show Abstract | Read more

CTLA-4 is a critical negative regulator of T cell responses and CTLA-4-deficient (CTLA-4(-/-)) mice die of a lymphproliferative disease. Nevertheless, RAG-2-deficient mice reconstituted with a mixture of CTLA-4(-/-) and normal (CTLA-4(+/+)) bone marrow survive in the absence of any signs of disease, although 50% of their T cells do not express CTLA-4. Using such mixed chimeras, we analyzed the role of CTLA-4 in specific T cell responses to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Leishmania major and mouse mammary tumor virus, which cause acute, chronic and persistent infections, respectively. The populations of antigen-specific CTLA-4(-/-)CD4(+) and CTLA-4(-/-)CD8(+) T cells became activated, expanded and contracted indistinguishably from CTLA-4(+/+)CD4(+) and CTLA-4(+/+)CD8(+) T cells after infection with all three pathogens. Thus, CTLA-4 is not involved in the down-regulation of specific T cell responses and peripheral deletion in a T cell-autonomous fashion.

Bachmann MF, Gallimore A, Jones E, Ecabert B, Acha-Orbea H, Kopf M. 2001. Normal pathogen-specific immune responses mounted by CTLA-4-deficient T cells: a paradigm reconsidered. Eur J Immunol, 31 (2), pp. 450-458. | Show Abstract | Read more

CTLA-4 is a critical negative regulator of T cell responses and CTLA-4-deficient (CTLA-4(-/-)) mice die of a lymphproliferative disease. Nevertheless, RAG-2-deficient mice reconstituted with a mixture of CTLA-4(-/-) and normal (CTLA-4(+/+)) bone marrow survive in the absence of any signs of disease, although 50% of their T cells do not express CTLA-4. Using such mixed chimeras, we analyzed the role of CTLA-4 in specific T cell responses to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Leishmania major and mouse mammary tumor virus, which cause acute, chronic and persistent infections, respectively. The populations of antigen-specific CTLA-4(-/-)CD4(+) and CTLA-4(-/-)CD8(+) T cells became activated, expanded and contracted indistinguishably from CTLA-4(+/+)CD4(+) and CTLA-4(+/+)CD8(+) T cells after infection with all three pathogens. Thus, CTLA-4 is not involved in the down-regulation of specific T cell responses and peripheral deletion in a T cell-autonomous fashion.

Koller D, Ruedl C, Loetscher M, Vlach J, Oehen S, Oertle K, Schirinzi M, Deneuve E, Moser R, Kopf M et al. 2001. A high-throughput alphavirus-based expression cloning system for mammalian cells. Nat Biotechnol, 19 (9), pp. 851-855. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have developed a widely applicable functional genomics strategy based on alphavirus expression vectors. The technology allows for rapid identification of genes encoding a functional activity such as binding of a defined ligand. Complementary DNA (cDNA) libraries were expressed in mammalian cells following infection with recombinant Sindbis virus (SIN replicon particles), a member of the Alphavirus genus. Virus-infected cells that specifically bound a ligand of choice were isolated using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Replication-competent, infective SIN replicon particles harboring the corresponding cDNA were amplified in a next step. Within one round of selection, viral clones encoding proteins recognized by monoclonal antibodies or Fc-fusion molecules could be isolated and sequenced. Moreover, using the same viral libraries, a plaque-lift assay was established that allowed the identification of secreted, intracellular, and membrane proteins.

Zinkernagel RM, LaMarre A, Ciurea A, Hunziker L, Ochsenbein AF, McCoy KD, Fehr T, Bachmann MF, Kalinke U, Hengartner H. 2001. Neutralizing antiviral antibody responses. Adv Immunol, 79 pp. 1-53. | Read more

Ruedl C, Koebel P, Bachmann M, Hess M, Karjalainen K. 2000. Anatomical origin of dendritic cells determines their life span in peripheral lymph nodes. J Immunol, 165 (9), pp. 4910-4916. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dendritic cells (DCs) exhibit considerable heterogeneity in their anatomical location, surface phenotype, and functional properties. In this study, we demonstrate that peripheral lymph nodes contain at least four major, functionally separable, and independently derived, DC subsets, which can be clearly demarcated by their CD11c, CD40, and CD8 expression pattern. Surprisingly, all DCs derived directly from the bone marrow, the myeloid- and the lymphoid-related subsets, turned over fast with t(1/2) of a couple of days. In contrast, DCs exported from the skin, both dermal and epidermal, accumulated 3- to 4-fold slower, turnover that is dramatically increased by cutaneous inflammation.

Kopf M, Coyle AJ, Schmitz N, Barner M, Oxenius A, Gallimore A, Gutierrez-Ramos JC, Bachmann MF. 2000. Inducible costimulator protein (ICOS) controls T helper cell subset polarization after virus and parasite infection. J Exp Med, 192 (1), pp. 53-61. | Show Abstract | Read more

It has been shown that certain pathogens can trigger efficient T cell responses in the absence of CD28, a key costimulatory receptor expressed on resting T cells. Inducible costimulator protein (ICOS) is an inducible costimulator structurally and functionally related to CD28. Here, we show that in the absence of CD28 both T helper cell type 1 (Th1) and Th2 responses were impaired but not abrogated after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), and the nematode Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. Inhibition of ICOS in CD28-deficient mice further reduced Th1/Th2 polarization. Blocking of ICOS alone had a limited but significant capacity to downregulate Th subset development. In contrast, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses, which are regulated to a minor and major extent by CD28 after LCMV and VSV infection, respectively, remained unaffected by blocking ICOS. Together, our results demonstrate that ICOS regulates both CD28-dependent and CD28-independent CD4(+) subset (Th1 and Th2) responses but not CTL responses in vivo.

Ruedl C, Bachmann MF, Kopf M. 2000. The antigen dose determines T helper subset development by regulation of CD40 ligand. Eur J Immunol, 30 (7), pp. 2056-2064. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although the amount of antigen and the strength of T cell stimulation have been suggested to regulate Th1 vs. Th2 polarization, it remains unclear how the antigen dose and the strength of signal is detected by the T cell and translated into differential cytokine production. Using co-cultures of dendritic cells (DC) and ovalbumin (OVA)-specific CD4+ T cells obtained from RAG-2)(-/-) DO11.10 mice, we show here that high-dose antigen induced Th1 development by up-regulation of CD40 ligand (CD40L), whereas low-dose antigen stimulation failed to induce CD40L and promoted Th2 development. CD40-CD40L interaction was essential for IL-12 production by DC. In the absence, de novo IL-4 production by T cells and autocrine Th2 development was induced. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that LFA-1/ ICAM interaction promotes Th1 differentiation by lowering the antigen dose required for CD40L up-regulation. Thus, we propose that (1) peptide-MHC density and (2) accessory molecules such as LFA-1 determine T helper polarization by regulation of CD40L.

Karrer U, López-Macías C, Oxenius A, Odermatt B, Bachmann MF, Kalinke U, Bluethmann H, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 2000. Antiviral B cell memory in the absence of mature follicular dendritic cell networks and classical germinal centers in TNFR1-/- mice. J Immunol, 164 (2), pp. 768-778. | Show Abstract | Read more

TNFR1-/- mice have been shown to lack networks of mature follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) and they do not form germinal centers. With nonreplicating Ags, IgG titers were inefficiently induced and not maintained. In this study, the neutralizing Ab response and the establishment of B cell memory in TNFR1-/- mice after infection with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) were analyzed histologically and functionally. Immunization with VSV-derived protein Ags without adjuvant induced only IgM but no IgG Abs in TNFR1-/- mice, whereas VSV glycoprotein emulsified in CFA or IFA induced IgM and IgG responses that were short-lived and of moderate titer. However, infection with live VSV induced excellent neutralizing IgM and IgG responses in TNFR1-/- mice, and adoptively transferable B cell memory was generated and persisted for more than 300 days. In contrast, IgG levels and Ab-forming cells in the bone marrow declined within 300 days by 90-95% compared with controls. These findings suggest that 1) increased Ag dose and time of Ag availability can substitute for FDC-stored Ab-complexed Ag in the induction of efficient IgG responses in TNFR1-/- mice devoid of classical germinal centers; 2) the induction and maintenance of adoptively transferable B cell memory can occur in the absence of Ag bound to mature FDCs; and 3) the long-term maintenance of elevated IgG titers is largely dependent on FDC-associated persisting Ag. However, about 5-10% of the Ab production remained in the absence of detectable persisting Ag in TNFR1-/- mice, probably either due to immature FDCs being partially functional and/or due to long-lived plasma cells.

Blaser C, Renner WA, Bachmann MF. 2000. Cytos Biotechnology AG - Novel technologies for functional genomics and antibody mediated therapies CHIMIA, 54 (4), pp. 165-168.

van Den Broek M, Bachmann MF, Köhler G, Barner M, Escher R, Zinkernagel R, Kopf M. 2000. IL-4 and IL-10 antagonize IL-12-mediated protection against acute vaccinia virus infection with a limited role of IFN-gamma and nitric oxide synthetase 2. J Immunol, 164 (1), pp. 371-378. | Show Abstract | Read more

Resistance or susceptibility to most infectious diseases is strongly determined by the balance of type 1 vs type 2 cytokines produced during infection. However, for viruses, this scheme may be applicable only to infections with some cytopathic viruses, where IFN-gamma is considered as mandatory for host defense with little if any participation of type 2 responses. We studied the role of signature Th1 (IL-12, IFN-gamma) and Th2 (IL-4, IL-10) cytokines for immune responses against vaccinia virus (VV). IL-12-/- mice were far more susceptible than IFN-gamma-/- mice, and primary CTL responses against VV were absent in IL-12-/- mice but remained intact in IFN-gamma-/- mice. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from IL-12-/- mice were unimpaired in IFN-gamma production, although CD4+ T cells showed elevated Th2 cytokine responses. Virus replication was impaired in IL-4-/- mice and, even more strikingly, in IL-10-/- mice, which both produced elevated levels of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1alpha and IL-6. Thus, IL-4 produced by Th2 cells and IL-10 produced by Th2 cells and probably also by macrophages counteract efficient anti-viral host defense. Surprisingly, NO production, which is considered as a major type 1 effector pathway inhibited by type 2 cytokines, appears to play a limited role against VV, because NO sythetase 2-deficient mice did not show increased viral replication. Thus, our results identify a new role for IL-12 in defense beyond the induction of IFN-gamma and show that IL-4 and IL-10 modulate host protective responses to VV.

Boorsma M, Nieba L, Koller D, Bachmann MF, Bailey JE, Renner WA. 2000. A temperature-regulated replicon-based DNA expression system. Nat Biotechnol, 18 (4), pp. 429-432. | Show Abstract | Read more

We present a temperature-regulated, alphavirus replicon-based DNA expression system. The system is regulated by a viral temperature-sensitive RNA-dependent RNA replicase, creating a temperature-dependent RNA amplification loop. Because of this positive feedback, the system exhibits both low background and high inducibility. We observed 700-fold induction in transiently transfected cells, and over 104-fold induction in stably transfected cells. The high stringency of inducibility allowed the generation of stable cell lines expressing a highly toxic protein upon temperature shift. These data suggest that the present expression system could simplify bioprocess engineering strategies, especially in situations where the cloned protein has detrimental effects on host cell metabolism.




Passer B, Pellegrini L, Russo C, Siegel RM, Lenardo MJ, Schettini G, Bachmann M, Tabaton M, D'Adamio L. 2000. Generation of an Apoptotic Intracellular Peptide by γ-Secretase Cleavage of Alzheimer's Amyloid ß Protein Precursor Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2 (3-4), pp. 289-301. | Show Abstract | Read more

The amyloid β protein precursor (AβPP) is sequentially processed by β- and γ-secretases to generate the Aβ peptide. The biochemical path leading to Aβ formation has been extensively studied since extracellular aggregates of amyloidogenic forms of Aβ peptide (Aβ42) are considered the culprit of Alzheimer's disease. Aside from its pathological relevance, the biological role of AβPP proteolysis is unknown. Although never previously described, cleavage of AβPP by γ-secretase should release, together with Aβ, a COOH-terminal AβPP Intracellular Domain, herein termed AID. We have now identified AID-like peptides in brain tissue of normal control and patients with sporadic Alzheimer's disease and demonstrate that AID acts as a positive regulator of apoptosis. Thus, overproduction of AID may add to toxic effect of Aβ42 aggregates and further accelerate neurodegeneration.

Kopf M, Ruedl C, Schmitz N, Gallimore A, Lefrang K, Ecabert B, Odermatt B, Bachmann MF. 1999. OX40-deficient mice are defective in Th cell proliferation but are competent in generating B cell and CTL Responses after virus infection. Immunity, 11 (6), pp. 699-708. | Show Abstract | Read more

OX40, a member of the TNF receptor superfamily, is expressed on activated T cells and implicated in stimulation of T cells and T-dependent humoral responses. We generated OX40-/- mice and found that the formation of extrafollicular plasma cells, germinal centers, and antibody responses was independent of OX40. After infection with LCMV and influenza virus, OX40-/- mice retain primary and memory cytotoxic T cell responses with normal expansion and decline of specific CTL. In contrast, CD4+ T cell proliferation and the number of IFN-gamma-producing CD4+ T cells were reduced in OX40-/- mice. Moreover, the number of CD4+ T cells infiltrating the lungs of influenza virus-infected OX40-/- mice was reduced. These results define a unique role of OX40 in the generation of optimal CD4+ T cell responses in vivo.

Bachmann MF, Ohashi PS. 1999. The role of T-cell receptor dimerization in T-cell activation. Immunol Today, 20 (12), pp. 568-576. | Show Abstract | Read more

T-cell specificity is encoded in single T-cell receptors (TCRs) but monovalent interactions with peptide bound to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) may not sufficiently account for the complexities associated with T-cell activation. This review proposes that TCRs undergo dimerization before activation and that this property might be essential for both T-cell antagonism and T-cell specificity, and may be pivotal for T-cell survival versus T-cell activation.

Bachmann MF, Barner M, Kopf M. 1999. CD2 sets quantitative thresholds in T cell activation. J Exp Med, 190 (10), pp. 1383-1392. | Show Abstract | Read more

It has been proposed that CD2, which is highly expressed on T cells, serves to enhance T cell-antigen presenting cell (APC) adhesion and costimulate T cell activation. Here we analyzed the role of CD2 using CD2-deficient mice crossed with transgenic mice expressing a T cell receptor specific for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-derived peptide p33. We found that absence of CD2 on T cells shifted the p33-specific dose-response curve in vitro by a factor of 3-10. In comparison, stimulation of T cells in the absence of lymphocyte function-associated antigen (LFA)-1-intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 interaction shifted the dose-response curve by a factor of 10, whereas absence of both CD2-CD48 and LFA-1-ICAM-1 interactions shifted the response by a factor of approximately 100. This indicates that CD2 and LFA-1 facilitate T cell activation additively. T cell activation at low antigen density was blocked at its very first steps, as T cell APC conjugate formation, TCR triggering, and Ca(2+) fluxes were affected by the absence of CD2. In vivo, LCMV-specific, CD2-deficient T cells proliferated normally upon infection with live virus but responded in a reduced fashion upon cross-priming. Thus, CD2 sets quantitative thresholds and fine-tunes T cell activation both in vitro and in vivo.

Ruedl C, Bachmann MF. 1999. CTL priming by CD8(+) and CD8(-) dendritic cells in vivo. Eur J Immunol, 29 (11), pp. 3762-3767. | Show Abstract | Read more

Two distinct developmental pathways are driving the formation of myeloid- and lymphoid-related dendritic cells (DC) which differ in anatomical localization and phenotype. In terms of function, it has been hypothesized that only the myeloid-related CD8(-) DC are able to initiate immune responses, whereas the lymphoid-related CD8(+) DC have been suggested to induce tolerance. Here we show that both subsets activate CD8(+) T cells in vitro and induce protective anti-viral CTL responses in vivo. Thus, vaccine strategies using peptide-pulsed DC do not have to take into account DC subsets for priming.

DeBenedette MA, Wen T, Bachmann MF, Ohashi PS, Barber BH, Stocking KL, Peschon JJ, Watts TH. 1999. Analysis of 4-1BB ligand (4-1BBL)-deficient mice and of mice lacking both 4-1BBL and CD28 reveals a role for 4-1BBL in skin allograft rejection and in the cytotoxic T cell response to influenza virus. J Immunol, 163 (9), pp. 4833-4841. | Show Abstract

4-1BB ligand (4-1BBL) is a member of the TNF family expressed on activated APC. 4-1BBL binds to 4-1BB (CD137) on activated CD4 and CD8 T cells and in conjunction with strong signals through the TCR provides a CD28-independent costimulatory signal leading to high level IL-2 production by primary resting T cells. Here we report the immunological characterization of mice lacking 4-1BBL and of mice lacking both 4-1BBL and CD28. 4-1BBL-/- mice mount neutralizing IgM and IgG responses to vesicular stomatitis virus that are indistinguishable from those of wild-type mice. 4-1BBL-/- mice show unimpaired CTL responses to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and exhibit normal skin allograft rejection but have a weaker CTL response to influenza virus than wild-type mice. 4-1BBL-/-CD28-/- mice retain the CTL response to LCMV, respond poorly to influenza virus, and exhibit a delay in skin allograft rejection. In agreement with these in vivo results, allogeneic CTL responses of CD28-/- but not CD28+/+ T cells to 4-1BBL-expressing APC are substantially inhibited by soluble 4-1BB receptor as is the in vitro secondary response of CD28+ T cells to influenza virus peptides. TCR-transgenic CD28-/- LCMV glycoprotein-specific T cells are insensitive to the presence of 4-1BBL when a wild-type peptide is used, but the response to a weak agonist peptide is greatly augmented by the presence of 4-1BBL. These results further substantiate the idea that different immune responses vary in their dependence on costimulation and suggest a role for 4-1BBL in augmenting suboptimal CTL responses in vivo.

Marmor MD, Bachmann MF, Ohashi PS, Malek TR, Julius M. 1999. Immobilization of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins inhibits T cell growth but not function. Int Immunol, 11 (9), pp. 1381-1393. | Show Abstract | Read more

Accumulating evidence suggests that proteins tethered to the plasma membrane through glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors share common biological properties. In the present study we demonstrate that GPI-anchored proteins regulate T cell growth. Specifically, anti-TCR-induced proliferation was profoundly inhibited by co-immobilized mAb specific for Thy-1, CD48 and Ly6A/E. However, neither IL-2 production nor the effector function of cytotoxic T lymphocytes was impaired in these circumstances. Analysis of the IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) signaling pathway revealed that the association of IL-2R beta and gamma chains with the Janus kinases, JAK1 and JAK3, was not perturbed in the presence of mAb specific for GPI-linked proteins. However, in these conditions, IL-2-mediated recruitment of IL-2Ralpha, beta and gamma chains, resulting in the formation of the high-affinity hetero-trimeric IL-2R, was inhibited. The resulting phosphorylation of JAK1 and JAK3, indicative of their activation states, was correspondingly reduced. These results characterize a novel state of T cell physiology in which effector function is maintained, in the absence of clonal expansion. A physiological role for GPI-anchored proteins in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and function is discussed.

Bachmann MF, Köhler G, Ecabert B, Mak TW, Kopf M. 1999. Cutting edge: lymphoproliferative disease in the absence of CTLA-4 is not T cell autonomous. J Immunol, 163 (3), pp. 1128-1131. | Show Abstract

Mice deficient for the expression of CTLA-4 develop a lethal lymphoproliferative syndrome and multiorgan inflammation leading to death at about 4 wk of age. Here we show that RAG2-deficient mice reconstituted with CTLA-4-deficient bone marrow do not develop a lymphoproliferative syndrome despite lymphocyte infiltration mainly into pericardium and liver. Moreover, RAG2-deficient mice reconstituted with a mixture of normal and CTLA-4-deficient bone marrow remain healthy and do not develop any disease. Thus, the lethal disease observed in CTLA-4-deficient mice is not T cell autonomous and can be prevented by factors produced by normal T cells.

Bachmann MF, Speiser DE, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1999. Absence of co-stimulation and not the intensity of TCR signaling is critical for the induction of T cell unresponsiveness in vivo. Eur J Immunol, 29 (7), pp. 2156-2166. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding the mechanisms of T cell activation versus induction of unresponsiveness is of critical importance for the rational modulation of immune responses. Efficient T cell activation is critical for vaccination purposes, while the inhibition of T cell responses is potentially important for the ablation of autoimmune diseases. Modulation of co-stimulation and changing TCR-mediated signaling using altered peptide ligands (APL) have been shown to result in clonal T cell unresponsiveness. This study compares for the first time the efficiency of the two approaches for the induction of CD8+ T cell unresponsiveness in vivo for naive and memory T cells using TCR-transgenic mice. The results demonstrate that inhibition of CD28-mediated co-stimulation in the presence of a strong TCR-mediated signal most efficiently induces T cell unresponsiveness. In contrast, APL that are capable of weak TCR triggering fail to interfere with T cell responsiveness in vivo and are ignored by T cells. Thus, short-term blockage of CD28 during antigenic stimulation rather than the use of APL is the most promising way to actively down-modulate responsiveness of naive CD8+ T cells at least in the particular TCR-transgenic mouse model analyzed in this study.

Bachmann MF, Nitschke L, Krawczyk C, Tedford K, Ohashi PS, Fischer KD, Penninger JM. 1999. The guanine-nucleotide exchange factor Vav is a crucial regulator of B cell receptor activation and B cell responses to nonrepetitive antigens. J Immunol, 163 (1), pp. 137-142. | Show Abstract

The proto-oncogene product Vav is required for receptor clustering, proliferation, and differentiation of T cells, and Vav was identified as a substrate in the TCR and B cell receptor signaling pathway. The role of Vav in B cell responses to Ag challenge in vivo is not known. In this study, we show that Vav regulates B cell proliferation following in vitro activation of Ag receptors, but Vav has no apparent role in CD40-, IL-4-, or LPS-induced B cell activation. Increased degrees of Ag receptor cross-linking can partially reverse the proliferative defect in the anti-IgM response of vav-/- B cells. In vivo, vav-/- mice mounted protective antiviral IgM and IgG responses to infections with vesicular stomatitis virus and recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein, which harbor repetitive surface epitopes that directly cross-link the Ag receptor and activate B cells in the absence of T cell help. vav-/- B cells also responded normally to the polyvalent, repetitive hapten Ag trinitrophenyl (TNP)-Ficoll that effectively cross-links B cell receptors. However, vav-/- mice failed to mount immune responses to the nonrepetitive, T cell-dependent hapten Ag (4-hydroxy-5-iodo-3-nitrophenyl)acetyl (NIP)-OVA. These results provide the first genetic evidence on the role of the guanine exchange factor Vav in immune responses to viral infections and antigenic challenge in vivo, and suggest that Vav adjusts the threshold for Ag receptor-mediated B cell activation depending on the nature of the Ag.

Ruedl C, Kopf M, Bachmann MF. 1999. CD8(+) T cells mediate CD40-independent maturation of dendritic cells in vivo. J Exp Med, 189 (12), pp. 1875-1884. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against minor histocompatibility antigens is dependent upon the presence of T cell help and requires the interaction of CD40 on dendritic cells (DCs) with CD40 ligand on activated T helper cells (Th). This study demonstrates that CD40 is neither involved in Th-dependent nor Th-independent antiviral CTL responses. Moreover, the data show that DC maturation occurs in vivo after viral infection in the absence of CD40 and Th. This maturation did not require viral infection of DCs but was mediated by peptide-specific CD8(+) T cells. Surprisingly, naive CD8(+) T cells were able to trigger DC maturation within 24 h after activation in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, peptide-activated CD8(+) T cells were able to induce maturation in trans, as DCs that failed to present the relevant antigen in vivo also underwent maturation. Upon isolation, the in vivo-stimulated DCs were able to convert a classically Th-dependent CTL response (anti-HY) into a Th-independent response in vitro. Thus, antiviral CD8(+) T cells are sufficient for the maturation of DCs in the absence of CD40.

Bachmann MF, Kopf M. 1999. The role of B cells in acute and chronic infections. Curr Opin Immunol, 11 (3), pp. 332-339. | Show Abstract | Read more

The important role of B cells in protection against secondary viral infections has been recognized for a long time. Recent evidence suggests that B cells are also critically involved in protective immune reactions classically attributed to T cells. Specifically, antibodies have been documented to protect from many primary viral and parasitic infections and to be indispensable for the control of latent viral infections. Current vaccine strategies should take into account this pivotal role of antibodies.

Bachmann MF, Ecabert B, Kopf M. 1999. Influenza virus: a novel method to assess viral and neutralizing antibody titers in vitro. J Immunol Methods, 225 (1-2), pp. 105-111. | Show Abstract | Read more

The present report describes novel in vitro assays to determine influenza virus titers and virus neutralizing antibody levels. For determination of viral titers, serial dilutions of influenza virus were incubated with MDCK-cells and cultured for 48 h under a methylcellulose overlay in 24 well plates. Cells were fixed, permeabilized and stained with a monoclonal antibody specific for hemagglutitin (HA) and a peroxidase labelled second stage antibody. The sensitivity of the assay was 100-1000 times greater than a conventional hemagglutination test using fresh chicken blood. For determination of influenza virus neutralizing activity, viral samples were incubated with serial dilutions of antibody and residual viral activity was assessed in 96 well plates by the same procedure as described above. This assay made it possible to distinguish between IgM and IgG antibody titers and was about 5-10 fold more sensitive than a classical hemagglutination inhibition assay using fresh chicken blood.

Bachmann MF, Gallimore A, Linkert S, Cerundolo V, Lanzavecchia A, Kopf M, Viola A. 1999. Developmental regulation of Lck targeting to the CD8 coreceptor controls signaling in naive and memory T cells. J Exp Med, 189 (10), pp. 1521-1530. | Show Abstract | Read more

The question of whether enhanced memory T cell responses are simply due to an increased frequency of specific cells or also to an improved response at the single cell level is widely debated. In this study, we analyzed T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic memory T cells and bona fide memory T cells isolated from virally infected normal mice using the tetramer technology. We found that memory T cells are qualitatively different from naive T cells due to a developmentally regulated rearrangement of the topology of the signaling machinery. In naive cytotoxic T cells, only a few CD8 molecules are associated with Lck and the kinase is homogeneously distributed inside the cell. However, in vivo priming of naive T cells induces the targeting of Lck to the CD8 coreceptor in the cell membrane and the consequent organization of a more efficient TCR signaling machinery in effector and memory cells.

Penninger JM, Fischer KD, Sasaki T, Kozieradzki I, Le J, Tedford K, Bachmaier K, Ohashi PS, Bachmann MF. 1999. The oncogene product Vav is a crucial regulator of primary cytotoxic T cell responses but has no apparent role in CD28-mediated co-stimulation. Eur J Immunol, 29 (5), pp. 1709-1718. | Show Abstract | Read more

The guanine nucleotide-exchange factor Vav is a regulator of antigen-mediated cytoskeletal reorganization required for receptor clustering, proliferation and thymic selection. Moreover, Vav has been identified as a major substrate in the CD28 signal transduction pathway and overexpression of Vav enhances TCR-mediated IL-2 secretion in T cells. Here we show that CD3- plus CD28-mediated proliferation and IL-2 production were reduced in vav gene-deficient T cells. However, Vav had no apparent role in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-plus CD28-mediated proliferation and IL-2 production, suggesting that Vav acts downstream of the TCR/CD3 complex. In vivo, Vav expression was crucial to generate primary vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-specific cytotoxic T cell responses. In contrast, vav-/- mice exhibited a reduced but significant footpad swelling after lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infections and mounted a measurable primary cytotoxic T cell response to LCMV. Upon in vitro restimulation, cytotoxic T cell responses of both VSV- and LCMV-infected mice reached near normal levels. Our data provide the first genetic evidence that Vav is an important effector molecule that relays antigen receptor signaling to IL-2 production and activation of cytotoxic T cells.

Bachmann MF, Wong BR, Josien R, Steinman RM, Oxenius A, Choi Y. 1999. TRANCE, a tumor necrosis factor family member critical for CD40 ligand-independent T helper cell activation. J Exp Med, 189 (7), pp. 1025-1031. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD40 ligand (CD40L), a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family member, plays a critical role in antigen-specific T cell responses in vivo. CD40L expressed on activated CD4(+) T cells stimulates antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells, resulting in the upregulation of costimulatory molecules and the production of various inflammatory cytokines required for CD4(+) T cell priming in vivo. However, CD40L- or CD40-deficient mice challenged with viruses mount protective CD4(+) T cell responses that produce normal levels of interferon gamma, suggesting a CD40L/CD40-independent mechanism of CD4(+) T cell priming that to date has not been elucidated. Here we show that CD4(+) T cell responses to viral infection were greatly diminished in CD40-deficient mice by administration of a soluble form of TNF-related activation-induced cytokine receptor (TRANCE-R) to inhibit the function of another TNF family member, TRANCE. Thus, the TRANCE/TRANCE-R interaction provides costimulation required for efficient CD4(+) T cell priming during viral infection in the absence of CD40L/CD40. These results also indicate that not even the potent inflammatory microenvironment induced by viral infections is sufficient to elicit efficient CD4(+) T cell priming without proper costimulation provided by the TNF family (CD40L or TRANCE). Moreover, the data suggest that TRANCE/TRANCE-R may be a novel and important target for immune intervention.

Ohteki T, Hessel A, Bachmann MF, Zakarian A, Sebzda E, Tsao MS, McKall-Faienza K, Odermatt B, Ohashi PS. 1999. Identification of a cross-reactive self ligand in virus-mediated autoimmunity. Eur J Immunol, 29 (9), pp. 2886-2896. | Show Abstract | Read more

Molecular mimicry has been considered to be one of the potential mechanisms underlying the induction of autoimmune diseases. Using a TCR-transgenic model specific for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) we have examined the potential for cross-reactive recognition of tissue-restricted self peptides. Several peptides were identified that were able to cross-react with the TCR-transgenic virus-specific T cells in vitro. One peptide was derived from dopamine beta-mono-oxygenase, an enzyme expressed in the adrenal medulla. Interestingly, after activation of the transgenic T cells with LCMV glycoprotein peptides or viruses, infiltration of the adrenal medulla was detected in conjunction with alterations in dopamine metabolism. However, complete destruction of the adrenal medulla was not observed. This suggests that molecular mimicry may be sufficient for self recognition and infiltration, but other factors clearly contribute to chronic autoimmune disease.

Cenci E, Mencacci A, Del Sero G, Bacci A, Montagnoli C, d'Ostiani CF, Mosci P, Bachmann M, Bistoni F, Kopf M, Romani L. 1999. Interleukin-4 causes susceptibility to invasive pulmonary aspergillosis through suppression of protective type I responses. J Infect Dis, 180 (6), pp. 1957-1968. | Show Abstract | Read more

Aspergillus fumigatus, an opportunistic fungal pathogen, causes multiple allergic and nonallergic airway diseases. Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is a nonallergic, life-threatening disease of immunocompromised patients. In a murine model of IPA, interleukin (IL)-4-deficient (IL-4-/-) BALB/c mice were used to examine the role of IL-4 in lung pathology and immune responses. IL-4-/- mice were more resistant than wild-type mice to infection caused by multiple intranasal injections of viable A. fumigatus conidia. Resistance was associated with decreased lung inflammatory pathology, impaired T helper (Th)-2 responses (including lung eosinophilia), and an IL-12-dependent Th1 response. In contrast, development of host-detrimental antifungal Th2 cells occurred in IL-12-/- and interferon-gamma-/- mice and in IL-4-/- mice when subjected to IL-12 neutralization. These results demonstrate that IL-4 renders mice susceptible to infection with A. fumigatus by inhibition of protective Th1 responses. IL-4 appears to have a distinct role in the pathogenesis of allergic and nonallergic lung diseases caused by the fungus.

Bachmann MF, Barner M, Viola A, Kopf M. 1999. Distinct kinetics of cytokine production and cytolysis in effector and memory T cells after viral infection. Eur J Immunol, 29 (1), pp. 291-299. | Show Abstract | Read more

In the present study, naive T cells were compared with in vivo generated effector and memory T cells expressing the same TCR specific for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Upon restimulation in vitro, the same minimal concentrations of the full agonist peptide p33 and also of weak and partial agonist peptides were required for proliferation of naive, effector and memory T cells, indicating no difference in threshold of activation. However, activation kinetics were distinct. While effector cytotoxic T cells exhibited immediate ex vivo lytic effector function, naive and memory T cells required 12 h and more exposure to antigen to develop lytic activity. However, both effector and memory T cells contained IFN-gamma mRNA in vivo and required less than 3 h for secretion of cytokines upon restimulation in vitro. In contrast, naive T cells did not contain IFN-gamma mRNA and required more than 12 h for cytokine secretion. Our results show that memory T cells exhibit a unique phenotype in that they produce cytokines and commit to proliferation as rapidly as effector cells, whereas they resemble naive T cells in the time requirement for development of cytolytic function.

Sebzda E, Mariathasan S, Ohteki T, Jones R, Bachmann MF, Ohashi PS. 1999. Selection of the T cell repertoire. Annu Rev Immunol, 17 (1), pp. 829-874. | Show Abstract | Read more

Advances in gene technology have allowed the manipulation of molecular interactions that shape the T cell repertoire. Although recognized as fundamental aspects of T lymphocyte development, only recently have the mechanisms governing positive and negative selection been examined at a molecular level. Positive selection refers to the active process of rescuing MHC-restricted thymocytes from programmed cell death. Negative selection refers to the deletion or inactivation of potentially autoreactive thymocytes. This review focuses on interactions during thymocyte maturation that define the T cell repertoire, with an emphasis placed on current literature within this field.

Kong YY, Fischer KD, Bachmann MF, Mariathasan S, Kozieradzki I, Nghiem MP, Bouchard D, Bernstein A, Ohashi PS, Penninger JM. 1998. Vav regulates peptide-specific apoptosis in thymocytes. J Exp Med, 188 (11), pp. 2099-2111. | Show Abstract | Read more

The protooncogene Vav functions as a GDP/GTP exchange factor (GEF) for Rho-like small GTPases involved in cytoskeletal reorganization and cytokine production in T cells. Gene-targeted mice lacking Vav have a severe defect in positive and negative selection of T cell antigen receptor transgenic thymocytes in vivo, and vav-/- thymocytes are completely resistant to peptide-specific and anti-CD3/anti-CD28-mediated apoptosis. Vav acts upstream of mitochondrial pore opening and caspase activation. Biochemically, Vav regulates peptide-specific Ca2+ mobilization and actin polymerization. Peptide-specific cell death was blocked both by cytochalasin D inhibition of actin polymerization and by inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC). Activation of PKC with phorbol ester restored peptide-specific apoptosis in vav-/- thymocytes. Vav was found to bind constitutively to PKC-theta in thymocytes. Our results indicate that peptide-triggered thymocyte apoptosis is mediated via Vav activation, changes in the actin cytoskeleton, and subsequent activation of a PKC isoform.

Bachmann MF, Zinkernagel RM, Oxenius A. 1998. Immune responses in the absence of costimulation: viruses know the trick. J Immunol, 161 (11), pp. 5791-5794. | Show Abstract

Costimulatory molecules are crucial for the induction of immune responses after immunization with purified proteins or peptides. However, some viruses and other pathogens are able to induce protective immunity in the absence of such molecules. This review argues that patterns recognized by both the specific and the innate immune system, together with a high and sustained Ag-load, are responsible for these surprisingly efficient immune responses triggered by pathogens.

Mariathasan S, Bachmann MF, Bouchard D, Ohteki T, Ohashi PS. 1998. Degree of TCR internalization and Ca2+ flux correlates with thymocyte selection. J Immunol, 161 (11), pp. 6030-6037. | Show Abstract

Recent evidence suggests that TCR down-regulation directly reflects the number of TCRs that have engaged MHC/peptide ligand complexes. Here, we examined the influence of defined peptides on thymic selection based on their ability to induce differential TCR internalization. Our results demonstrate that there is a direct correlation: peptides that induce strong TCR down-regulation are most efficient at mediating negative selection, whereas peptides that induce suboptimal TCR internalization are more efficient at triggering positive selection. As a consequence of suboptimal TCR internalization, a proportion of TCR complexes that remain on the cell surface may be able to relay continual signals required for survival and differentiation. In addition, we show that the magnitude of Ca2+ influx set by these peptides reflects the hierarchy of TCR down-regulation and correlates with positive vs negative selection of transgenic thymocytes. Together, our data suggest that T cell selection is mediated by differing intensities of the same TCR-mediated signal, rather than by distinct signals.

Griffiths E, Ong H, Soloski MJ, Bachmann MF, Ohashi PS, Speiser DE. 1998. Tumor defense by murine cytotoxic T cells specific for peptide bound to nonclassical MHC class I. Cancer Res, 58 (20), pp. 4682-4687. | Show Abstract

Cytotoxic T Cells (CTLs) can exhibit considerable antitumor activity. Thus far, the characterized tumor peptide antigens recognized by CTLs are all presented by classical MHC class Ia molecules [human lymphocyte antigen A (HLA-A), HLA-B, and HLA-C in humans and H-2K, H-2D, and H-2L in mice]. Here we show that CTLs recognized peptides presented by nonclassical MHC class Ib molecule Qa-1b expressed by tumor cells. These CTLs conferred in vivo protection by delaying the growth of Qa-1b-expressing B78H1 melanoma cells pulsed with Qa-1b-binding peptides Cw4L or B35L and injected s.c. in C57BL/6 mice. A hierarchy of the peptides was found with regard to their ability to trigger CTLs; Cw4L stimulated a strong CTL response. The closely related and cross-reactive peptide B35L induced a weaker CTL response but was still efficient in sensitizing the target cells. Finally, Qa-1b-expressing melanoma cells without exogenous peptides were not immunogenic but possibly expressed endogenous cross-reactive antigenic peptides. The data are compatible with earlier findings that CTL activation requires relatively strong peptide antigens, whereas subsequent effector functions are also mediated by weak peptide analogues. In conclusion, CTLs mediated tumor immunity through the recognition of peptides presented by nonclassical MHC class Ib molecules. The identification of similar CTLs in humans may facilitate the vaccination of cancer patients because MHC class Ib/peptide complexes are much less polymorphic than MHC class Ia/peptide complexes.

Bachmann MF, Speiser DE, Zakarian A, Ohashi PS. 1998. Inhibition of TCR triggering by a spectrum of altered peptide ligands suggests the mechanism for TCR antagonism. Eur J Immunol, 28 (10), pp. 3110-3119. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding the parameters involved in T cell activation has been complicated by the discovery of partial T cell agonists. Altered peptide ligands (APL) have recently shown that different subsets of T cell responses can be selectively activated by certain peptides, which define a hierarchy of T cell activation. For cytotoxic T cells, this hierarchy ranges from sensitizing target cells for lysis through proliferation to effector cell induction. The degree of TCR down-regulation mediated by APL-MHC interactions correlates well with the induction of specific T cell effector functions. This suggests that the potential agonist response induced by a given peptide occurs at different triggering thresholds. To examine the relative agonist and antagonist functions of different peptides, we have investigated the ability of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus glycoprotein-derived APL to induce or inhibit a range of effector functions in naive CD8+ T cells. By this, we have defined a hierarchy of peptides that display a range of properties from strong agonist to no agonist function. At each level, peptides that were ranked lower in this hierarchy were able to interfere or antagonize the induction of effector functions by higher ranking peptides. We have therefore shown that this spectrum of peptides ranging from strong to no agonist function has an inverse gradient from strong antagonist to no antagonist function. Moreover, the ability of the different peptides to inhibit TCR internalization correlated with their ranking within the hierarchy. These findings support the model that antagonists are effectively preventing TCR oligomerization and functional TCR triggering.

Speiser DE, Bachmann MF, Soloski MJ, Forman J, Ohashi PS. 1998. Alloreactive cytotoxic T cells recognize minor transplantation antigens presented by major histocompatibility complex class Ib molecules. Transplantation, 66 (5), pp. 646-650. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) contribute to the rejection of transplanted tissues through two pathways: first, by direct recognition of foreign graft major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules; and second, by recognition of foreign graft-derived peptides presented by classical MHC class Ia molecules that are matched between graft and donor. However, a number of observations suggest that additional categories of CTL recognition patterns may exist, but they remain to be defined molecularly. METHODS: Previous studies showed that the murine nonclassical MHC molecule H2 M3 may be involved in allorecognition. We investigated whether other members of nonclassical MHC class Ib, namely Qa1 and Qa2, may be recognized. Alloreactive CTLs were generated from mice mismatched for non-MHC and/or MHC genetic backgrounds and tested using various target cells, including cells transfected with Qa1 or Qa2. Furthermore, candidate peptides were synthesized and used to generate CTLs specific for peptide presented by Qa1 or Qa2. RESULTS: The experiments demonstrate that allogeneic and xenogeneic peptides were recognized by CTLs when presented on shared nonclassical MHC class Ib Qa1 and Qa2 molecules. CONCLUSIONS: The results confirm that MHC class Ib molecules present peptides to CTLs. This potentially important alloreactivity pathway may be functional between most individuals because sharing of MHC class Ib alleles is frequent.

Bachmann MF, Salzmann M, Oxenius A, Ohashi PS. 1998. Formation of TCR dimers/trimers as a crucial step for T cell activation. Eur J Immunol, 28 (8), pp. 2571-2579. | Show Abstract | Read more

T cell activation involves specific interactions between the TCR and peptides presented by the MHC. This engagement leads to phosphorylation and subsequent internalization of the TCR complex. By analyzing the kinetics of the internalization of TCR, we found that the rate of TCR down-regulation was proportional to the square of the TCR density. Mathematical modeling of TCR interactions indicates that such a relation is only possible if TCR dimerize before internalization. By mathematical analysis, our data would also be compatible with trimer but not larger oligomer formation. Thus, minimal TCR oligomerization is an essential step for peptide-mediated T cell activation.

Fehr T, Naim HY, Bachmann MF, Ochsenbein AF, Spielhofer P, Bucher E, Hengartner H, Billeter MA, Zinkernagel RM. 1998. T-cell independent IgM and enduring protective IgG antibodies induced by chimeric measles viruses. Nat Med, 4 (8), pp. 945-948. | Show Abstract | Read more

B-cell activation depends on the intensity of B-cell receptor cross-linking. Studies of haptenated antigens and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) have demonstrated a correlation between antigen repetitiveness and the degree to which B-cell activation is independent of T cells. Here, we compare neutralizing antibody responses to inactivated VSV with those to two inactivated human pathogenic viruses: highly cytopathic poliovirus (PV) and poorly cytopathic measles virus (MV). The rigidly structured PV efficiently induced neutralizing IgM antibodies independent of T cells. In contrast, neutralizing antibodies to the pleomorphic MV were dependent on helper T cells. To test whether this resulted from the differences in virus structure or the capacity of MV to induce cell fusion and/or immunosuppression, we analyzed antibody responses to chimeric MV expressing VSV glycoprotein instead of MV fusion protein and hemagglutinin. IgM antibodies were independent of T cells; in addition, we found IgG responses dependent on T-cell help that were enduring and protective against lethal VSV infection. Because chimeric MV viruses look like MV ultrastructurally, we conclude that not only structural differences in the envelope but also the ability of MV to induce immunosuppression may limit its capacity to directly activate B cells. These findings are relevant for our understanding of B-cell activation by two prototypic human pathogenic viruses and for the design of new recombinant vaccines.

McKall-Faienza KJ, Kawai K, Kündig TM, Odermatt B, Bachmann MF, Zakarian A, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1998. Absence of TNFRp55 influences virus-induced autoimmunity despite efficient lymphocytic infiltration. Int Immunol, 10 (4), pp. 405-412. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha is a multipotent cytokine associated with many cellular functions, including inflammation and anti-viral defense. Many studies have implicated TNF-alpha in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. TNF-alpha responses are mediated through binding to specific cell surface receptors, TNFRp55 and TNFRp75. The objective of the present study was to investigate the contribution of the TNFRp55 in the inflammatory response associated with autoimmune diabetes development in a viral transgenic model. In this model, the animals express lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-glycoprotein (gp) in the beta cells of the pancreas under the control of the rat insulin promoter (RIP-gp). Diabetes is induced following LCMV infection due to beta cell destruction by LCMV-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes. TNFRp55-deficient RIP-gp animals were examined to assess the importance of the TNFRp55. The kinetics and onset of lymphocytic infiltration into the pancreatic islets and hyperglycemia was not altered in the absence of TNFRp55 after LCMV infection. Animals were evaluated following recombinant LCMV-gp vaccinia virus infection to test whether properties of the infectious agent influence autoimmunity. Interestingly, the kinetics were accelerated and the frequency of diabetes was increased in TNFRp55-deficient mice compared with control animals. This accelerated onset of diabetes is likely a result of increased viral replication in the TNFRp55-deficient host. Thus, these data demonstrate that TNFRp55 is not essential for producing the local inflammatory effects which contribute to organ-specific autoimmunity in this transgenic model. However, the absence of TNFRp55 altered the kinetics and incidence of the disease in a pathogen-dependent fashion.

Salzmann M, Bachmann MF. 1998. The role of T cell receptor dimerization for T cell antagonism and T cell specificity. Mol Immunol, 35 (5), pp. 271-277. | Show Abstract | Read more

T cell responses are highly specific and T cell receptors (TCRs) can recognise subtle differences in major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-peptide complexes. While nominal peptide antigens usually act as full agonists that trigger the whole spectrum of T cell responses, some peptides exhibiting mutations at the TCR-MHC/peptide contact site stimulate only a fraction of T cell responses (partial agonists) or may even inhibit T cell activation by full agonists (antagonist). The present study analyses mathematically the role of TCR-dimerization for T cell antagonism and T cell specificity in general. It demonstrates that T cell antagonists can effectively inhibit TCR-dimerization and that this mechanism can sufficiently explain all aspects of T cell antagonism. The kinetic model of T cell activation proposes that increasing the time required for effective TCR-signaling is the most effective mechanism to increase the discriminatory capacity of TCRs. Our results indicate that TCR-oligomerization is an alternative and efficient mechanism to ensure T cell specificity.

Salzmann M, Bachmann MF. 1998. Estimation of maximal affinities between T-cell receptors and MHC/peptide complexes. Mol Immunol, 35 (2), pp. 65-71. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recognition of peptide/MHC complexes by T-cell receptors (TCRs) is a critical step for T-cell activation. We studied T-cell activation as a function of this interaction using a mathematical model. Unlike other models analysing TCR-MHC/peptide interactions, this study takes into account that both TCRs and MHC/peptide complexes are anchored in membranes and not in solution. The proposed model quantitatively predicts several essential features of antigen-specific T-cell activation, including the experimentally determined rate of TCR-downregulation during peptide-specific T-cell stimulation. In addition, the model offers an explanation as to why the affinity of the TCR for MHC/peptide complexes is low in general and it correctly predicts the on-rates of the TCR-MHC/peptide interaction observed in different model systems. Thus, the proposed model predicts key parameters of T-cell activation and offers an explanation for the surprisingly low affinity of the TCR for its antigen.

Oxenius A, Bachmann MF, Zinkernagel RM, Hengartner H. 1998. Virus-specific MHC-class II-restricted TCR-transgenic mice: effects on humoral and cellular immune responses after viral infection. Eur J Immunol, 28 (1), pp. 390-400. | Show Abstract | Read more

A transgenic mouse expressing MHC class II-restricted TCR with specificity for a lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein-derived T helper cell epitope was developed to study the role of LCMV-specific CD4+ T cells in virus infection in vivo. The majority of CD4+ T cells in TCR transgenic mice expressed the transgenic receptor, and LCMV glycoprotein-specific TCR transgenic CD4+ T cells efficiently mediated help for the production of LCMV glycoprotein-specific isotype-switched antibodies. In contrast, LCMV glycoprotein-specific TCR transgenic mice exhibited a drastically reduced ability to provide help for the generation of antibody responses specific for the virus-internal nucleoprotein, indicating that intramolecular/intrastructural help is limited to antigens that are accessible to B cells on the viral surface. Antiviral cellular immunity was studied with noncytopathic LCMV and recombinant cytopathic vaccinia virus expressing the LCMV glycoprotein. TCR transgenic mice failed to efficiently control LCMV infection, demonstrating that functional LCMV-specific CD4+ T cells--even if activated and present at extremely high frequencies--cannot directly mediate protective immunity against LCMV. Despite the fact that LCMV-primed CD4+ T cells from TCR transgenic mice as well as from control mice showed low MHC class II-restricted cytotoxic activity in vivo, this did not correlate with protection against LCMV replication in vivo. In contrast, CD4+ T cells from TCR-transgenic mice mediated efficient protection against infection with recombinant vaccinia virus. These results further support the need for different immune effector functions for protective immunity against different viral infections.

Bachmann MF. 1998. The role of germinal centers for antiviral B cell responses. Immunol Res, 17 (3), pp. 329-344. | Show Abstract | Read more

Germinal centers (GCs) are crucially involved in T cell-dependent B cell responses. B cells rapidly proliferate within GCs and their Ig variable region genes undergo hypermutation. Cognate T helper cells and antigen presented in native form on follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) select B cells expressing high-affinity Igs, leading to affinity maturation and the generation of memory B cells. In addition to these well-established functions of GCs, this article presents evidence that they also play a crucial role for the maintenance of specific memory Ig titers and for the prevention of viral antibody escape mutants.

Yoshida H, Nishina H, Takimoto H, Marengère LE, Wakeham AC, Bouchard D, Kong YY, Ohteki T, Shahinian A, Bachmann M et al. 1998. The transcription factor NF-ATc1 regulates lymphocyte proliferation and Th2 cytokine production. Immunity, 8 (1), pp. 115-124. | Show Abstract | Read more

NF-ATc1 is a member of a family of genes that encodes the cytoplasmic component of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NF-AT). In activated T cells, nuclear NF-AT binds to the promoter regions of multiple cytokine genes and induces their transcription. The role of NF-ATc1 was investigated in recombination activating gene-1 (RAG-1)-deficient blastocyst complementation assays using homozygous NF-ATc1-/- mutant ES cell lines. NF-ATc1-/-/RAG-1-/- chimeric mice showed reduced numbers of thymocytes and impaired proliferation of peripheral lymphocytes, but normal production of IL-2. Induction in vitro of Th2 responses, as demonstrated by a decrease in IL-4 and IL-6 production, was impaired in mutant T cells. These data indicate that NF-ATc1 plays roles in the development of T lymphocytes and in the differentiation of the Th2 response.

Bachmann MF, Waterhouse P, Speiser DE, McKall-Faienza K, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1998. Normal responsiveness of CTLA-4-deficient anti-viral cytotoxic T cells. J Immunol, 160 (1), pp. 95-100. | Show Abstract

CTLA-4 has been proposed to negatively regulate immune responses, and mice deficient for CTLA-4 expression succumb to a lymphoproliferative disorder within a few weeks after birth. This study assessed the responsiveness of CTLA-4-deficient T cells expressing a class I-restricted TCR specific for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). The kinetics of T cell proliferation were studied in vitro after stimulation of T cells with full and partial T cell agonists. No gross abnormalities in CTLA-4-deficient T cells could be detected. Using adoptive transfer experiments, T cell responses were also measured in vivo after infection with LCMV. Low dose infection with LCMV leads to strong expansion of specific T cells followed by a reduction in T cells that parallels the elimination of Ag. The kinetics of T cell expansion and elimination after low dose LCMV infection were not affected by the absence of CTLA-4. High dose infection of mice with LCMV leads to a transient expansion of T cells followed by T cell exhaustion, where all specific T cells are eliminated. T cell exhaustion also occurred in the absence of CTLA-4. Thus, surprisingly, the absence of CTLA-4 did not interfere with T cell activation, down-regulation of ongoing T cell responses after the elimination of Ag, or the exhaustion of T cell responses in the presence of excessive amounts of Ag.

Bachmann MF, Mariathasan S, Bouchard D, Speiser DE, Ohashi PS. 1997. Four types of Ca2+ signals in naive CD8+ cytotoxic T cells after stimulation with T cell agonists, partial agonists and antagonists. Eur J Immunol, 27 (12), pp. 3414-3419. | Show Abstract | Read more

Stimulation of T cells via the T cell receptor (TCR) leads to an increase intracellular in free Ca2+ levels ([Ca2+]i) and the activation of the MAP kinase signaling pathway. This study analyzes for the first time Ca2+ fluxes in naive cytotoxic T cells stimulated with full agonists, partial agonists, or antagonists. Four different types of Ca2+ responses could be observed. Full agonists triggered a strong and sustained increase in [Ca2+]i. In contrast, partial T cell agonists induced either a strong but transient Ca2+ flux or very low to no increases in [Ca2+]i, while T cell antagonists failed to induce any measurable Ca2+ flux. The ability of peptides to induce elevated [Ca2+]i perfectly paralleled their ability to trigger TCR internalization and T cell activation. Thus, stimulation of naive cytotoxic T cells with a panel of defined altered peptide ligands reveals a consistent picture, where Ca2+ fluxes predict agonist, partial agonist and antagonist properties of peptides.

Bachmann MF, Ohteki T, Faienza KM, Zakarian A, Kägi D, Speiser DE, Ohashi PS. 1997. Altered peptide ligands trigger perforin- rather than Fas-dependent cell lysis. J Immunol, 159 (9), pp. 4165-4170. | Show Abstract

CTLs lyse Fas-expressing target cells by the concomitant action of a perforin- and a Fas-dependent mechanism. This study analyzed whether target cells pulsed with T cell antagonists and other altered peptide ligands (APLs) were susceptible selectively to only one of these two mechanisms. In vivo and in vitro activated T cells from transgenic mice expressing a TCR specific for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus were used as effector cells. To distinguish between perforin- and Fas-dependent cytotoxicity, T cells from normal or perforin-deficient mice were used to lyse peptide-pulsed Fas-positive or Fas-negative target cells. In contrast to previous reports that have shown that APLs selectively induce the Fas-dependent pathway of cytotoxicity, our results demonstrate that target cells pulsed with T cell antagonists and other APLs are lysed predominantly by the perforin-dependent pathway. The contribution of Fas-mediated cytotoxicity was similar for the full agonist and the APLs. Thus, full agonists, partial agonists, and antagonists trigger similar and not distinct pathways of cytotoxicity.

Bachmann MF, Littman DR, Liao XC. 1997. Antiviral immune responses in Itk-deficient mice. J Virol, 71 (10), pp. 7253-7257. | Show Abstract

Mice lacking Itk, a T-cell-specific protein tyrosine kinase, have reduced numbers of T cells and reduced responses to allogeneic major histocompatibility molecules. This study analyzed antiviral immune responses in mice deficient for Itk. Primary cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses were analyzed after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), vaccinia virus (VV), and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Ex vivo CTL activity was consistently reduced by a factor of two to six for the different viruses. CTL responses after restimulation in vitro were similarly reduced unless exogenous cytokines were added. In the presence of interleukin-2 or concanavalin A supernatant, Itk-deficient and control mice responded similarly. Interestingly, while LCMV was completely eliminated by day 8 in both Itk-deficient and control mice, VV cleared from itk-/- mice with delayed kinetics. Antibody responses were evaluated after VSV infection. Both the T-cell-independent neutralizing immunoglobulin M (IgM) and the T-cell-dependent IgG responses were similar in Itk-deficient and control mice. Taken together, the results show that CTL responses are reduced in the absence of Itk whereas antiviral B-cell responses are not affected.

Bachmann MF, McKall-Faienza K, Schmits R, Bouchard D, Beach J, Speiser DE, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1997. Distinct roles for LFA-1 and CD28 during activation of naive T cells: adhesion versus costimulation. Immunity, 7 (4), pp. 549-557. | Show Abstract | Read more

Efficient T cell activation requires the engagement of a variety of ligand/receptor molecules in addition to T cell receptor (TCR)-major histocompatibility complex (MHC)/peptide interactions. The leukocyte function antigen 1 (LFA-1) and the CD28 glycoprotein have both been implicated in T cell activation. The present study dissects the roles of LFA-1 and CD28 in the activation of naive virus-specific CD8+ T cells. We demonstrate that LFA-1 facilitates T cell activation by lowering the amounts of antigen necessary for T cell activation. In the absence of LFA-1, 100-fold more antigen was required for T cell-antigen-presenting cell (APC) conjugation and all subsequent events of T cell activation, including TCR down-regulation, Ca2+-flux, T cell proliferation, and lytic effector cell induction. Thus, LFA-1 facilitates the functional triggering of TCRs by promoting adhesion of T cells to APCs but does not affect T cell activation otherwise. In contrast, CD28 played an entirely different role during T cell activation. CD28 reduced the number of TCRs that had to be triggered for T cell activation and allowed activation of T cells by low affinity ligands. CD28 but not LFA-1 prevented induction of T cell unresponsiveness after stimulation of TCRs. These results demonstrate that LFA-1 and CD28 exhibit distinct, nonoverlapping ways to influence T cell activation and suggest that the terms costimulation and signal 2 should be revisited.

Nishina H, Bachmann M, Oliveira-dos-Santos AJ, Kozieradzki I, Fischer KD, Odermatt B, Wakeham A, Shahinian A, Takimoto H, Bernstein A et al. 1997. Impaired CD28-mediated interleukin 2 production and proliferation in stress kinase SAPK/ERK1 kinase (SEK1)/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 (MKK4)-deficient T lymphocytes. J Exp Med, 186 (6), pp. 941-953. | Show Abstract | Read more

The dual specific kinase SAPK/ERK1 kinase (SEK1; mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4/Jun NH2 terminal kinase [ JNK] kinase) is a direct activator of stress-activated protein kinases ([SAPKs]/JNKs) in response to CD28 costimulation, CD40 signaling, or activation of the germinal center kinase. Here we show that SEK1(-/-) recombination-activating gene (RAG)2(-/-) chimeric mice have a partial block in B cell maturation. However, peripheral B cells displayed normal responses to IL-4, IgM, and CD40 cross-linking. SEK1(-/-) peripheral T cells showed decreased proliferation and IL-2 production after CD28 costimulation and PMA/Ca2+ ionophore activation. Although CD28 expression was absolutely crucial to generate vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-specific germinal centers, SEK1(-/-)RAG2(-/-) chimeras mounted a protective antiviral B cell response, exhibited normal IgG class switching, and made germinal centers in response to VSV. Interestingly, PMA/Ca2+ ionophore stimulation, which mimics TCR-CD3 and CD28-mediated signal transduction, induced SAPK/JNK activation in peripheral T cells, but not in thymocytes, from SEK1(-/-) mice. These results show that signaling pathways for SAPK activation are developmentally regulated in T cells. Although SEK1(-/-) thymocytes failed to induce SAPK/JNK in response to PMA/Ca2+ ionophore, SEK1(-/-)RAG2(-/-) thymocytes proliferated and made IL-2 after PMA/Ca2+ ionophore and CD3/CD28 stimulation, albeit at significantly lower levels compared to SEK1(+/+)RAG2(-/-) thymocytes, implying that CD28 costimulation and PMA/Ca2+ ionophore-triggered signaling pathways exist that can mediate proliferation and IL-2 production independently of SAPK activation. Our data provide the first genetic evidence that SEK1 is an important effector molecule that relays CD28 signaling to IL-2 production and T cell proliferation.

Bachmann MF, Oxenius A, Speiser DE, Mariathasan S, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM, Ohashi PS. 1997. Peptide-induced T cell receptor down-regulation on naive T cells predicts agonist/partial agonist properties and strictly correlates with T cell activation. Eur J Immunol, 27 (9), pp. 2195-2203. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent experiments defining T cell agonists, partial agonists and antagonists have suggested that the T cell can discriminate between subtle differences in interactions leading to T cell activation. To further understand the complexities of T cell activation, we have analyzed the requirements for the induction of a variety of effector functions using naive T cells and a variety of altered peptide ligands. Using a strong agonist peptide, massive T cell receptor (TCR) down-regulation correlated with a wide range of effector functions that were all induced above the same threshold peptide concentration. Interestingly, the kinetics of TCR down-regulation correlated with the concentration of the peptide, whereas the maximal degree of TCR down-regulation correlated with the induction of all monitored effector functions. A selected group of altered peptide ligands was also examined that were able to render target cells susceptible for lysis by effector cytotoxic T lymphocytes. The extent of TCR down-regulation induced by these peptides corresponded to the induction of a subset of effector functions. These studies have shown that the extent of TCR down-regulation defines the strength of TCR-mediated "signal 1" which correlates with the spectrum of effector functions activated within the T cell. Thus, activation of different T cell functions requires the triggering of distinct numbers of TCR. The different parameters that influence TCR down-regulation define important distinctions between our results and previously reported findings with T cell clones and may outline decisive parameters for the consequences of T cell activation in vivo.

Speiser DE, Miranda R, Zakarian A, Bachmann MF, McKall-Faienza K, Odermatt B, Hanahan D, Zinkernagel RM, Ohashi PS. 1997. Self antigens expressed by solid tumors Do not efficiently stimulate naive or activated T cells: implications for immunotherapy. J Exp Med, 186 (5), pp. 645-653. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction and maintenance of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity specific for a primary endogenous tumor was investigated in vivo. The simian virus 40 T antigen (Tag) expressed under the control of the rat insulin promoter (RIP) induced pancreatic beta-cell tumors producing insulin, causing progressive hypoglycemia. As an endogenous tumor antigen, the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein (GP) was introduced also under the control of the RIP. No significant spontaneous CTL activation against GP was observed. However, LCMV infection induced an antitumor CTL response which efficiently reduced the tumor mass, resulting in temporarily normalized blood glucose levels and prolonged survival of double transgenic RIP(GP x Tag2) mice (137 +/- 18 d) as opposed to control RIP-Tag2 mice (88 +/- 8 d). Surprisingly, the tumor-specific CTL response was not sustained despite the facts that the tumor cells continued to express MHC class I and LCMV-GP-specific CTLs were present and not tolerized. Subsequent adoptive transfer of virus activated spleen cells into RIP(GP x Tag2) mice further prolonged survival (168 +/- 11 d), demonstrating continued expression of the LCMV-GP tumor antigen and MHC class I. The data show that the tumor did not spontaneously induce or maintain an activated CTL response, revealing a profound lack of immunogenicity in vivo. Therefore, repetitive immunizations are necessary for prolonged antitumor immunotherapy. In addition, the data suggest that the risk for induction of chronic autoimmune diseases is limited, which may encourage immunotherapy against antigens selectively but not exclusively expressed by the tumor.

Waterhouse P, Bachmann MF, Penninger JM, Ohashi PS, Mak TW. 1997. Normal thymic selection, normal viability and decreased lymphoproliferation in T cell receptor-transgenic CTLA-4-deficient mice. Eur J Immunol, 27 (8), pp. 1887-1892. | Show Abstract | Read more

CTLA-4 is a T cell surface receptor essential for the negative regulation of T cell activation. In the CTLA-4-deficient mouse, a dramatic accumulation of activated peripheral T cells effects extensive damage to host tissues, resulting in mortality within 5 weeks of age. To determine whether the accumulation of activated T cells in CTLA-4(-/-) mice is due to a defect in thymic selection, we examined negative selection in CTLA-4(-/-) mice using two transgenic T cell receptor (TCR) models of thymic selection. Neither the H-Y-specific TCR nor the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific TCR transgenic models revealed a defect in positive or negative selection in CTLA-4(-/-) mice in vivo or in vitro. In fact, the negatively selecting phenotype of male H-YTCR-transgenic mice greatly mitigated the accumulation of activated peripheral T cells. Further, peripheral CTLA-4(-/-) T cells expressing a single LMCV-specific transgenic TCR did not have an activated phenotype, indicating that CTLA-4(-/-) T cells require specific antigen for proliferation. These results demonstrate that specific antigen is required for the lymphoproliferation observed in CTLA-4(-/-) mice, and that CTLA-4 deficiency does not lead to a gross defect in negative selection.

Bachmann MF, Speiser DE, Ohashi PS. 1997. Functional management of an antiviral cytotoxic T-cell response. J Virol, 71 (8), pp. 5764-5768. | Show Abstract

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is known to induce strong, polyclonal cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses. Using a set of variant peptides derived from the major CTL epitope of LCMV, we analyzed the functional fine specificity of the LCMV-specific CTL response. During the primary response, almost all the tested peptides were recognized. In contrast, the secondary response was purged of all minor cross-reactivities and very few peptides were significantly recognized. This study is the first demonstration of the functional maturation of a T-cell response and has important clinical and biological implications.

Oxenius A, Bachmann MF. 1997. Similar ligand densities required for restimulation and effector function of cytotoxic T cells. Cell Immunol, 179 (1), pp. 16-21. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study compared ligand densities on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) needed for in vitro restimulation of in vivo primed T cells and for in vitro assessed T cell effector function. Spleen cells of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-primed mice were restimulated in vitro with graded amounts of virus-derived peptides using macrophages or a cloned dendritic cell line as APCs. To test for effector function of these cytotoxic T cells, the same APCs pulsed with graded amounts of the peptides were used as target cells in an in vitro 51Cr release assay. The same peptide concentration that rendered an APC restimulatory for primed cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) also rendered it susceptible for lysis by the same CTLs. In addition, the same peptide concentrations that made macrophages susceptible for CTL-mediated lysis induced proliferative responses in vitro of in vivo primed memory CTLs. Thus, restimulation of in vivo primed T cells--measured by either proliferation or cytotoxic effector function--or sensibilization of target cells for lysis requires similar ligand densities on APCs and is therefore, contrary to expectations, governed by similar overall avidity thresholds. These results have implications for CTL memory.

Zinkernagel RM, Bachmann MF, Kundig TM, Hengartner H. 1997. T cells and memory lapses - Response TRENDS IN MICROBIOLOGY, 5 (7), pp. 260-261. | Read more

Bachmann MF, Kalinke U, Althage A, Freer G, Burkhart C, Roost H, Aguet M, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1997. The role of antibody concentration and avidity in antiviral protection. Science, 276 (5321), pp. 2024-2027. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neutralizing antibodies are necessary and sufficient for protection against infection with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). The in vitro neutralization capacities and in vivo protective capacities of a panel of immunoglobulin G monoclonal antibodies to the glycoprotein of VSV were evaluated. In vitro, neutralizing activity correlated with avidity and with neutralization rate constant, a measure of on-rate. However, in vivo, protection was independent of immunoglobulin subclass, avidity, neutralization rate constant, and in vitro neutralizing activity; above a minimal avidity threshold, protection depended simply on a minimum serum concentration. These two biologically defined thresholds of antibody specificity offer hope for the development of adoptive therapy with neutralizing antibodies.

Oxenius A, Bachmann MF, Mathis D, Benoist C, Zinkernagel RM, Hengartner H. 1997. Functional in vivo MHC class II loading by endogenously synthesized glycoprotein during viral infection. J Immunol, 158 (12), pp. 5717-5726. | Show Abstract

MHC class II presentation of antigenic peptides derived from soluble proteins is usually preceded by antigenic uptake via (nonreceptor-mediated) endocytosis by professional APCs, followed by processing in endosomal compartments. Although in vitro alternative pathways for MHC class II loading have been described for certain intracellularly synthesized proteins, the importance of these pathways has not been assessed in vivo. We have shown previously that endogenously produced membrane-associated glycoprotein (GP) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), a noncytopathic virus, can be presented in vitro on MHC class II molecules in the absence of the invariant chain (Ii), whereas the cytosolic LCMV nucleoprotein (LCMV-NP) failed to be presented under the same conditions. Taking advantage of this system, we analyzed presentation of LCMV-GP and LCMV-NP in vivo in Ii-deficient mice and followed the induced Th cell and B cell responses. At early time points after LCMV infection of li-deficient mice, we found in vivo MHC class II loading exclusively by the endogenously synthesized LCMV-GP, whereas no MHC class II loading by LCMV-NP could be detected. As a direct consequence, LCMV-specific Th cells exhibited initially only LCMV-GP specificity. In contrast, both LCMV-GP- and LCMV-NP-derived epitopes were presented in comparable amounts on APCs upon LCMV infection of normal mice, and LCMV-GP- as well as LCMV-NP-specific Th cells were comparably induced in vivo. Thus, cell internal MHC class II loading pathways are functional in vivo and may become dominant if the usual Ag presentation pathways are hampered.

Bachmann MF, Fehr T, Freer G, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1997. Correlation of tolerogenicity of a viral antigen with its immunogenicity. J Immunol, 158 (11), pp. 5106-5111. | Show Abstract

Induction of B cell tolerance or activation was analyzed with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) glycoprotein (G) expressed as a neo-self Ag. A membrane form of VSV-G expressed in all tissues, including the bone marrow, induced unresponsiveness at both the Th and B cell level, whereas a soluble form of VSV-G expressed peripherally in liver and kidney did not tolerize B cells and only reversibly anergized Th cells. Interestingly, a similar correlation was found for activation of mature lymphocytes. When mature normal spleen cells were transferred into the two transgenic mouse lines, the membrane form of VSV-G was strongly immunogenic for both Th and B cells, and high VSV-G-specific IgG Ab titers were induced in these transgenic mice. In contrast, spleen cells transferred into mice expressing the soluble form of VSV-G were not activated, and no VSV-G specific Abs were induced. These results indicate that highly immunogenic Ags are strongly tolerogenic for both immature B and T cells.

Speiser DE, Bachmann MF, Frick TW, McKall-Faienza K, Griffiths E, Pfeffer K, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1997. TNF receptor p55 controls early acute graft-versus-host disease. J Immunol, 158 (11), pp. 5185-5190. | Show Abstract

Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is frequently associated with graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). To understand the effector mechanisms of GVHD, we investigated the role of the TNF receptor p55 (TNFRp55), which is known to be important in inflammation and cytotoxicity. After the transplantation of allogeneic bone marrow and spleen cells to lethally irradiated mice, all wild-type recipients developed early lethal GVHD within 1 wk, whereas TNFRp55-deficient recipients had much reduced GVHD and survived for at least 3 wk. No defect in alloantigen presentation was found, since T cell proliferation and cytotoxicity were similar to allogeneic wild-type and TNFRp55-deficient stimulator and target cells. Also, TNF alpha release did not differ significantly between the two types of recipients. Therefore, early acute GVHD in wild-type mice was primarily due to TNFRp55-mediated tissue damage. Interestingly, lethal GVHD was not entirely dependent upon the TNFRp55. In experimental conditions using sublethal irradiation and high donor spleen cell numbers, TNFRp55-deficient recipient mice developed lethal GVHD with similar kinetics and frequency as the control mice. These data suggest that the effector mechanisms leading to organ damage in murine acute GVHD can be dissected in a cytokine pathway through the TNFRp55, as demonstrated here, and in a cellular pathway through direct interaction of cytotoxic lymphocytes with target tissues involving perforin and Fas/Fas ligand, as reported previously.

Fehr T, Bachmann MF, Bucher E, Kalinke U, Di Padova FE, Lang AB, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1997. Role of repetitive antigen patterns for induction of antibodies against antibodies. J Exp Med, 185 (10), pp. 1785-1792. | Show Abstract | Read more

Antibody responses against antibodies, such as rheumatoid factors, are found in several immunopathological diseases and may play a role in disease pathogenesis. Experience shows that they are usually difficult to induce experimentally. Antibodies specific for immunoglobulin constant regions (anti-allotypic) or for variable regions (anti-idiotypic) have been investigated in animal models; the latter have even been postulated to regulate antibody and T cell responses via network-like interactions. Why and how such anti-antibodies are induced during autoimmune diseases, has remained largely unclear. Because repetitively arranged epitopes in a paracrystalline structure of a viral envelope cross-link B cell receptors efficiently to induce a prompt T-independent IgM response, this study used immune complexes containing viruses or bacteria to evaluate the role of antigen pattern for induction of anti-antibody responses. We present evidence that antibodies bound to strictly ordered, but not to irregularly arranged, antigens dramatically enhance induction of anti-antibodies, already after a single immunization and without using adjuvants. The results indicate a novel link between anti-antibody responses and infectious agents, and suggest a similar role for repetitive self-antigens such as DNA or collagen involved in chronic immunopathological diseases.

Speiser DE, Bachmann MF, Shahinian A, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1997. Acute graft-versus-host disease without costimulation via CD28. Transplantation, 63 (7), pp. 1042-1044. | Show Abstract | Read more

T lymphocyte activity is enhanced by costimulatory signals mediated through CD28 binding to B7-1/B7-2 on antigen-presenting cells. Several recent studies have shown that graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) can be inhibited by in vivo treatment with CTLA4Ig, which blocks CD28-B7 interactions. These findings prompted us to investigate the role of CD28 in acute GVHD, using gene-targeted mice. We performed the experiments in the context of strong allogeneic MHC stimulation (H2(b) anti-H2(d)) and weak stimulation (H2(d) anti-H2(b)). In both directions, efficient in vitro T-cell cytotoxicity and acute lethal GVHD were induced by CD28-deficient lymphocytes, which was only partially delayed when compared with wild-type mice. We conclude that lethal GVHD can develop without costimulation via CD28.

Fehr T, Schoedon G, Odermatt B, Holtschke T, Schneemann M, Bachmann MF, Mak TW, Horak I, Zinkernagel RM. 1997. Crucial role of interferon consensus sequence binding protein, but neither of interferon regulatory factor 1 nor of nitric oxide synthesis for protection against murine listeriosis. J Exp Med, 185 (5), pp. 921-931. | Show Abstract | Read more

Listeria monocytogenes is widely used as a model to study immune responses against intracellular bacteria. It has been shown that neutrophils and macrophages play an important role to restrict bacterial replication in the early phase of primary infection in mice, and that the cytokines interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) are essential for protection. However, the involved signaling pathways and effector mechanisms are still poorly understood. This study investigated mouse strains deficient for the IFN-dependent transcription factors interferon consensus sequence binding protein (ICSBP), interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 1 or 2 for their capacity to eliminate Listeria in vivo and in vitro and for production of inducible reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI) or reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) in macrophages. ICSBP-/- and to a lesser degree also IRF2-/- mice were highly susceptible to Listeria infection. This correlated with impaired elimination of Listeria from infected peritoneal macrophage (PEM) cultures stimulated with IFN-gamma in vitro; in addition these cultures showed reduced and delayed oxidative burst upon IFN-gamma stimulation, whereas nitric oxide production was normal. In contrast, mice deficient for IRF1 were not able to produce nitric oxide, but they efficiently controlled Listeria in vivo and in vitro. These results indicate that (a) the ICSBP/IRF2 complex is essential for IFN-gamma-mediated protection against Listeria and that (b) ROI together with additional still unknown effector mechanisms may be responsible for the anti-Listeria activity of macrophages, whereas IRF1-induced RNI are not limiting.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1997. Protection against immunopathological consequences of a viral infection by activated but not resting cytotoxic T cells: T cell memory without "memory T cells"? Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 94 (2), pp. 640-645. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunological memory is a key characteristic of specific immune responses. Persistence of increased levels of precursor T cells is antigen-independent and is often used as an indicator of T cell memory. This study documents that, depending on the chosen readout, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) memory against lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) appears long- or short-lived in the absence of persisting antigen. To study T cell memory in the absence of persisting antigen, either short-lived antigens were used for immunization or adoptive transfer methods were used to eliminate possibly persisting antigen. These experiments revealed that increased specific precursor frequencies and CTL-mediated protection against an i.v. infection with LCMV were long-lived. In contrast, CTL-mediated protection against a peripheral infection of the skin with LCMV, or of the ovary with recombinant vaccinia virus, was short-lived. These results show that maintenance of increased specific CTL precursor frequencies and central T cell memory in lymphoid tissue (where preexisting neutralizing antibodies usually provide protection anyway) is long-lived and antigen-independent. In contrast, in protection against peripheral viral infections, where the relative kinetics of virus growth and virus elimination by T cells are of key importance, T cell memory is short-lived in the absence of antigen. This indicates that peripheral T cell memory in antibody-inaccessible tissues is mediated by antigen-activated effector T cells and apparently not by specialized memory T cells.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Speiser DE, McKall-Faienza K, Kishara K, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1997. T-cell-independent antiviral B cell responses in CD45-deficient mice. Cell Immunol, 175 (1), pp. 12-15. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD45 is expressed on all B cells and has been reported to be essential for their B cell receptor mediated stimulation. The present study addressed T-cell-independent B cell responses in CD45-deficient mice using the glycoprotein (G) of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) as a model antigen. VSV-G exists in two forms exhibiting different degrees of repetitiveness. In mice, the two forms of VSV-G induce either a type 1 or a type 2 T-cell-independent B cell response. We found that CD45-deficient mice mounted T-cell-independent B cell responses to both forms of VSV-G. This demonstrates that the B cell receptor complex is able to generate a functional signal in the absence of CD45, provided the cross-linking stimulus is sufficiently strong.

Bachmann MF, Zinkernagel RM. 1997. Neutralizing antiviral B cell responses. Annu Rev Immunol, 15 (1), pp. 235-270. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neutralizing antiviral B cell responses differ in various aspects from the many usually measured B cell responses specific for protein in adjuvants. In particular, such neutralizing antiviral B cell responses are more rapidly induced, reach higher titers, are longer lived, and are efficiently generated without adjuvants. Evidence is summarized here that the repetitiveness of many viral antigens is a key factor responsible for the efficiency of these B cell responses, amplifying B cells early and rapidly for potent IgM responses and also for efficient switching to IgG. The data reviewed indicate that B cells discriminate antigen patterns via the degree of surface Ig-cross-linking and use antigen repetitiveness as a self/nonself discriminator.

Bachmann MF, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. The influence of virus structure on antibody responses and virus serotype formation. Immunol Today, 17 (12), pp. 553-558. | Read more

Speiser DE, Sebzda E, Ohteki T, Bachmann MF, Pfeffer K, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1996. Tumor necrosis factor receptor p55 mediates deletion of peripheral cytotoxic T lymphocytes in vivo. Eur J Immunol, 26 (12), pp. 3055-3060. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cellular death of activated lymphocytes down-regulates immune responses and is involved in maintaining self tolerance. Signals associated with ligation of the membrane molecule Fas lead to lymphocyte apoptosis, but additional, Fas-independent mechanisms have been postulated. Here, we show a marked expansion and prolonged persistence of functional activated cytotoxic T cells in mice lacking the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor p55. In the absence of this receptor, peripheral lymphocyte apoptosis was significantly reduced in vivo. The prolonged thymocyte survival was associated with functional anergy, since the T cells no longer proliferated in vitro when stimulated with peptide antigen. However, specific cytotoxic effector function was easily detected in vitro. We conclude that the TNF receptor p55 is involved in peripheral T cell deletion in vivo.

Bachmann MF, Lutz MB, Layton GT, Harris SJ, Fehr T, Rescigno M, Ricciardi-Castagnoli P. 1996. Dendritic cells process exogenous viral proteins and virus-like particles for class I presentation to CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Eur J Immunol, 26 (11), pp. 2595-2600. | Show Abstract | Read more

Previous reports have indicated that both dendritic cells and macrophages have the ability to induce cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) and T helper (Th) cell responses in vivo. Dendritic cells process exogenous antigens conventionally for presentation on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules. However, unconventional processing of exogenous antigens in vitro for presentation on MHC class I molecules is still an open question. In this study, we report that a cloned dendritic cell line (D2SC/1) is able to present cell debris-associated exogenous viral proteins to MHC class I-restricted CTL in vitro. The dendritic cell line was very efficient in processing recombinant lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus nucleoprotein (LCMV NP) and presenting the class I-restricted epitope to CTL primed in vivo. Peritoneal macrophages could also process the recombinant LCMV NP for subsequent MHC class I presentation, but were less efficient compared to the dendritic cells. Furthermore, recombinant yeast-derived virus-like particles carrying the HIV-1 V3 loop (V3-VLP), which are protenaceous and do not contain any lipid, were also found to be efficiently processed by the dendritic cell line for presentation of the class I-restricted epitope. These results clearly indicate that viral proteins, in particulate form or associated with cell debris, are processed by dendritic cells for CTL induction.

Holtschke T, Löhler J, Kanno Y, Fehr T, Giese N, Rosenbauer F, Lou J, Knobeloch KP, Gabriele L, Waring JF et al. 1996. Immunodeficiency and chronic myelogenous leukemia-like syndrome in mice with a targeted mutation of the ICSBP gene. Cell, 87 (2), pp. 307-317. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interferon consensus sequence binding protein (ICSBP) is a transcription factor of the interferon (IFN) regulatory factor (IRF) family. Mice with a null mutation of ICSBP exhibit two prominent phenotypes related to previously described activities of the IRF family. The first is enhanced susceptibility to virus infections associated with impaired production of IFN(gamma). The second is deregulated hematopoiesis in both ICSBP-/- and ICSBP+/- mice that manifests as a syndrome similar to human chronic myelogenous leukemia. The chronic period of the disease progresses to a fatal blast crisis characterized by a clonal expansion of undifferentiated cells. Normal mice injected with cells from mice in blast crisis developed acute leukemia within 6 weeks of transfer. These results suggest a novel role for ICSBP in regulating the proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic progenitor cells.

Kündig TM, Bachmann MF, Oehen S, Hoffmann UW, Simard JJ, Kalberer CP, Pircher H, Ohashi PS, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. On the role of antigen in maintaining cytotoxic T-cell memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 93 (18), pp. 9716-9723. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study evaluated whether T-cell memory reflects increased precursor frequencies of specific long-lived T cells and/or a low-level immune response against some form of persistent antigen. Antivirally protective CD8+ T-cell memory was analyzed mostly in the original vaccinated host to assess the role of antigen in its maintenance. T-cell mediated resistance against reinfection was measured in the spleen and in peripheral solid organs with protocols that excluded protection by antibodies. In vivo protection was compared with detectable cytotoxic T-lymphocyte precursor frequencies determined in vitro. In the spleen, in vitro detectable cytotoxic T-lymphocyte precursor frequencies remained stable independently of antigen, conferring resistance against viral replication in the spleen during reinfection. In contrast, T-cell mediated resistance against reinfection of peripheral solid organs faded away in an antigen-dependent fashion within a few days or weeks. We show that only memory T cells persistently or freshly activated with antigen efficiently extravasate into peripheral organs, where cytotoxic T lymphocytes must be able to exert effector function immediately; both the capacity to extravasate and to rapidly exert effector function critically depend on restimulation by antigen. Our experiments document that the duration of T-cell memory protective against peripheral reinfection depended on the antigen dose used for immunization, was prolonged when additional antigen was provided, and was abrogated after removal of antigen. We conclude that T-cell mediated protective immunity against the usual peripheral routes of reinfection is antigen-dependent.

Bründler MA, Aichele P, Bachmann M, Kitamura D, Rajewsky K, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. Immunity to viruses in B cell-deficient mice: influence of antibodies on virus persistence and on T cell memory. Eur J Immunol, 26 (9), pp. 2257-2262. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mice rendered B cell deficient by targeted disruption of the immunoglobulin mu chain gene (IgM-/- mice) were used to analyze the role of antibodies and B cells in viral infections; homozygous IgM-/- mice were bred in a way to avoid transmission of maternal antibodies. After infection with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), IgM-/- mice developed paralytic disease and subsequently died, whereas C57BL/6 control mice or IgM-/- mice passively protected with VSV-neutralizing antibodies survived. Furthermore, IgM-/- mice showed increased natural killer (NK) activity upon exposure to either lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or to poly(I).poly(C), while NK activity in untreated IgM-/- mice was within normal ranges. Cytotoxic T cell responses were comparable in IgM-/- and control mice infected either with VSV or with vaccinia virus or with low doses of LCMV (10(2) infectious focus-forming units [ifu]). After intracerebral infection with LCMV-Armstrong, CD8+ T cell-mediated lethal lymphocytic choriomeningitis developed independently of the presence of B cells and antibodies. After infection with high doses (2 x 10(6) - 5 x 10(6) ifu) of LCMV-WE or LCMV-Docile, IgM-/- mice exhibited a reduced capacity to control these primary infections and had elevated virus titers for prolonged times (> 60 days). Nevertheless, the cytotoxic T cell response against LCMV in the early phase of infection was comparable in IgM-/- and control mice, but disappeared in those IgM-/- mice which had a persistent viral infection. Cytotoxic T cell memory was apparently unimpaired in low-dose-primed IgM-/- mice, which were able to control the primary virus infection; both IgM-/- and control mice cleared a high intravenous dose of virus within 2 days after challenge infection. This indicates that an efficient T cell memory against LCMV was established in the absence of B cells.

Bachmann MF, Sebzda E, Kündig TM, Shahinian A, Speiser DE, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1996. T cell responses are governed by avidity and co-stimulatory thresholds. Eur J Immunol, 26 (9), pp. 2017-2022. | Show Abstract | Read more

We analyzed the avidity and CD28-mediated co-stimulatory requirements for the activation of T cells in vivo and in vitro. The strength of the T cell/antigen-presenting cell interaction was varied by using altered peptide ligands for stimulation. Co-stimulatory requirements were studied using T cells from CD28-deficient mice. The results indicate that T cell activation is not an all-or-nothing event, but occurs in distinct steps. For each step, a certain avidity, co-stimulatory threshold or both, must be met. Depending upon the strength of the interaction between the T cell receptor and the major histocompatibility complex/peptide and the presence of CD28 co-stimulatory signals, T cells may undergo blast formation alone or proliferate or eventually both proliferate and differentiate to effector cells. Thus, T cell activation is governed by both avidity and co-stimulatory thresholds.

Kündig TM, Shahinian A, Kawai K, Mittrücker HW, Sebzda E, Bachmann MF, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1996. Duration of TCR stimulation determines costimulatory requirement of T cells. Immunity, 5 (1), pp. 41-52. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current models suggest that T cells that receive only signal-1 through antigenic stimulation of the T cell receptor (TCR) become anergic, but will mount an immune response when a costimulatory signal-2 is provided. Using mice deficient for an important costimulatory molecule, CD28, we show that a transient signal-1 alone, either through infection with an abortively replicating virus, or through injection of viral peptide, anergizes CD8+ T cells, demonstrating the biological relevance of T cell anergy in vivo. However, in the absence of CD28, continued presence of signal-1 alone, either through prolonged viral replication or repeated injection of peptide, prevents the induction of anergy and generates a functional T cell response in vivo.

Bachmann MF, Odermatt B, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. Induction of long-lived germinal centers associated with persisting antigen after viral infection. J Exp Med, 183 (5), pp. 2259-2269. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) induces an early T cell-independent neutralizing lgM response that is followed by a long-lived, T cell-dependent lgG response. We used the specific amplification factor of several 100x of VSV-virions for immunohistology to analyze the localization of VSV-specific B cells at different time points after immunization. At the peak of the IgM response (day 4), VSV-specific B cells were predominantly present in the red pulp and marginal zone but not in the T area. These B cells were mostly stained in the cytoplasm, characterizing them as antibody secreting cells. By day 6 after immunization, germinal centers (GC) containing surface-stained VSV-specific B cells became detectable and were fully established by day 12. At the same time, large VSV-specific B cell aggregates were present in the red pulp. High numbers of VSV-specific GC associated with persisting antigen were present 1 mo after immunization and later, i.e., considerably longer than has been observed for haptens. Some GC, exhibiting follicular dendritic cells and containing VSV-specific, proliferating B cells were still detectable up to 100 d after immunization. Long-lived GC were also observed after immunization with recombinant VSV-glycoprotein in absence of adjuvants. Thus some anti-virally protective (memory) B cells are cycling and locally proliferate in long-lived GC in association with persisting antigen and therefore seem responsible for long-term maintenance of elevated antibody levels. These observations extend earlier studies with carrier hapten antigens in adjuvant depots or complexed with specific IgG; they are the first to show colocalization of antigen and specific memory B cells and to analyze a protective neutralizing antibody response against an acute viral infection.

Oxenius A, Campbell KA, Maliszewski CR, Kishimoto T, Kikutani H, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM, Bachmann MF. 1996. CD40-CD40 ligand interactions are critical in T-B cooperation but not for other anti-viral CD4+ T cell functions. J Exp Med, 183 (5), pp. 2209-2218. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD40-CD40 ligand (CD40L) interaction is required for the generation of antibody responses to T-dependent antigens as well as for the development of germinal centers and memory B cells. The role of the CD40-CD40L interaction in the induction of antigen-specific. Th cells and in mediating Th cell effector functions other than cognate help for B cells is less well understood. Using CD40- and CD40L-deficient mice together with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus and vesicular stomatitis virus as viral model antigens, this study corroborates earlier findings that no lg isotype switching of virus-specific antibodies was measurable upon infection of CD40- or CD40L-deficient mice. In contrast, in vivo induction of virus-specific CD4+ T cells measured by proliferation and cytokine secretion of primed virus-specific Th cells in vitro was not crucially dependent on the CD40-CD40L interaction. In addition, virus-specific Th cells primed in a CD40-deficient environment, adoptively transferred into CD40-competent recipients, were able to mediate lg isotype switch. Th-mediated effector functions distinct from and in addition to T-B collaboration were analyzed in CD40- and CD40L-deficient and normal mice: (a) local inflammatory reactions upon LCMV infection mediated by LCMV-specific Th cells were not dependent on a functional CD40-CD40L interaction, (b) cytokine-mediated protection by CD4+ T cells primed by vesicular stomatitis virus against a challenge infection with recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the glycoprotein of vesicular stomatitis virus was found to be equivalent in CD40L-deficient and normal mice. Thus, CD40-CD40L interaction plays a crucial role in T-B interactions for Th-dependent activation of B cells but not, or to a much lesser extent, in T cell activation, antigen-specific Th cell responses in vitro, and for interleukin-mediated Th cell effector functions in vivo.

Bachmann MF, Sebzda E, Kuendig TM, Shahinian A, Speiser D, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1996. T cell responses are governed by avidity and costimulatory thresholds FASEB JOURNAL, 10 (6), pp. 2612-2612.

Schmits R, Kündig TM, Baker DM, Shumaker G, Simard JJ, Duncan G, Wakeham A, Shahinian A, van der Heiden A, Bachmann MF et al. 1996. LFA-1-deficient mice show normal CTL responses to virus but fail to reject immunogenic tumor. J Exp Med, 183 (4), pp. 1415-1426. | Show Abstract | Read more

The leukocyte integrin LFA-1 (CD11a/CD18) plays an important role in lymphocyte recirculation and homotypic interactions. Leukocytes from mice lacking CD11a displayed defects in in vitro homotypic aggregation, in proliferation in mixed lymphocyte reactions, and in response to mitogen. Mutant mice mounted normal cytotoxic T cell (CTL) responses against systemic LCMV and VSV infections and showed normal ex vivo CTL function. However, LFA-1-deficient mice did not reject immunogenic tumors grafted into footpads and did not demonstrate priming response against tumor-specific antigen. Thus CD11a deficiency causes a selective defect in induction of peripheral immune responses whereas responses to systemic infection are normal.

Kündig TM, Bachmann MF, Ohashi PS, Pircher H, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. On T cell memory: arguments for antigen dependence. Immunol Rev, 150 (1), pp. 63-90. | Show Abstract | Read more

Memory is a hallmark of the immune system. Considerable progress has been made towards understanding B cell memory, but T cell memory remains poorly understood and its nature is controversial. There is good evidence that B cell memory is driven by antigen, but the antigen dependence of T cell memory is still being debated. For several years we have investigated the nature, duration and antigen dependence of different aspects of CD8+ T cell memory and this review will discuss our findings as well as how and why they differ from some other results. As others, we find that antigen, due to proliferation of antigen-specific T cell clones, induces a shift in the T cell repertoire which remains detectable for years as an elevated cytotoxic T cell precursor frequency (CTLp) in lymphoid organs. Also in the absence of antigen, in vitro assays for T cell memory which invariably isolate memory T cells from these lymphoid organs therefore remain positive. In contrast, immunity against reinfection with a pathogen requires more than just elevated numbers of CTLp in lymphoid organs. Since reinfection usually takes place via peripheral nonlymphoid tissue, these CTLp have to a) efficiently extravasate and patrol through such tissues, and b) be immediately able to exert effector function in case of reinfection. Both functions, require a certain level of activation which critically depends on T cell stimulation by persisting antigen.

Fehr T, Bachmann MF, Bluethmann H, Kikutani H, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. T-independent activation of B cells by vesicular stomatitis virus: no evidence for the need of a second signal. Cell Immunol, 168 (2), pp. 184-192. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) induces a T helper cell-independent IgM antibody response, whereas the IgG response is strictly T helper cell dependent. Since VSV induces B cells in complete absence of T helper cells, the question arises as to whether this induction occurs in the absence of a second signal or whether it depends upon an alternative or replacing signal 2. We therefore asked whether VSV has polyclonal B cell stimulator activity and/or whether B cell induction by VSV needs costimulation via complement or tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor or by natural killer (NK) cell activity. In vitro B cell proliferation assays and analysis of the in vivo antibody response in CD40-deficient mice excluded that VSV has properties of a polyclonal B cell stimulator. C3 depletion by cobra venom factor and application of anti-complement receptor antibodies showed that the T-independent IgM response was largely C3-independent except under very limiting antigen doses. Immunization of TNF receptor-deficient mice showed a normal anti-VSV IgM response, and in a cytotoxicity assay on YAC target cells there was no evidence of NK cell activation by VSV. Thus, VSV seems to induce B cells without polyclonal activation and/or C3, TNF, or NK cells functioning as a replacing second signal.

Battegay M, Bachmann MF, Burhkart C, Viville S, Benoist C, Mathis D, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. Antiviral immune responses of mice lacking MHC class II or its associated invariant chain. Cell Immunol, 167 (1), pp. 115-121. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction of T-helper cells and T-B cell interaction have been considered to critically depend upon recognition of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules by the T cell receptor. Mice lacking either MHC class II molecules (class II(0/0) mice) or its associated invariant chain (Ii0/0 mice) provide new opportunities to test this premise. Immune responses to some protein antigens have been studied in these mice; little is known about their ability to withstand viral infections. We therefore tested CD8+ effector T cells and CD4+ T-cell-dependent B cell function during different viral infections. The vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-specific primary cytotoxic T cell response which is largely T-helper-dependent was diminished in Ii(0/0) and absent in class II(0/0) mice. The usually less T-helper-dependent cytotoxic vaccinia or lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific CD8+ T cell responses were reduced up to ninefold in class II(0/0) and up to threefold in Ii(0/0) mice. In class II(0/0) mice, the T-helper-independent neutralizing IgM response against the glycoprotein of VSV was within normal ranges but, in contrast to previous results on CD4(0/0) mice, the T-helper-dependent IgG response was absent. Ii(0/0) mice exhibited a normal neutralizing IgM response; in contrast to class II(0/0) mice, they mounted a significant, though reduced specific IgG response. Similar results were obtained for antibody responses against the nucleoprotein of VSV. Although the T-helper-cell response upon infection with VSV seemed diminished only a little in Ii(0/0) mice, presentation of VSV-G to a class II-restricted specific hybridoma was greater than 300-fold reduced in the absence of Ii. This suggests that local protein concentrations reached during viral infection in the host are high enough to override the Ii deficiency of antigen-presenting cells in vivo.

Zinkernagel RM, Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Oehen S, Pirchet H, Hengartner H. 1996. On immunological memory. Annu Rev Immunol, 14 (1), pp. 333-367. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunological memory is a hallmark of the immune system. Evolution can teach us which effector arms of immunological memory are biologically relevant against which virus. Antibodies appear to be the critical protective mechanism against cytopathic viruses. Since these viruses cause cell damage and disease directly, particularly in the absence of an immune response, mothers protect their offspring during a critical immunoincompetent period (a consequence of MHC- restricted T cell recognition) by passive transfer of neutralizing antibodies. In contrast, CTL appear to be the crucial effector mechanism against noncytopathic viruses. Since MHC polymorphism has made vertical transmission of T cell memory impossible, immunoincompetent offspring are not, and need not be, protected against such noncytopathic viruses. During the primary response and again during secondary infection, the most important function of CTL is to eliminate noncytopathic viruses, which may otherwise cause lethal immunopathology. Increased precursor frequencies of B and T cells appear to remain in the host independent of antigen persistence. However, in order to protect against cytopathic viruses, memory B cells have to produce antibody to maintain protective elevated levels of antibody; B cell differentiation into plasma cells is driven by persisting antigen. Similarly, to protect against infection with a noncytopathic virus, CTL have to recirculate through peripheral organs. Activation and capacity to emigrate into solid tissues as well as cytolytic effector function are also dependent upon, and driven by, persisting antigen. Because no convincing evidence is available yet of the existence of identifiable B or T cells with specialized memory characteristics, the phenotype of immunological memory correlates best with antigen-driven activation of low frequency effector T cells and plasma cells.

Aichele P, Bachmann MF, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. Immunopathology or organ-specific autoimmunity as a consequence of virus infection. Immunol Rev, 152 (1), pp. 21-45. | Read more




Kündig TM, Bachmann MF, Ohashi PS, Pircher H, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1996. On T Cell Memory: Arguments for Antigen Dependence Immunological Reviews, (150), pp. 62-90. | Show Abstract

Memory is a hallmark of the immune system. Considerable progress has been made towards understanding B cell memory, but T cell memory remains poorly understood and its nature is controversial. There is good evidence that B cell memory is driven by antigen, but the antigen dependence of T cell memory is still being debated. For several years we have investigated the nature, duration and antigen dependence of different aspects of CD8+ T cell memory and this review will discuss our findings as well as how and why they differ from some other results. As others, we find that antigen, due to proliferation of antigen-specific T cell clones, induces a shift in the T cell repertoire which remains detectable for years as an elevated cytotoxic T cell precursor frequency (CTLp) in lymphoid organs. Also in the absence of antigen, in vitro assays for T cell memory which invariably isolate memory T cells from these lymphoid organs therefore remain positive. In contrast, immunity against reinfection with a pathogen requires more than just elevated numbers of CTLp in lymphoid organs. Since reinfection usually takes place via peripheral non-lymphoid tissue, these CTLp have to a) efficiently extravasate and patrol through such tissues, and b) be immediately able to exert effector function in case of reinfection. Both functions, require a certain level of activation which critically depends on T cell stimulation by persisting antigen.

Speiser DE, Sebzda E, Ohteki T, Bachmann MF, Mak TW, Ohashi PS. 1996. TNF receptor p55 mediates peripheral cytotoxic T cell deletion. FASEB JOURNAL, 10 (6), pp. 225-225. | Show Abstract

Antigen driven lymphocyte expansion is limited by cell death in peripheral lymphoid tissues avoiding overwhelming immune responses and autoimmunity. Signals associated with ligation of Fas can lead to lymphocyte apoptosis, but further, Fas-independent mechanisms have been postulated. Recent in vitro experiments demonstrated a role for tumor necrosis factor (TNF). In mice transgenic for the T cell receptor (TCR) specific for H-2D& and the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein aa 33-41 (GP33) we injected the peptide GP33 in BSS i.v. After nine days, the majority of CTLs were deleted in mice with a functional TNF receptor p55. In contrast, TNF receptor p55 deficient mice showed continued expansion of activated cytotoxic T cells (CTL) in spleen, lymph nodes and liver. The peripheral T cells reached three times the normal numbers nine days after immunization, then they stopped to proliferate and could not be restimulated with antigen in vitro. Thus, the prolonged lymphocyte survival was associated with functional anergy. The data demonstrate a role for TNF receptor p55 in peripheral T cell deletion and suggests that the cytotoxic activity of TNF may help to control immune responses.

Bachmann MF, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1995. T helper cell-independent neutralizing B cell response against vesicular stomatitis virus: role of antigen patterns in B cell induction? Eur J Immunol, 25 (12), pp. 3445-3451. | Show Abstract | Read more

The neutralizing antibody response against vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was studied to analyze conditions necessary for induction of mature B cells. The glycoprotein of VSV (VSV-G) is expressed as repetitive epitopes that are in a rigid densely packed paracristalline form in the virus envelope; in contrast, VSV-G is present in a mobile randomly ordered form on infected cells and in micelles. We found that the rigid, paracristalline form of VSV-G spaced about 5-10 mm on VSV virons induced potent primary and secondary neutralizing B cell responses which were independent of T helper cells, whereas the more randomly distributed, mobile forms of VSV-G induced primary and secondary B cell responses that were more tightly controlled by T helper cells. These data suggest that (i) cross-linking is a critical signal for B cell activation and antibody production, and that this signal alone does not necessarily anergize or delete mature B cells, (ii) the more regularly and rigidly ordered in a distance of 5-10 nm repetitive identical antigenic determinants are, the less are primary and secondary B cell responses controlled by T cells. We therefore propose that B cells take antigen organization as a marker for foreigness.

Oxenius A, Bachmann MF, Ashton-Rickardt PG, Tonegawa S, Zinkernagel RM, Hengartner H. 1995. Presentation of endogenous viral proteins in association with major histocompatibility complex class II: on the role of intracellular compartmentalization, invariant chain and the TAP transporter system. Eur J Immunol, 25 (12), pp. 3402-3411. | Show Abstract | Read more

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-associated antigen presentation is mainly linked to processing of exogenous antigens upon cellular uptake by endocytosis, but has also been observed for endogenously synthesized antigens. We have studied the MHC class II-associated presentation of the endogenously synthesized membrane associated glycoprotein (GP) and the cytosolic nucleoprotein (NP) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) in professional antigen presenting cells (APC) of mice. Since LCMV is a noncytopathic virus and minimally affects cellular protein synthesis, it is a convenient virus for the study of antigen presentation. In contrast, most other studies assessing class II-associated presentation of endogeneously synthesized viral antigens used cytolytic viruses such as vaccinia, measles and influenza virus, which drastically interfere with host cell functions. In addition, most studies were performed using non-professional APC. We found that class II-associated presentation of endogenously synthesized membrane associated LCMV-GP was efficient and could not be inhibited by chloroquine or leupeptin. Neither the transporter associated with processing (TAP) system nor the invariant chain (Ii) were significantly involved in this process. In contrast, MHC class II-associated presentation of endogenously synthesized cytosolic LCMV-NP was not observed even in Ii-deficient APC. Thus, MHC class II loading of endogenously synthesized LCMV-GP apparently does not require processing in acidic endosomal compartments as defined by chloroquine and leupeptin insensitivity. Furthermore, although the TAP molecules transport peptides of up to 15 amino acids in length, which potentially could bind to MHC class II molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum, such a process apparently does not occur for either the glycoprotein or the nucleoprotein. Therefore, the subcellular localization of an endogenously synthesized protein influences crucially whether or not MHC class II loading can occur independently of the acidic compartments usually involved in MHC class II loading.

Gilfillan S, Bachmann M, Trembleau S, Adorini L, Kalinke U, Zinkernagel R, Benoist C, Mathis D. 1995. Efficient immune responses in mice lacking N-region diversity. Eur J Immunol, 25 (11), pp. 3115-3122. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mice with a null mutation in the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) gene harbor immunoglobulin and T cell receptor repertoires essentially devoid of N-region diversity. Consequently, the CDR3 loops important for antigen recognition are shorter and considerably less diverse than those of wild-type controls. We find surprisingly normal immune responses in TdT0 mice, as regards both efficiency and specificity. This provokes a reconsideration of the assumption that N-region diversity is required for an effective T and B cell repertoire.

Bachmann MF, Oxenius A, Mak TW, Zinkernagel RM. 1995. T cell development in CD8-/- mice. Thymic positive selection is biased toward the helper phenotype. J Immunol, 155 (8), pp. 3727-3733. | Show Abstract

The CD4 and CD8 molecules are involved in T cell differentiation and activation. Nevertheless, efficient thymic maturation of helper T cells has been shown in the absence of the CD4 molecule. These CD4-deficient helper T cells expressed alpha beta-TCR and were able to control Leishmania infections and to mediate Ab class switch. Using mice deficient for the CD8 alpha-chain, we investigated whether a similar cytotoxic T cell population was generated in the absence of the CD8 coreceptor. A CD8-deficient cytotoxic T cell population corresponding to the described CD4-deficient helper T cell population was virtually absent both functionally and physically. These results support the idea that thymic maturation is asymmetrical and strongly biased toward the helper phenotype.

Bachmann MF, Schorle H, Kühn R, Müller W, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM, Horak I. 1995. Antiviral immune responses in mice deficient for both interleukin-2 and interleukin-4. J Virol, 69 (8), pp. 4842-4846. | Show Abstract

Antiviral immune responses of mice lacking interleukin-2 (IL-2) or IL-4 or both IL-2 and IL-4 (IL-2/4) were compared by using different viruses. Primary cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses against lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) were only moderately reduced in mice lacking IL-2 and were normal in mice lacking IL-4. Mice deficient in both interleukins exhibited variable and more strongly reduced but nevertheless in vivo protective LCMV-specific CTL responses. Similar results were obtained with vaccinia virus. Upon virus-specific restimulation in vitro, spleen cells from IL-2- and IL-2/4-deficient mice failed to generate CTL responses against virus-infected target cells, whereas the response of mice deficient in only IL-4 was comparable to that of control mice. The addition of IL-2 during in vitro restimulation completely restored the responses of both IL-2 and IL-2/4-deficient mice. T-helper-cell-independent immunoglobulin M and T-helper-cell-dependent immunoglobulin G antibody responses against vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein were within normal ranges for the various mutant mice. After LCMV infection, specific antibody responses against LCMV nucleoprotein were reduced four- to eightfold. These results show that mice lacking IL-2/4 have an overall tendency to exhibit more severely reduced CTL responses than IL-2- or IL-4-deficient mice. Nevertheless, and surprisingly, in vivo protective immune responses were mounted in the absence of IL-2/4, suggesting that besides a minor contribution from IL-4, other interleukins compensate in vivo for the lack of IL-2 in IL-2-deficient mice.

Kündig TM, Bachmann MF, DiPaolo C, Simard JJ, Battegay M, Lother H, Gessner A, Kühlcke K, Ohashi PS, Hengartner H. 1995. Fibroblasts as efficient antigen-presenting cells in lymphoid organs. Science, 268 (5215), pp. 1343-1347. | Show Abstract | Read more

Only so-called "professional" antigen-presenting cells (APCs) of hematopoietic origin are believed capable of inducing T lymphocyte responses. However, fibroblasts transfected with viral proteins directly induced antiviral cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses in vivo, without involvement of host APCs. Fibroblasts induced T cells only in the milieu of lymphoid organs. Thus, antigen localization affects self-nonself discrimination and cell-based vaccine strategies.

Bachmann MF, Oxenius A, Pircher H, Hengartner H, Ashton-Richardt PA, Tonegawa S, Zinkernagel RM. 1995. TAP1-independent loading of class I molecules by exogenous viral proteins. Eur J Immunol, 25 (6), pp. 1739-1743. | Show Abstract | Read more

Presentation of peptides derived from endogenous proteins on class I molecules needs functional TAP peptide transporters. To reveal whether class I-associated presentation of exogenous proteins also required the presence of TAP transporters, we assessed in vitro the ability of spleen cells and macrophages from TAP1-deficient mice (TAP1-/-) to present peptides derived from exogenous recombinant viral proteins on their class I molecules. We found that recombinant glyco- and nucleoprotein from lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus and nucleoprotein of vesicular stomatitis virus were presented as efficiently by TAP1-/- cells as by control cells. Peptide regurgitation was not involved. Since particulate, non-replicating antigens can efficiently prime anti-viral cytotoxic T cells in vivo, this new, TAP-independent pathway of class I-associated antigen presentation may be applicable for vaccine strategies.


Bachmann M, Conscience JF, Probstmeier R, Carbonetto S, Schachner M. 1995. Recognition molecules myelin-associated glycoprotein and tenascin-C inhibit integrin-mediated adhesion of neural cells to collagen. J Neurosci Res, 40 (4), pp. 458-470. | Show Abstract | Read more

Because of the importance of collagens in mediating cell-substrate interactions and the association of collagens with neural recognition molecules in the peripheral nervous system, the ability of neural recognition molecules to modify the substrate properties of collagens, in particular collagen type I, for cell adhesion was determined. Two cell lines, the N2A neuroblastoma and PC12 pheochromocytoma, were investigated for their capacity to adhere to different collagen types in the absence or presence of several neural recognition molecules. Adhesion of N2A or PC12 cells and membrane vesicles from PC12 cells to collagen type I was reduced when the collagen had been preincubated prior to its application as substrate with the extracellular domain of myelin-associated glycoprotein (s-MAG) or, as control, fibroblast tenascin-C (F-tenascin). In mixture with other collagen types, s-MAG was only able to reduce the adhesiveness of collagen types III and V, but not of collagen types II and IV. F-tenascin reduced the adhesiveness of all collagen types tested. In contrast to F-tenascin, s-MAG had to be present during fibrillogenesis to exert its effect, indicating that it must be coassembled into the collagen fibril to block the binding site. Cell adhesion to collagen type I was dependent on Mg2+ or Mn2+ and inhibited by a monoclonal antibody to the alpha 1 integrin subunit. The combined observations indicate that s-MAG and F-tenascin interfere with cell binding, most probably by modifying the integrin binding site, and that the two molecules act by different mechanisms, both leading to reduction of adhesion.

Roost HP, Bachmann MF, Haag A, Kalinke U, Pliska V, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1995. Early high-affinity neutralizing anti-viral IgG responses without further overall improvements of affinity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 92 (5), pp. 1257-1261. | Show Abstract | Read more

Affinity maturation of IgG antibodies in adaptive immune responses is a well-accepted mechanism to improve effector functions of IgG within 2 weeks to several months of antigen encounter. This concept has been defined mainly for IgG responses against chemically defined haptens. We have evaluated this concept in a viral system and analyzed neutralizing IgG antibody responses against vesicular stomatitis virus (a close relative of rabies virus) with a panel of monoclonal antibodies obtained early (day 6 or 12) and late (day 150) after hyperimmunization. These neutralizing IgG antibodies recognize a single major antigenic site with high affinities (Ka of 10(8)-10(10) liter.mol-1) and with rapid on-rates already on day 6 of a primary response and with no evidence for further antigen dose- and time-dependent overall improvement of affinity. This type of IgG response is probably representative for viruses or bacterial toxins which are crucially controlled by neutralizing antibodies.


Bachmann MF, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. Immunization with recombinant protein: conditions for cytotoxic T cell and/or antibody induction. Med Microbiol Immunol, 183 (6), pp. 315-324. | Show Abstract | Read more

Safe vaccines should optimally induce both cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Recently, it has been shown that protective cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) can be induced not only with live vaccines, but also with recombinant viral proteins. This report shows in C57BL/6 (H-2b) mice that the recombinant nucleoprotein (N) of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) induced protective CTLs but no neutralizing antibodies in mice, whereas the recombinant glycoprotein (G) of VSV alone induced neutralizing antibodies but no CTLs. If the N and G of VSV were coinjected, both CTLs and a long-lasting neutralizing IgG response was measurable, demonstrating that mixed vaccines can be used to induce protective CTLs and antibodies with an efficiency comparable to live virus. In an attempt to define optimal conditions for CTL priming, the intravenous, intraperitoneal and subcutaneous route of injection were compared. Intravenous injection of recombinant VSV-N induced up to 30 times higher responses than the latter two routes. Finally, we tried to define conditions inducing only CTLs and no antibodies binding to the native protein form, or vice versa, only antibodies and no CTLs. Intravenous injection of boiled VSV-N induced a CTL response but no antibodies specific for the native VSV-N, whereas VSV-N injected subcutaneously in incomplete Freund's adjuvant induced high amounts of anti-VSV-N antibodies but virtually no CTLs. The conditions defined here permit vaccines to be designed which would function along selected and defined immunological effector pathways.

Bachmann MF, Rohrer UH, Steinhoff U, Bürki K, Skuntz S, Arnheiter H, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. T helper cell unresponsiveness: rapid induction in antigen-transgenic and reversion in non-transgenic mice. Eur J Immunol, 24 (12), pp. 2966-2973. | Show Abstract | Read more

T cell tolerance is usually established by clonal deletion of self-specific T cells in the thymus, or some times, in the periphery. Alternatively, tolerance may also be achieved by induction of clonal T cell unresponsiveness by a poorly understood mechanism called "anergy". We found that transgenic mice expressing a soluble form of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) glycoprotein (G) predominantly in liver and kidney exhibited normal B cell responses. VSV-G-specific T help-independent neutralizing IgM responses were within normal ranges, but no T help-dependent neutralizing IgG antibodies were generated upon immunization with recombinant VSV-G protein and recombinant vaccinia virus expressing VSV-G. This demonstrated absence of B cell tolerance but presence of T helper cell unresponsiveness. After adoptive transfer of transgenic spleen cells into thymectomized immuno-incompetent hosts, the unresponsive T helper cells regained function and switched the neutralizing IgM response to IgG, comparably to control T helper cells, within 7 days. Conversely, when naive non-transgenic spleen cells were transferred into transgenic mice, VSV-G-specific T helper cells became unresponsive within 3-4 days. These results suggest that VSV-G-specific T helper cells are rendered unresponsive within a few days in the VSV-G transgenic host also outside of the thymus and that this unresponsiveness was reversed by transfer into antigen-free recipients.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Odermatt B, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. Free recirculation of memory B cells versus antigen-dependent differentiation to antibody-forming cells. J Immunol, 153 (8), pp. 3386-3397. | Show Abstract

This study investigated whether or not the localization of persisting Ag influenced the localization of memory B and/or of Ab-forming cells (AFC). As a model Ag, we used vesicular stomatitis virus, which does not measurably replicate extraneuronally in adult mice after peripheral infection. Our results show that memory B cells and AFC are induced at the site where Ag is present; induced memory B cells then recirculate throughout the lymphoid system independently of Ag localization. In contrast, AFC are induced only at the sites of Ag persistence. These triggered Ab producing cells do not recirculate through the lymphoid tissue but migrate to the bone marrow.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. Regulation of IgG antibody titers by the amount persisting of immune-complexed antigen. Eur J Immunol, 24 (10), pp. 2567-2570. | Show Abstract | Read more

Antigens normally induce an immunoglobulin (Ig)G response which stays at an elevated level for several weeks or months, constituting an important part of the immunological memory. This study investigated factors influencing the level of neutralizing IgG titers against a virus and shows that within the range tested it was independent of the number of initially available and potentially responding T helper and B cells, but was regulated by the amount of specific IgG-immune complexes forming depots of persisting antigen. These findings support the notion that the efficiency of vaccines in inducing long-lasting protective IgG is regulated predominantly by the amount of persisting (and presumably follicular dendritic cell-associated) antigen-antibody complexes.

Rahemtulla A, Kündig TM, Narendran A, Bachmann MF, Julius M, Paige CJ, Ohashi PS, Zinkernagel RM, Mak TW. 1994. Class II major histocompatibility complex-restricted T cell function in CD4-deficient mice. Eur J Immunol, 24 (9), pp. 2213-2218. | Show Abstract | Read more

Previously, we and others have demonstrated that CD4-deficient mice have a normal number of T cells and B cells with a significant population of CD4-8-TcR alpha beta+ T cells. Surprisingly, however, these mice lacking CD4 show in vivo immunoglobulin isotype class switching from IgM to IgG in response to sheep erythrocytes and vesicular stomatitis virus. In this study we have depleted various subpopulations of T cells in vivo and shown that the population of CD4-8-TcR alpha beta+ T cells is responsible for providing "help" in the antibody response of CD4-deficient mice to vesicular stomatitis virus infection. We have used antigen-specific proliferation assays and blocking studies with class I and II major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-specific purified antibodies to show that these cells are class II MHC-restricted in responses against the T cell-dependent antigen keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH). Finally, phenotypic analysis of the CD4-CD8- thymocytes in CD4-deficient mice shows that these cells have a more mature phenotype than the CD4-8- thymocytes in wild type mice. These results indicate that CD4 is not absolutely necessary for positive selection or effector function of class II MHC-restricted helper T cells.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Freer G, Li Y, Kang CY, Bishop DH, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. Induction of protective cytotoxic T cells with viral proteins. Eur J Immunol, 24 (9), pp. 2228-2236. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction of CD8+, class I-restricted T cells by non-infectious, exogenous antigens has been documented for model protein antigens such as ovalbumin and for major histocompatibility complex restricted short peptides in viral and tumor systems. However, the protective capacity of cytotoxic T cells induced by conventional proteins has not been tested in vivo so far. We, therefore, evaluated the induction of protective cytotoxic T cells against three different full-length recombinant viral proteins derived from a baculovirus expression system, i.e. the glycoprotein and nucleoprotein of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and the nucleoprotein of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). These viral proteins induced cytotoxic T cells in a T helper cell-independent fashion which lysed infected target cells in vitro and protected mice from viral replication, immunopathological disease and growth of a tumor expressing the same antigen as a tumor antigen. These results are surprising, since it had been shown earlier for completely inactivated nonreplicating viral vaccines and again here for beta-propiolactone-inactivated VSV or UV-light inactivated LCMV that nonreplicating viral vaccines were incapable of inducing protective cytotoxic T cells. Our data show that immunization of mice with as little as 10 micrograms of non-infectious viral proteins triggered long-lasting CD8+ T cell-mediated antiviral immunity. It was found that the protein alone was only weakly able to induce cytotoxic T cells, and that association with cellular debris functioned as an adjuvant. These findings may be relevant for our understanding of the phenomenon of cross-priming and have obvious implications for vaccine strategies.

Freer G, Burkhart C, Ciernik I, Bachmann MF, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. Vesicular stomatitis virus Indiana glycoprotein as a T-cell-dependent and -independent antigen. J Virol, 68 (6), pp. 3650-3655. | Show Abstract

The neutralizing immunoglobulin M (IgM) response to vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has been shown to be largely T-cell independent in several T-cell-deficient models of mice. By using different antigen froms of VSV, VSV antigen doses could be graded in vivo (infectious > > UV inactivated > formalin inactivated). The present study reveals a T-cell-dependent component of the neutralizing IgM response in nude mice given intravenous injections of low doses of noninfectious UV-inactivated VSV serotype Indiana (VSV-IND) only if the mice are transfused with VSV-IND-specific helper T cells. Instead, nude mice immunized with infectious VSV, which leads to greater antigen doses in vivo, were able to mount an IgM response in the absence of T cells. These results indicate that the IgM response to low doses of VSV-IND glycoprotein (G) is T-cell dependent. Nude mice immunized with infectious VSV also made a variable but low VSV-IND-neutralizing IgG response. A VSV-IND matrix (M)-specific helper T-cell line rendered this response more consistent, much higher, and longer lasting. Thus (i) VSV-G induces a mostly T-cell-independent but partially T-cell-dependent IgM (the latter can be visualized best at low doses of antigen) and (ii) the antibody response to VSV in nude mice proceeds through steps, i.e., IgM and IgG, that are dose dependent. The results suggest that the predominant role of helper T cells may be to expand and maintain the individual steps of differentiating B cells.

Bachmann MF, Bast C, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. Immunogenicity of a viral model vaccine after different inactivation procedures. Med Microbiol Immunol, 183 (2), pp. 95-104. | Show Abstract | Read more

Various strategies for the production of safe vaccines have been used. This study compared three different inactivation procedures, i.e. treatment with formaldehyde, beta-propiolactone or UV-light using vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) as a model antigen. All three inactivation procedures drastically impaired induction of neutralizing IgG responses, confirming previous observations [Bachmann et al. (1993) J Virol 67:3917-3922]. This reduction could be overcome using higher doses for all three preparations. Both formaldehyde and beta-propiolactone completely abrogated the induction of VSV-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTLs), whereas UV-inactivated virus was able to induce significant and long-lasting CTL responses. These results may be of practical relevance since induction of neutralizing antibodies alone is often not sufficient for protection and sometimes may even enhance immunopathological responses of vaccinees.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Kalberer CP, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. How many specific B cells are needed to protect against a virus? J Immunol, 152 (9), pp. 4235-4241. | Show Abstract

The size of the Ab repertoire has been estimated to comprise theoretically somewhere between > 10(10) and approximately 10(4) specificities, dependent on the criteria used. In an attempt to estimate the anti-viral protective Ab repertoire of the mouse the B cell and Ab-forming cell (AFC) frequencies and protective neutralizing Ab levels during the course of an infection with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) were analyzed. Determination of AFC frequencies, limiting dilution assays, and adoptive transfer experiments to SCID mice revealed that during the acute phase (day 8) of the immune response, more than 50% of all IgG2a-producing AFCs were specific for VSV, most of them recognizing the neutralizing determinant. In a later phase (days 21 or 50), 10 to 20 times fewer VSV-specific AFCs were present, corresponding to a frequency of approximately 1:10(4) spleen cells. Finally, in a protection assay in SCID mice, adoptively transferred protective Ab concentrations were found to be approximately 1 to 10 micrograms Ab/ml mouse serum. Because during the memory phase of the anti-VSV response usually 10(4) AFC/mouse are engaged to maintain a high level of memory IgG against the neutralizing determinant on VSV and if one assumes a total number of about 10(6) AFCs/mouse, these data suggest a rather limited neutralizing anti-viral protective memory-AFC repertoire of 10(2) to 10(4) different specificities.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM. 1994. In vivo versus in vitro assays for assessment of T- and B- cell function. Curr Opin Immunol, 6 (2), pp. 320-326. | Show Abstract | Read more

As mice deficient in a particular gene provide an increasing number of novel in vivo models, in vivo assays that examine immune function are becoming a central issue. We found that the sensitivities of in vivo and in vitro assays are strikingly different. These differences have important implications for the interpretation and biological relevance of results.




Bachmann MF, Kundig TM, Freer G, Li Yan, Kang Chil Yong, Bishop DH, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1994. Induction of protective cytotoxic T cells with viral proteins European Journal of Immunology, 24 (9), pp. 2128-2136.

Bachmann MF, Rohrer UH, Kündig TM, Bürki K, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1993. The influence of antigen organization on B cell responsiveness. Science, 262 (5138), pp. 1448-1451. | Show Abstract | Read more

The influence of antigen epitope density and order on B cell induction and antibody production was assessed with the glycoprotein of vesicular stomatitis virus serotype Indiana [VSV-G (IND)]. VSV-G (IND) can be found in a highly repetitive form the envelope of VSV-IND and in a poorly organized form on the surface of infected cells. In VSV-G (IND) transgenic mice, B cells were unresponsive to the poorly organized VSV-G (IND) present as self antigen but responded promptly to the same antigen presented in the highly organized form. Thus, antigen organization influences B cell tolerance.

Kündig TM, Schorle H, Bachmann MF, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM, Horak I. 1993. Immune responses in interleukin-2-deficient mice. Science, 262 (5136), pp. 1059-1061. | Show Abstract | Read more

The role of costimulatory signals in T cell induction was evaluated in mice lacking the interleukin-2 (IL-2) gene. In vitro secondary antiviral T cell responses were absent unless IL-2 was added, confirming the crucial role of IL-2 in vitro. In vivo, primary and secondary cytotoxic T cell responses against vaccinia and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus were within normal ranges. B cell reactivity to vesicular stomatitis virus was not impaired. T helper cell responses were delayed but biologically functional. Natural killer cell activity was markedly reduced but inducible. These normal in vivo immune responses in IL-2-deficient mice question the importance of IL-2 as defined by in vitro studies.

Castelmur I, DiPaolo C, Bachmann MF, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM, Kündig TM. 1993. Comparison of the sensitivity of in vivo and in vitro assays for detection of antiviral cytotoxic T cell activity. Cell Immunol, 151 (2), pp. 460-466. | Show Abstract | Read more

Sensitivities of in vitro and in vivo assays for the detection of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific CTL were compared. Measurement of primary cytotoxicity was the least sensitive of all the tested assays. However, when the same 51Cr release assays were performed after in vitro restimulation, this in vitro method was found to be more sensitive than all of the five in vivo assays tested. Assessment of CTL-mediated protection against LCMV replication in spleens was most sensitive among the in vivo tests, followed by CTL-mediated resistance to intracerebral or intraperitoneal challenge infections with vaccinia-LCMV-recombinant virus. Inhibition of LCMV-induced choriomeningitis and of the footpad swelling reaction were least sensitive in detecting LCMV-specific CTL. As discussed, the presented sensitivity gradient may most probably be generalized.

Molina TJ, Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Zinkernagel RM, Mak TW. 1993. Peripheral T cells in mice lacking p56lck do not express significant antiviral effector functions. J Immunol, 151 (2), pp. 699-706. | Show Abstract

Mutant mice lacking p56lck, the T cell-specific protein tyrosine kinase, have a profound thymic atrophy and possess only an immature thymocyte population. Only 5 to 10% of normal levels of mature T cells (TCR-alpha beta+, CD4+, or CD8+) are present in these mice. These T cells, but also B cells of mutant mice, can be activated by mitogens, and T cells proliferate upon stimulation with IL-2 or mAb against the TCR. Thus, it appears that selected T cells can mature without lck and that they may have circumvented the need for this enzyme. This study evaluated the capacity of these mice to generate antiviral immune responses: 1) mutant mice failed to generate virus-specific CTL after acute infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or vaccinia virus. 2) LCMV was not cleared from the spleen on day 10 after infection. 3) Infection of LCMV into footpads of mutant mice did not induce a T cell-dependent swelling reaction. 4) Intracerebral inoculation with LCMV did not induce in mutant mice any clinical signs of sickness. 5) Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-primed mutant mice could not eliminate nucleoprotein of VSV recombinant vaccinia virus upon intracerebral infection. 6) VSV infection of mutant mice elicited normal, specific T cell-independent IgM responses, but no significant switch to IgG. These results show that, despite the presence of in vitro activatable CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in the mutant mice, no biologically relevant functions can be detected. Therefore, these data indicate that p56lck is directly or indirectly crucially involved in in vivo Ag-induced T cell responses.

Bachmann MF, Kündig TM, Kalberer CP, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1993. Formalin inactivation of vesicular stomatitis virus impairs T-cell- but not T-help-independent B-cell responses. J Virol, 67 (7), pp. 3917-3922. | Show Abstract

The effects of formalin on the infectivity and immunogenicity of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) serotype Indiana were investigated. We found that formalin inactivation of VSV prevents infection of Vero cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner, as shown by fluorometric cell analysis and inhibition of plaque formation. Inactivated VSV failed to induce significant cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses in vivo or after restimulation in vitro. In contrast, the early immunoglobulin M (IgM) response, which is T help independent in the VSV system, was unaltered, suggesting normal antigenicity for and induction of B cells. However, no switch to IgG occurred, demonstrating failure of induction of T help. If cross-reactive T help was provided by previous infection with a second serotype of VSV (New Jersey), the IgG response was almost completely restored, confirming that the absence of IgG was due to lack of T help. A formalin-treated preparation of glycoprotein of VSV led to a delayed but otherwise normal IgG response, whereas treatment of VSV with UV light or beta-propiolactone reduced IgG titers to the same extent as did formalin. These results suggest that loss of infectivity and the ensuing lack of amplification of viral antigens of formaldehyde-inactivated VSV is the major factor impairing induction of specific T-helper cell responses.

Kündig TM, Castelmur I, Bachmann MF, Abraham D, Binder D, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1993. Fewer protective cytotoxic T-cell epitopes than T-helper-cell epitopes on vesicular stomatitis virus. J Virol, 67 (6), pp. 3680-3683. | Show Abstract

Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) and T-helper-cell responses in various mouse strains were monitored. Protective CTL responsiveness against three proteins of vesicular stomatitis virus was H-2 linked and inducible only in half of the 15 combinations tested (each of five H-2 haplotypes combined with each of three viral proteins), whereas biologically relevant T-helper-cell responses were inducible in all. This suggests that vesicular stomatitis virus exhibits more T-helper-cell than CTL epitopes.

Kündig TM, Bachmann MF, Lefrancois L, Puddington L, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. 1993. Nonimmunogenic tumor cells may efficiently restimulate tumor antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells. J Immunol, 150 (10), pp. 4450-4456. | Show Abstract

Induction of immunity to a viral protein that had been transfected into a tumor cell line was studied. The nucleoprotein (NP) of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was used as a model tumor-associated Ag after transfection into EL-4, and H-2b thymoma originating from C57BL/6 mice. The NP-transfected cell line (EL-4NP) was lysed by NP-specific CTL and was found to restimulate NP-specific CTL in vitro as efficiently as did VSV-infected macrophages. Despite both of these in vitro characteristics, C57BL/6 mice inoculated with EL-4NP did not mount a measurable NP-specific CTL response and developed a lethal tumor as rapidly as did mice given control EL-4. This lack of immunogenicity could not be explained by down-regulation of MHC class I molecules or by loss of NP; even EL-4NP cells metastasizing to the spleen kept their high restimulatory capacity and excellent target characteristics. However, once mice were immunized with VSV or with a vaccinia-VSV-NP recombinant virus they were protected against tumor growth of EL-4NP by CD8+ CTL but not by CD4+ T cells. Taken together, the failure of the tumor-associated Ag to induce a protective T cell response in vivo despite its excellent capacity to restimulate CTL in vitro may encourage adjuvant immunotherapy in cancer; even the effects of weakly immunizing tumor vaccines, e.g., recombinant viruses, may be efficiently amplified by tumor cells.

Kopf M, Le Gros G, Bachmann M, Lamers MC, Bluethmann H, Köhler G. 1993. Disruption of the murine IL-4 gene blocks Th2 cytokine responses. Nature, 362 (6417), pp. 245-248. | Show Abstract | Read more

Murine T-helper clones are classified into two distinct subsets (Th1 and Th2) on the basis of their patterns of lymphokine secretion. Th1 clones secrete interleukin-2 (IL-2), tumour necrosis factor-beta (TNF-beta) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), whereas Th2 clones secrete IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10 (ref. 1). These subsets are reciprocally regulated by IL-4, IL-10 and IFN-gamma and differentially promote antibody or delayed-type hypersensitivity responses. To evaluate whether IL-4 is required for mounting Th2 responses, we generated IL-4-mutant mice (IL-4-/-) and assessed the cytokine secretion pattern of T cells both from naive and Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infected mice. CD4+ T cells from naive IL-4-/- mice failed to produce Th2-derived cytokines after in vitro stimulation. The levels of Th2 cytokines IL-5, IL-9 and IL-10 from CD4+ T cells obtained after nematode infection were significantly reduced. The reduced IL-5 production in IL-4-/- mice correlated with reduced helminth-induced eosinophilia, which has been shown to be dependent on IL-5 in vivo. We conclude that IL-4 is required for the generation of the Th2-derived cytokines and that immune responses dependent on these cytokines are impaired.