Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a leading cause of infectious blindness, highlighting the need for effective vaccines. A single-cycle HSV-2 strain with the deletion of glycoprotein D, ΔgD-2, completely protected mice from HSV-1 and HSV-2 skin or vaginal disease and prevented latency following active or passive immunization in preclinical studies. The antibodies functioned primarily by activating Fc receptors to mediate antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). The ability of ADCC to protect the immune-privileged eye, however, may differ from skin or vaginal infections. Thus, the current studies were designed to compare active and passive immunization with ΔgD-2 versus an adjuvanted gD subunit vaccine (rgD-2) in a primary lethal ocular murine model. ΔgD-2 provided significantly greater protection than rgD-2 following a two-dose vaccine regimen, although both vaccines were protective compared to an uninfected cell lysate. However, only immune serum from ΔgD-2-vaccinated, but not rgD-2-vaccinated, mice provided significant protection against lethality in passive transfer studies. The significantly greater passive protection afforded by ΔgD-2 persisted after controlling for the total amount of HSV-specific IgG in the transferred serum. The antibodies elicited by rgD-2 had significantly higher neutralizing titers, whereas those elicited by ΔgD-2 had significantly more C1q binding and Fc gamma receptor activation, a surrogate for ADCC function. Together, the findings suggest ADCC is protective in the eye and that nonneutralizing antibodies elicited by ΔgD-2 provide greater protection than neutralizing antibodies elicited by rgD-2 against primary ocular HSV disease. The findings support advancement of vaccines, including ΔgD-2, that elicit polyfunctional antibody responses.IMPORTANCE Herpes simplex virus 1 is the leading cause of infectious corneal blindness in the United States and Europe. Developing vaccines to prevent ocular disease is challenging because the eye is a relatively immune-privileged site. In this study, we compared a single-cycle viral vaccine candidate, which is unique in that it elicits predominantly nonneutralizing antibodies that activate Fc receptors and bind complement, and a glycoprotein D subunit vaccine that elicits neutralizing but not Fc receptor-activating or complement-binding responses. Only the single-cycle vaccine provided both active and passive protection against a lethal ocular challenge. These findings greatly expand our understanding of the types of immune responses needed to protect the eye and will inform future prophylactic and therapeutic strategies.
- antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity
- herpes simplex virus
- ocular herpes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science