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Presentation Time: 9:00-9:20
Home University: North Carolina Central University
Research Mentor: Kristina De Paris, Microbiology and Immunology
Program: M&I-HBCU SROP
Research Title: Adjuvant Induced Gene Expression Rhesus Macaques

To reduce infant HIV infection rates by vaccination, the current study was designed to identify innate molecular signatures activated by two different vaccine regimens. Previously, we determined that infant rhesus macaques (RMs) vaccinated with an HIV envelope (Env) protein with a toll-like receptor (TLR) 7/8 adjuvant versus alum adjuvant had higher Env-specific antibody responses. Here, we selected two adjuvants, TLR7/8-based R848 or TLR3-based Ampligen, in an HIV vaccine regimen consisting of Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) expressing HIV Env and HIV env protein.

Infant RMs were divided into four groups. Control RMs (Group A) received empty MVA intradermally (ID) and sublingually (SL) at weeks (wks) 0 and 4, and Ampligen or R848 only at wks 4 and 10, respectively. Group B and C RMs were immunized with MVA-Env (wks 0, 4) and HIV Env protein (wks 4, 10) in Ampligen or R848, respectively. One day after each immunization, 0.25mL of EDTA-anticoagulated blood was collected. Samples were stored in TRIzol until RNA extraction. Purified RNA was analyzed using the nCounter Nonhuman Primate Immunology Panel by NanoString to assess changes in gene expression. The data will be analyzed using the nCounter Analysis Software to identify specific biological pathways induced by the two distinct adjuvant. We will then correlate the different innate response to the vaccine-induced antibody responses to determine the optimal vaccine regimen.