Long-lived tissue resident HIV-1 specific memory CD8+ T cells are generated by skin immunization with live virus vectored microneedle arrays

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The generation of tissue resident memory (TRM) cells at the body surfaces to provide a front line defence against invading pathogens represents an important goal in vaccine development for a wide variety of pathogens. It has been widely assumed that local vaccine delivery to the mucosae is necessary to achieve that aim. Here we characterise a novel micro-needle array (MA) delivery system fabricated to deliver a live recombinant human adenovirus type 5 vaccine vector (AdHu5) encoding HIV-1 gag. We demonstrate rapid dissolution kinetics of the microneedles in skin. Moreover, a consequence of MA vaccine cargo release was the generation of long-lived antigen-specific CD8+ T cells that accumulate in mucosal tissues, including the female genital and respiratory tract. The memory CD8+ T cell population maintained in the peripheral mucosal tissues was attributable to a MA delivered AdHu5 vaccine instructing CD8+ T cell expression of CXCR3+, CD103+, CD49a+, CD69+, CD127+ homing, retention and survival markers. Furthermore, memory CD8+ T cells generated by MA immunization significantly expanded upon locally administered antigenic challenge and showed a predominant poly-functional profile producing high levels of IFNγ and Granzyme B. These data demonstrate that skin vaccine delivery using microneedle technology induces mobilization of long lived, poly-functional CD8+ T cells to peripheral tissues, phenotypically displaying hallmarks of residency and yields new insights into how to design and deliver effective vaccine candidates with properties to exert local immunosurveillance at the mucosal surfaces.

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