(19)
(11)EP 2 968 506 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
31.07.2019 Bulletin 2019/31

(21)Application number: 14709975.8

(22)Date of filing:  14.03.2014
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61K 39/04(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2014/055144
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/140301 (18.09.2014 Gazette  2014/38)

(54)

ANTI-MYCOBACTERIAL VACCINES

ANTIMYKOBAKTERIELLE IMPFSTOFFE

VACCINS ANTI-MYCOBACTÉRIENS


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 15.03.2013 US 201361793522 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
20.01.2016 Bulletin 2016/03

(73)Proprietor: Université de Genève
1211 Genève 4 (CH)

(72)Inventors:
  • BELNOUE, Elodie Anne Françoise
    CH-1208 Genève (CH)
  • DARBRE ABDELRAHMAN, Stéphanie Gabrielle
    1066 Epalinges (CH)
  • KAMATH, Arun Thomas
    Garran, Australian Capital Territory 2605 (AU)
  • LAMBERT, Paul
    CH-1290 Versoix (CH)
  • SIEGRIST-JULLIARD, Claire-Anne
    CH-1256 Troinex (CH)
  • PINSCHEWER, Daniel David
    4102 Binningen (CH)

(74)Representative: Jones Day 
Rechtsanwälte, Attorneys-at-Law, Patentanwälte Prinzregentenstrasse 11
80538 München
80538 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A2-2005/061534
WO-A2-2012/093340
WO-A2-2006/053871
  
  • ABEL BRIAN ET AL: "The Novel Tuberculosis Vaccine, AERAS-402, Induces Robust and Polyfunctional CD4(+) and CD8(+) T Cells in Adults", AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, vol. 181, no. 12, June 2010 (2010-06), pages 1407-1417, XP002724874,
  • LUKAS FLATZ ET AL: "Development of replication-defective lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus vectors for the induction of potent CD8+ T cell immunity", NATURE MEDICINE, vol. 16, no. 3, 7 February 2010 (2010-02-07), pages 339-345, XP055119626, ISSN: 1078-8956, DOI: 10.1038/nm.2104 cited in the application
  • M.J. LOERA-ARIAS ET AL: "Targeting and retention of HPV16 E7 to the endoplasmic reticulum enhances immune tumour protection", JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, vol. 14, no. 4, 10 October 2009 (2009-10-10), pages 890-894, XP055119826, ISSN: 1582-1838, DOI: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2009.00934.x
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

1. INTRODUCTION



[0001] The disclosure relates to genetically modified arenaviruses suitable as vaccines against mycobacterial infections. The invention relates to pharmaceutical compositions for use in methods for the treatment of mycobacterial infections. Specifically, disclosed herein are pharmaceutical compositions, vaccines, and methods of treating infections in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

2. BACKGROUND



[0002] Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is contagious and spreads through the air. Around two billion people, or one third of the world's population, are estimated to be infected with the bacterium and at risk of developing the disease. About 5% of infected people gets sick with tuberculosis in the first two years after infection. The other 95 % develops a latent or 'sleeping' infection, which is not contagious, but can still develop into TB later in life. The overall lifetime risk for developing TB following infection is estimated to be approximately 10%.

[0003] Pulmonary (lung) tuberculosis is the most common and most infectious form of TB worldwide. However, TB can attack any part of the body. According to the latest data of the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 8.8 million new cases of TB in 2010 (WHO report, 2011). In 2010, around 1.4 million people died from tuberculosis, equaling about 3800 deaths a day and one death every 22 seconds. In 2009 there were nearly 10 million orphan children due to TB deaths. The increased mobility of the world's population, with more people traveling across borders, intensifies the spread of the airborne infectious disease. If not treated, each person with active TB infects on average 10 to 15 people every year.

[0004] TB mainly affects young adults in their most productive years. Although poverty-related and mostly affecting developing countries, tuberculosis is prevalent in all continents. Symptoms of tuberculosis include a persistent cough, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum, weakness, weight loss, chills, night sweats and fever.

[0005] Currently there is only one vaccine against tuberculosis available worldwide: Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). This vaccine, used since 1921, is administered to over 100 million babies every year and can protect children from severe forms of tuberculosis. However, BCG has little to no efficacy in preventing pulmonary TB in (young) adults, the most common and most infectious form of tuberculosis. Moreover, there are serious safety concerns regarding the use of BCG in HIV infected newborns. The burden of the disease, affecting economies worldwide, is estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

[0006] Vaccines - generally accepted as and proven to be both a very efficient and cost-effective way of preventing infectious diseases - can make the difference. More effective, safe vaccines to improve or replace BCG are urgently needed as tuberculosis keeps taking its toll. Modeling studies show that without new vaccines TB can never be eliminated. New vaccines, together with more accurate diagnostics and more efficient drug therapies, would save tens of millions of lives. Vaccines will also be especially crucial in combating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), forms of TB that are expensive and extremely difficult or virtually impossible to treat.

[0007] Control of Mycobacterial tuberculosis (Mtb) infection depends chiefly on cell-mediated immunity (CMI) response. It is widely accepted that antibacterial T cells exert protective effects by secreting interferon-y (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) to stimulate bacterially infected macrophages. Mtb hides intracellulary in vacuoles of these phagocytes and escapes degradation by the lysosomal machinery. Upon cognate interaction with antibacterial T cells, however, the resulting stimulation of infected macrophages allows them to kill and degrade their intracellular pathogen. Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class II-restricted CD4+ T cells have long been identified as key players in this process. More recent evidence indicates that MHC class I-restricted CD8+ T cells also play an important role in antibacterial protection.
Abel Brian et al studied tuberculosis vaccine AERAS-402 in inducing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in adults. (American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol 181. pp1407-1417, 2010)

[0008] Novel vaccination strategies should therefore aim at inducing plurifunctional (IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing) CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses of high magnitude. Very significant differences exist between different vector platforms, and it remains unpredictable which viral vectors can optimally fulfill these requirements.

3. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0009] The disclosure relates to an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen.

[0010] The invention provides an infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use as a vaccine in a method of treating or preventing an infection with M. tuberculosis in an infant, wherein the particle comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen, wherein the mycobacterial antigen is a fusion protein between Ag85B and TB10.4, wherein the fusion protein comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:5, and wherein the mycobacterial antigen is fused to a signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator.

[0011] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator is an N-terminal signal peptide.

[0012] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator directs targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0013] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:7.

[0014] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator and the fusion protein comprise the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:3.

[0015] According to some embodiments of the invention, an open reading frame of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0016] According to some embodiments of the invention, the open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0017] According to some embodiments of the invention, the choriomeningitis virus particle comprises a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:1.

[0018] The invention also provides a pharmaceutical composition comprising an infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle and a pharmaceutically inactive carrier for use as a vaccine in a method of treating or preventing an infection with M. tuberculosis in an infant, wherein the particle comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen, wherein the mycobacterial antigen is a fusion protein between Ag85B and TB10.4, wherein the fusion protein comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:5, and wherein the mycobacterial antigen is fused to a signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator.

[0019] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator is an N-terminal signal peptide.

[0020] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator directs targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0021] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:7.

[0022] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator and the fusion protein comprise the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:3.

[0023] According to some embodiments of the invention, an open reading frame of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0024] According to some embodiments of the invention, the open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0025] According to some embodiments of the invention, the choriomeningitis virus particle comprises a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:1.

[0026] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the mycobacterial antigen is selected from the group of mycobacteria consisting of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. bovis, M. bovis BCG, M. africanum, M. canetti, M. caprae, M. microti, M. pinnipedii, M. avium, M. avium paratuberculosis, M. avium silvaticum, M. avium "hominissuis," M. colombiense, M. indicus pranii, M. asiaticum, M. gordonae, M. gastri, M. kansasii, M. hiberniae, M. nonchromogenicum, M. terrae, M. triviale, M. pseudoshottsii, M. shottsii, M. triplex, M. genavense, M. florentinum, M. lentiflavum, M. palustre, M. kubicae, M. parascrofulaceum, M. heidelbergense, M. interjectum, M. simiae, M. branderi, M. cookii, M. celatum, M. bohemicum, M. haemophilum, M. malmoense, M. szulgai, M. leprae, M. lepraemurium, M. lepromatosis, M. africanum, M. botniense, M. chimaera, M. conspicuum, M. doricum, M. farcinogenes, M. heckeshornense, M. intracellulare, M. lacus, M. marinum, M. monacense, M. montefiorense, M. murale, M. nebraskense, M. saskatchewanense, M. scrofulaceum, M. shimoidei, M. tusciae, M. xenopi, M. intermedium, M. abscessus, M. chelonae, M. bolletii, M. fortuitum, M. fortuitum subsp. Acetamidolyticum, M. boenickei, M. peregrinum, M. porcinum, M. senegalense, M. septicum, M. neworleansense, M. houstonense, M. mucogenicum, M. mageritense, M. brisbanense, M. cosmeticum, M. parafortuitum, M. austroafricanum, M. diernhoferi, M. hodleri, M. neoaurum, M. frederiksbergense, M. aurum, M. vaccae, M. fallax, M. confluentis, M. flavescens, M. madagascariense, M. phlei, M. smegmatis, M. goodii, M. wolinskyi, M. thermoresistibile, M. gadium, M. komossense, M. obuense, M. sphagni, M. agri, M. aichiense, M. alvei, M. arupense, M. brumae, M. canariasense, M. chubuense, M. conceptionense, M. duvalii, M. elephantis, M. gilvum, M. hassiacum, M. holsaticum, M. immunogenum, M. massiliense, M. moriokaense, M. psychrotolerans, M. pyrenivorans, M. vanbaalenii, M. pulveris, M. arosiense, M. aubagnense, M. caprae, M. chlorophenolicum, M. fluoroanthenivorans, M. kumamotonense, M. novocastrense, M. parmense, M. phocaicum, M. poriferae, M. rhodesiae, M. seoulense, or M. tokaiense.

[0027] In certain aspects of the disclosure the antigen is a mycolyl transferase or a fragment thereof. For example, the mycolyl transferase used in accordance with the disclosure described herein may comprise of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C. In certain aspects of the disclosure the antigen is encoded by a gene of the esat-6 gene family. More specifically, the antigen is TB10.3, TB12.9, or TB10.4 belonging to the esat-6 gene family.

[0028] In certain aspects of the disclosure the antigen is TB10.4, Ag85B, a fragment of TB10.4, or a fragment of Ag85B. In specific embodiment of the invention, the antigen is a fusion protein between TB10.4 and Ag85B. In certain embodiments of the invention, the fusion protein comprises an amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:5.

[0029] In the embodiments of the invention, the antigen is fused to an N-terminal signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator. In certain embodiments of the invention, the antigen comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:3.

[0030] The arenavirus used in accordance with the invention described herein is an infectious, replication-defective lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. In certain embodiments of the invention an open reading frame of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated. In specific embodiment, the open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein gene of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0031] The disclosure further relates to a virus that can amplify and express its genetic information in a cell that has been infected by the virus but is unable to produce further infectious progeny particles in a non-complementing cell. In certain embodiments, the invention relates to an infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle comprising a genomic segment wherein the genomic segment comprises the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:1 for use as a vaccine (the genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO:1 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:1 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence).

[0032] Also disclosed herein is an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle comprising a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence that is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the sequence of nucleotide 1639 to 3315 of SEQ ID NO:11 (the genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO:11 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:11 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence), and wherein the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen (the mycobacterial antigen can be fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum). Also disclosed herein is an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle comprising a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding an expression product whose amino acid sequence is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the amino acid sequence encoded by 1639 to 3315 of SEQ ID NO:11 (the genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO:11 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:11 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence), and wherein the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen (the mycobacterial antigen can be fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum).

[0033] Also disclosed herein is an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle comprising a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence that is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the sequence of nucleotide 1640 to 3316 of SEQ ID NO:12 (the genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO:12 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:12 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence), and wherein the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen (the mycobacterial antigen can be fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum). Also disclosed herein is an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle comprising a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding an expression product whose amino acid sequence is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the amino acid sequence encoded by 1640 to 3316 of SEQ ID NO: 12 (the genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO:12 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:12 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence), and wherein the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen (the mycobacterial antigen can be fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum).

[0034] Disclosed herein are composition, e.g., pharmaceutical, immunogenic or vaccine compositions, comprising a virus described herein and a pharmaceutically inactive carrier.

[0035] Also disclosed herein are methods of treating or preventing a mycobacterial infection in a patient, comprising administering to the patient a virus, a pharmaceutical composition, an immunogenic composition, or a vaccine described herein. Further discolsed herein are use of a virus, a pharmaceutical composition, an immunogenic composition, or a vaccine described herein for the treatment or prevention of a mycobacterial infection in a patient. For example the mycobacterial infection is an infection with M. tuberculosis.

3.1 Conventions and Abbreviations



[0036] 
tPA
Tissue plasminogen activator
Mtb
Mycobacterium tuberculosis
TB
Tuberculosis
LCMV
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus
MHC
Major Histocompatibility Complex
ORF
Open Reading Frame
GP
Glycoprotein
Z
Matrix Protein
NP
Nucleoprotein
UTR
Untranslated region
CD8
Cluster of Differentiation 8
CD4
Cluster of Differentiation 4
IFN-γ
Interferon-γ
TNF-α
Tumor necrosis factor-a
CMI
Cell-mediated immunity
MDR-TB
Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis
XDR-TB
Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

4. DESCRIPTION OF THE SEQUENCE LISTING



[0037] 

SEQ ID No. 1 is the nucleotide sequence of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 genomic segment. The genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO: 1 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:1 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence.

SEQ ID No. 2 is the nucleotide sequence for tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 cDNA.

SEQ ID No. 3 is the amino acid sequence for tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4.

SEQ ID No. 4 is the nucleotide sequence for Ag85B-TB10.4 cDNA.

SEQ ID No. 5 is the amino acid sequence for Ag85B-TB10.4.

SEQ ID No. 6 is the nucleotide sequence for tPA cDNA including a six nucleotide linker.

SEQ ID No. 7 is the amino acid sequence for tPA signal peptide.

SEQ ID No. 8 is the amino acid sequence of an antigenic peptide for some H2-IAb-restricted CD4+ T cell.

SEQ ID No. 9 is the amino acid sequence of an antigenic peptide for some H-2Kb-restricted CD8+ T cell used for synthesis of MHC class I dextramers.

SEQ ID No. 10 is the amino acid sequence of an antigenic peptide for some H-2Kb-restricted CD8+ T cell used for restimulation prior to intracellular staining of cytokines by flow cytometry.

SEQ ID NO:11 is the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus segment S, complete sequence. The genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO:11 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:11 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence.

SEQ ID NO:12 is the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus clone 13 segment S, complete sequence (GenBank: DQ361065.2). The genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO:12 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:12 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence.

SEQ ID NO:13 is the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus clone 13 segment L, complete sequence (GenBank: DQ361066.1). The genomic segment is RNA, the sequence in SEQ ID NO:13 is shown for DNA; however, exchanging all thymidines ("T") in SEQ ID NO:13 for uridines ("U") provides the RNA sequence.


5. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES



[0038] Figure 1: Schematic representation of the genome of wild type arenaviruses. The wild type arenavirus genome consists of a short (1; ∼3.4 kb) and a large (2; ∼7.2 kb) RNA segment. The short segment carries the open reading frames encoding the nucleoprotein NP (3) and glycoprotein GP (4) genes. The large segment encodes the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase L (5) and the matrix protein Z (6) genes. Wild type arenaviruses can be rendered replication-deficient to generate vaccine vectors by substituting the glycoprotein gene for antigens of choice (7), against which immune responses are to be induced.

[0039] Figure 2: Comparison of immunogenicity of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 and rLCMV/Ag85B-TB10.4 vaccine vectors in mice. On day 0 of the experiment, C57BL/6 mice were immunized with 2x105 PFU of either rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 (group 1) or rLCMV/Ag85B-TB10.4 (group 2) intravenously. Control mice were not immunized (group 3). The same immunization was repeated on day 28. On day 27 (panel A) and on day 38 (panel B) TB10.4 (IMYNYPAM)-specific CD8+ T cells were measured in peripheral blood by flow cytometry using MHC class I dextramers. The Dextramer-binding cells are expressed as percentage of the total CD8+ population (X in panels A and B). On day 56 of the experiment, the animals were euthanized and single cell suspensions were prepared from the spleen of the animals. These cells were stimulated with the TB10.4-derived QIMYNYPAM peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO:10 and the Ag85B-derived THSWEYWGAQLNAMKGDLQS peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO: 8 to determine antigen-specific interferon-y (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-α) co-producing CD8+ (panel C), as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing CD4+ T cells (panel D), respectively. For this, standard intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry techniques were used. IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing cells amongst total CD8+ T cells (Y in panel C) or amongst total CD4+ T cells (Z in panel D) are expressed as a percentage. Symbols represent individual mice. Group 1 and group 2 mice were significantly different in all measurements as determined using unpaired two-tailed student's t-test (p=0.0226, p=0.0108, p=0.0044, p=0.0001 in panels A-D, respectively).

[0040] Figure 3: Comparison of immunogenicity of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 vaccine vector administered by intravenous or subcutaneous routes. On day 0 of the experiment, C57BL/6 mice were immunized with 105 PFU of of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 either via the intravenous route (group 1) or by the subcutaneous route (group 2). Control mice were not immunized (group 3). On day 11, the animals were euthanized and single cell suspensions were prepared from the spleen of these animals. TB10.4 (IMYNYPAM (SEQ ID NO:9))-specific CD8+ T cells were meanured by flow cytometry using MHC class I dextramers. The Dextramer-binding cells are expressed as percentage of the total CD8+ population (X in panels A). The spleen cells were also stimulated with TB10.4-derived QIMYNYPAM peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO: 10 and the Ag85B-derived THSWEYWGAQLNAMKGDLQS peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO: 8 to determine antigen-specific IFN-γ producing CD8+ (panel B), as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing CD4+ T cells (panel C), respectively. For this, standard intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry techniques were used. Epitope-specific IFN-γ producing CD8+ T cell within the total CD8+ T cells (Y in panel B), as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing cells amongst total CD4+ T cells (Z in panel C), are expressed as a percentage. Symbols represent individual mice.

[0041] Figure 4: Immunization studies with rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 vaccine vector in adult and 1-week-old mice. On day 0 of the experiment, adult (group 1) and 1-week-old (group 2) C57BL/6 mice were immunized with 105 PFU of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 via the subcutaneous route. On day 10, the animals were euthanized and single cell suspensions were prepared from the spleen of these animals. TB10.4 (IMYNYPAM (SEQ ID NO:9))-specific CD8+ T cells were measured by flow cytometry using MHC class I dextramers. The Dextramer-binding cells are expressed as percentage of the total CD8+ population (X in panels A) or as total number of Dextramer-binding CD8+ cells in spleen (Y in panel B). These spleen cells were also stimulated with the TB10.4-derived QIMYNYPAM peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO:10 and the Ag85B-derived THSWEYWGAQLNAMKGDLQS peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO: 8 to determine antigen-specific interferon-y (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-α) co-producing CD8+ (panel C), as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing CD4+ T cells (panel D), respectively. For this, standard intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry techniques were used. IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing cells amongst total CD8+ T cells (Z in panel C) or amongst total CD4+ T cells (XY in panel D) are expressed as a percentage. Symbols represent individual mice.

6. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0042] Disclosed herein are methods and compositions for the treatment or prevention of infections of a subject with a mycobacterium. More specifically, disclosed herein are infectious, replication-deficient arenaviruses that comprise a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen. These viruses can be administered to a subject for the treatment or prevention of a mycobacterial infection. The generation of infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus vectors for use with the present invention is described in more detail in Section 6.3.

[0043] The invention provides an infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use as a vaccine in a method of treating or preventing an infection with M. tuberculosis in an infant, wherein the particle comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen, wherein the mycobacterial antigen is a fusion protein between Ag85B and TB10.4, wherein the fusion protein comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:5, and wherein the mycobacterial antigen is fused to a signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator.

[0044] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator is an N-terminal signal peptide.

[0045] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator directs targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0046] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:7.

[0047] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator and the fusion protein comprise the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:3.

[0048] According to some embodiments of the invention, an open reading frame of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0049] According to some embodiments of the invention, the open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0050] According to some embodiments of the invention, the choriomeningitis virus particle comprises a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:1.

[0051] The invention also provides a pharmaceutical composition comprising an infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle and a pharmaceutically inactive carrier for use as a vaccine in a method of treating or preventing an infection with M. tuberculosis in an infant, wherein the particle comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen, wherein the mycobacterial antigen is a fusion protein between Ag85B and TB10.4, wherein the fusion protein comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:5, and wherein the mycobacterial antigen is fused to a signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator.

[0052] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator is an N-terminal signal peptide.

[0053] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator directs targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0054] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:7.

[0055] According to some embodiments of the invention, the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator and the fusion protein comprise the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:3.

[0056] According to some embodiments of the invention, an open reading frame of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0057] According to some embodiments of the invention, the open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.

[0058] According to some embodiments of the invention, the choriomeningitis virus particle comprises a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:1.

[0059] Disclosed herein is a genetically modified arenavirus, where the arenavirus:
  1. i) is infectious;
  2. ii) cannot form infectious progeny virus in a non-complementary cell (i.e., a cell that does not express the functionality that is missing from the replication-deficient arenavirus and causes it to be replication-deficient);
  3. iii) is capable of replicating its genome and expressing its genetic information; and
  4. iv) encodes a mycobacterial antigen or a fragment thereof.


[0060] A genetically modified arenavirus described herein is infectious, i.e., it can attach to a host cell and release its genetic material into the host cell. A genetically modified arenavirus described herein is replication-deficient, i.e., the arenavirus is unable to produce further infectious progeny particles in a non-complementing cell. In particular, the genome of the arenavirus is modified (e.g., by deletion or functional inactivation of an open reading frame) such that a virus carrying the modified genome can no longer produce infectious progeny viruses. A non-complementing cell is a cell that does not provide the functionality that has been eliminated from the replication-deficient arenavirus by modification of its genome (e.g., if the open reading frame encoding the GP protein is deleted or functionally inactivated, a non-complementing cell does not provide the GP protein). However, a genetically modified arenavirus disclosed herein is capable of producing infectious progeny viruses in complementing cells. Complementing cells are cells that provide the functionality that has been eliminated from the replication-deficient arenavirus by modification of its genome (e.g., if the open reading frame encoding the GP protein is deleted or functionally inactivated, a complementing cell does provide the GP protein). A genetically modified arenavirus described herein amplify and express its genetic information in a cell that has been infected by the virus. A genetically modified arenavirus disclosed herein comprises a nucleotide sequence that encodes a mycobacterial antigen such as the mycobacterial antigens described in Section 6.2.

[0061] Also disclosed herein is a genetically modified arenavirus in which an open reading frame (ORF) of the arenavirus genome is deleted or functionally inactivated such that the resulting virus cannot produce further infectious progeny virus particles. An arenavirus particle comprising a genetically modified genome in which an open reading frame (ORF) deleted or functionally inactivated can be produced in complementing cells (i.e., in cells that express the arenaviral open reading frame that has been deleted or functionally inactivated)(see Section 6.3). The genetic material of the resulting arenavirus particles can be transferred upon infection of a host cell into the host cell, wherein the genetic material can be expressed and amplified. In addition, the genome of the genetically modified arenavirus particles encodes a mycobacterial antigen that can be expressed in the host cell.

[0062] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the ORF that encodes the glycoprotein (GP) gene of the arenavirus is deleted to generate a replication-deficient arenavirus for use with the present invention. In a specific aspect of the disclosure, the replication-deficient arenavirus comprises a genomic segment comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen. In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is fused to an N-terminal signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of the cell that is infected with the arenavirus. Thus, in certain aspects of the disclosure, a genetically modified arenavirus particle comprises a genomic segment that a) has a deletion or functional inactivation of an open reading frame that is present in the wild type form of the genomic segment; and b) encodes (either in sense or antisense) a mycobacterial antigen (see Section 6.3).

[0063] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen encoded by the nucleic acid that is inserted into the genome of replication-deficient arenavirus can encode, for example, a mycobacterial antigen including, but not limited to, TB10.4, Ag85B, a fragment of TB10.4, or a fragment of Ag85B. According to the invention, the N-terminal signal peptide fused to the antigens described herein is the signal peptide of tissue plasminogen activator. More detailed description of the antigens and the signal peptides described herein is provided in Section 6.2.

[0064] In certain aspects of the disclosusre the arenaviruses used herein can be Old World viruses, for example, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). More detailed description of the arenaviruses described herein is provided in Section 6.1.

[0065] Disclosed herein are nucleic acids encoding the genome of such replication-deficient arenaviruses. In certain aspects, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle comprises a genomic segment comprising a nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:1. Provided herein are LCMV-based vector systems comprising one or two of the vector plasmids described herein. Also disclosed herein are cell lines, cultures and methods of culturing cells infected with nucleic acids, vectors, and compositions. More detailed description of the nucleic acids, vector systems and cell lines described herein is disclosed in Section 6.4.

[0066] The disclosure relates to such genetically modified replication-deficient arenaviruses suitable as vaccines and to methods of using such arenaviruses in vaccination and treatment or prevention of infections by mycobacteria. More detailed description of methods of using such arenaviruses described herein is provided in Section 6.5.

6.1 Infectious, Replication-Deficient Arenavirus Vectors Expressing A Mycobacterial Antigen



[0067] Arenaviruses for use with the methods and compositions disclosed herein can be of Old World viruses, for example Lassa virus, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), Mobala virus, Mopeia virus, or Ippy virus, or New World viruses, for example Amapari virus, Flexal virus, Guanarito virus, Junin virus, Latino virus, Machupo virus, Oliveros virus, Parana virus, Pichinde virus, Pirital virus, Sabia virus, Tacaribe virus, Tamiami virus, Bear Canyon virus, or Whitewater Arroyo virus. The genetically modified arenavirus can be generated as described in Section 6.3.

[0068] The wild type arenavirus genome consists of a short (1; ∼3.4 kb) and a large (2; ∼7.2 kb) RNA segment. The short segment carries the open reading frames encoding the nucleoprotein NP (3) and glycoprotein GP (4) genes. The large segment encodes the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase L (5) and the matrix protein Z (6) genes. Wild type arenaviruses can be rendered replication-deficient to generate vaccine vectors by substituting the glycoprotein gene for mycobacterial antigens (7), against which immune responses are to be induced.

[0069] Infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus vectors expressing a mycobacterial antigen can be used to immunize (in a preventive manner) or treat (in an immunotherapeutic manner) An subjects against mycobacterial infections. An infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus vector expressing a mycobacterial antigen that can be used to immunize (in a preventive manner) or treat (in an immunotherapeutic manner) subjects against an infection with Mycobaterium tuberculosis.

[0070] Arenavirus disease and immunosuppression in wild type arenavirus infection are known to result from unchecked viral replication. By abolishing replication, i.e., the ability to produce infectious progeny virus particles, of arenavirus vectors by deleting from their genome, e.g., the Z gene which is required for particle release, or the GP gene which is required for infection of target cells, the total number of infected cells can be limited by the inoculum administered, e.g., to a vaccinee, or accidentally transmitted to personnel involved in medical or biotechnological applications, or to animals. Therefore, abolishing replication of arenavirus vectors prevents pathogenesis as a result of intentional or accidental transmission of vector particles. In this invention, one important aspect consists in exploiting the above necessity of abolishment of replication in a beneficial way for the purpose of expressing a mycobacterial antigen.

[0071] An arenavirus particle may be rendered replication deficient by genetic modification of its genome. Such modifications to the genome can include:
  • deletion of an open reading frame (e.g., the open reading frame encoding the GP, NP, L, or Z protein);
  • functional inactivation of an open reading frame (e.g., the open reading frame encoding the GP, NP, L, or Z protein). For example, this can be achieved by introducing a missense or a nonsense mutation.
  • mutagenesis of one of the 5' or 3' termini of one of the genomic segments;
  • mutagenesis of an intergenic region (i.e., of the L or the S genomic segment).


[0072] An infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein is a Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) wherein the S segment of the virus is modified by substituting the open reading frame encoding the GP protein is replaced with an open reading frame encoding an antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In certain specific aspects of the disclosure, the mycobacterial antigen is fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0073] The wild type arenavirus vector genome (FIG. 1) can be designed to retain at least the essential regulatory elements on the 5' and 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) of both segments, and/or also the intergenic regions (IGRs). Without being bound by theory, the minimal transacting factors for gene expression in infected cells remain in the vector genome as open reading frames that can be expressed, yet they can be placed differently in the genome and can be placed under control of a different promoter than naturally, or can be expressed from internal ribosome entry sites. For example, the nucleic acid encoding a mycobacterial antigen is transcribed from one of the endogenous arenavirus promoters (i.e., 5' UTR, 3' UTR of the S segment, 5' UTR, 3' UTR of the L segment). Alternatively, the nucleic acid encoding a mycobacterial antigen is expressed from a heterologous introduced promoter sequences that can be read by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, by cellular RNA polymerase I, RNA polymerase II or RNA polymerase III, such as duplications of viral promoter sequences that are naturally found in the viral UTRs, the 28S ribosomal RNA promoter, the beta-actin promoter or the 5S ribosomal RNA promoter, respectively. Ribonucleic acids coding for mycobacterial antigens may be transcribed and translated either by themselves or as read-through by fusion to arenavirus protein open reading frames, and expression of proteins in the host cell may be enhanced by introducing in the viral transcript sequence at the appropriate place(s) one or more, e.g., two, three or four, internal ribosome entry sites.

[0074] In certain aspects of the disclosure, described herein is an arenavirus particle (e.g., LCMV) in which the open reading frame encoding the GP of the S genomic segment is substituted with a nucleotide sequence encoding:
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a mycobacterial antigen; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a mycolyl transferase of a mycobacterium or a fragment thereof; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C and (ii) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • In the following order from N-terminus to C-terminus: a signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C and (ii) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • In the following order from N-terminus to C-terminus: a signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; and (ii) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C.

6.2 Mycobacterial Antigens



[0075] In certain aspects of the disclosure, antigens for use with the methods and compositions described herein are mycobacterial antigens.

[0076] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the mycobacterial antigen is an antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. bovis, M. bovis BCG, M. africanum, M. canetti, M. caprae, M. microti, M. pinnipedii, M. avium, M. avium paratuberculosis, M. avium silvaticum, M. avium "hominissuis," M. colombiense, M. indicus pranii, M. asiaticum, M. gordonae, M. gastri, M. kansasii, M. hiberniae, M. nonchromogenicum, M. terrae, M. triviale, M. pseudoshottsii, M. shottsii, M. triplex, M. genavense, M. florentinum, M. lentiflavum, M. palustre, M. kubicae, M. parascrofulaceum, M. heidelbergense, M. interjectum, M. simiae, M. branderi, M. cookii, M. celatum, M. bohemicum, M. haemophilum, M. malmoense, M. szulgai, M. leprae, M. lepraemurium, M. lepromatosis, M. africanum, M. botniense, M. chimaera, M. conspicuum, M. doricum, M. farcinogenes, M. heckeshornense, M. intracellulare, M. lacus, M. marinum, M. monacense, M. montefiorense, M. murale, M. nebraskense, M. saskatchewanense, M. scrofulaceum, M. shimoidei, M. tusciae, M. xenopi, M. intermedium, M. abscessus, M. chelonae, M. bolletii, M. fortuitum, M. fortuitum subsp. Acetamidolyticum, M. boenickei, M. peregrinum, M. porcinum, M. senegalense, M. septicum, M. neworleansense, M. houstonense, M. mucogenicum, M. mageritense, M. brisbanense, M. cosmeticum, M. parafortuitum, M. austroafricanum, M. diernhoferi, M. hodleri, M. neoaurum, M. frederiksbergense, M. aurum, M. vaccae, M. fallax, M. confluentis, M. flavescens, M. madagascariense, M. phlei, M. smegmatis, M. goodii, M. wolinskyi, M. thermoresistibile, M. gadium, M. komossense, M. obuense, M. sphagni, M. agri, M. aichiense, M. alvei, M. arupense, M. brumae, M. canariasense, M. chubuense, M. conceptionense, M. duvalii, M. elephantis, M. gilvum, M. hassiacum, M. holsaticum, M. immunogenum, M. massiliense, M. moriokaense, M. psychrotolerans, M. pyrenivorans, M. vanbaalenii, M. pulveris, M. arosiense, M. aubagnense, M. caprae, M. chlorophenolicum, M. fluoroanthenivorans, M. kumamotonense, M. novocastrense, M. parmense, M. phocaicum, M. poriferae, M. rhodesiae, M. seoulense, or M. tokaiense.

[0077] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is a mycolyl transferase or a fragment thereof. In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is a fragment of at least at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the mycolyl transferase of a mycobacterium or a fragment thereof. In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is a fragment that can be identified using a variety of methods published for the prediction of antigenic determinants (see, e.g., Jameson B.A. and Wolf H., Comput Appl Biosci. 1988 March;4(1):181-186; Pellequer J.L. and Westhof E., J Mol Graph. 1993 Sep;11(3):204-10, 191-192; and Kolaskar A.S. and Tongaonkar P.C., FEBS Lett. 1990 Dec 10;276(1-2): 172-4). In certain more specific aspects of the disclosure, the mycolyl transferase is M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C or a fragment thereof.

[0078] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is encoded by a gene of the esat-6 gene family. In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family or a fragment thereof. In certain apsects of the disclosure, the antigen is a fragment that can be identified using a variety of methods published for the prediction of antigenic determinants (see, e.g., Jameson B.A. and Wolf H., Comput Appl Biosci. 1988 March;4(1): 181-186; Pellequer J.L. and Westhof E., J Mol Graph. 1993 Sep;11(3):204-10, 191-192; and Kolaskar A.S. and Tongaonkar P.C., FEBS Lett. 1990 Dec 10;276(1-2): 172-4).

[0079] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is TB10.3, TB12.9, or TB10.4 or a fragment thereof belonging to the esat-6 gene family. In certain aspects of the dislcosure, the antigen is TB10.4, Ag85B, a fragment of TB10.4, or a fragment of Ag85B.

[0080] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is a fusion protein between TB10.4 and Ag85B. In certain aspects of the disclosure the antigen is at least 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450, or at least 500 amino acids long. In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is encoded by a nucleic acid sequence that is 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical to SEQ ID NO:4. In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen comprises an amino acid sequence that is 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical to SEQ ID NO:5.

[0081] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen described herein is fused to a signal peptide. Such signal peptides that can be fused to the antigens described herein include:

[0082] A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a mycobacterial antigen; or
A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a mycolyl transferase of a mycobacterium or a fragment thereof; or
A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C; or
A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C and (ii) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
In the following order from N-terminus to C-terminus: a signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C and (ii) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
In the following order from N-terminus to C-terminus: a signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; and (ii) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C.

[0083] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the antigen described herein is fused to an N-terminal signal peptide, In certain aspects of the disclosure, a cleavage site is present between the antigen and the signal peptide. In certain more specific aspects of the disclosure, protease cleavage between the signal peptide and the antigen results in free antigens with precise N-terminus (i.e., at least 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 95%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% of the released antigen have the same N-terminal amino acid sequence). In certain aspects of the disclosure, the N-terminal signal peptide directs targeting of the antigen described herein to the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell that is infected with the arenavirus. In certain aspects of the disclosure, the N-terminal signal peptide that directs targeting of the antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum includes, but is not limited to, the signal peptide of nerve growth factor, midkine, LAMP1, LIMPII, endotubin or negative factor gene (Nef) (see, e.g., Ladunga I., Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2000 Feb;11(1):13-8).

[0084] The signal peptide that is fused to the antigen described herein may be a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The tPA signal peptide for use with the present invention may be encoded by a nucleic acid sequence that aligns with at least 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, or at least 70 nucleotides of SEQ ID NO:6 as determined over the entire length of the tPA signal peptide nucleic acid sequence using BLAST alignment software. The signal peptide may comprise an amino acid sequence that aligns with at least 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, or at least 24 amino acids of SEQ ID NO:7 as determined over the entire length of the signal peptide using BLAST alignment software.

[0085] The signal peptide-antigen fusion may be at least 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450, or at least 500 amino acids long. The signal peptide-antigen fusion may be encoded by a nucleic acid sequence that is 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical to SEQ ID NO:2. The signal peptide-antigen fusion may comprises an amino acid sequence that is 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical to SEQ ID NO:3.

[0086] Nucleic acid sequences encoding a mycobacterial antigen can be introduced in the genome of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus by substitution of the nucleic acid sequence of the open reading frame (ORF) of glycoprotein GP, the matrix protein Z, the nucleoprotein NP, or the polymerase protein L. In other embodiments, the nucleic acid sequence encoding the mycobacterial antigen is fused to the open reading frame (ORF) of glycoprotein GP, the matrix protein Z, the nucleoprotein NP, or the polymerase protein L. The nucleotide sequence encoding the mycobacterial antigen, once inserted into the genome of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus, can be transcribed and/or expressed under control of the four arenavirus promoters (5' UTR and 3' UTR of the S segment, and 5' UTR and 3' UTR of the L segment), as well as ribonucleic acids that can be inserted with regulatory elements that can be read by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, cellular RNA polymerase I, RNA polymerase II or RNA polymerase III, such as duplications of viral promoter sequences that are naturally found in the viral UTRs, the 28S ribosomal RNA promoter, the beta-actin promoter or the 5S ribosomal RNA promoter, respectively. The nucleic acids encoding the mycobacterial antigen can be transcribed and/or expressed either by themselves or as read-through by fusion to arenavirus open reading frames and genes, respectively, and/or in combination with one or more, e.g., two, three or four, internal ribosome entry sites.

[0087] In one aspects of the disclosure, the antigen is one that is useful for the prevention of infectious disease. In a specific aspect of the disclosure, antigens is derived from Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

[0088] Open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by nucleic acid sequences encoding a mycobacterial antigen. The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by nucleic acid sequences encoding antigen that is a fragment of at least at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the mycolyl transferase of a mycobacterium or a fragment thereof. The antigen may be a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family or a fragment thereof. The antigen fragment can be identified using a variety of methods published for the prediction of antigenic determinants (see, e.g., Jameson B.A. and Wolf H., Comput Appl Biosci. 1988 March;4(1):181-186; Pellequer J.L. and Westhof E., J Mol Graph. 1993 Sep;11(3):204-10, 191-192; and Kolaskar A.S. and Tongaonkar P.C., FEBS Lett. 1990 Dec 10;276(1-2):172-4).

[0089] In certain aspects of the disclosure, the open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus is substituted by nucleic acid sequences encoding antigens including, but not limited to, TB10.4, Ag85B, a fragment of TB10.4, or a fragment of Ag85B.

[0090] The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by nucleic acid sequences encoding an antigen that is a fusion protein between TB10.4 and Ag85B. The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be subsituted by nucleic acid sequences encoding an antigen that is at least 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450, or at least 500 amino acids long. The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by nucleic acid sequence that is 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical to SEQ ID NO:4. The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by nucleic acid sequence that encodes for an amino acid that is 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical to SEQ ID NO:5.

[0091] The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by nucleic acid sequences encoding an antigen that is fused to an N-terminal signal peptide to direct targeting of the antigen described herein to the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell that is infected with the arenavirus. The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by a signal peptide-antigen fusion that is at least 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450, or at least 500 amino acids long. The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by nucleic acid sequence that is 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical to SEQ ID NO:2. The open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the arenavirus may be substituted by nucleic acid sequence that encodes for an amino acid that is 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical to SEQ ID NO:3.

6.3 Generation of Infectious, Replication-Deficient Arenavirus Expressing a Mycobacterial Antigen



[0092] Generally, arenavirus particles can be recombinantly produced by standard reverse genetic techniques as described for LCMV (L. Flatz, A. Bergthaler, J. C. de la Torre, and D. D. Pinschewer, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:4663-4668, 2006; A. B. Sanchez and J. C. de la Torre, Virology 350:370, 2006; E. Ortiz-Riano, B.Y. Cheng, J. C. de la Torre, L. Martinez-Sobrido. J Gen Virol. 2013 Jan 30. Epub ahead of print). To generate infectious, replication-deficient arenaviruses these techniques can be used, however, the genome of the rescued virus is modified as described in Section 6.1. These modifications can be: i) one or more, e.g., two, three or four, of the four arenavirus open reading frames (glycoprotein (GP); nucleoprotein (NP); the matrix protein Z; the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase L) are removed or is functionally inactivated to prevent formation of infectious particles in normal cells albeit still allowing gene expression in arenavirus vector-infected host cells; and ii) a nucleic acids coding for mycobacterial antigens can be introduced. Infectious, replication-deficient viruses as described herein can be produced as described in International Patent Application Publication No. WO 2009/083210 (application number PCT/EP2008/010994).

[0093] Once generated from cDNA, the infectious, replication-deficient arenaviruses can be propagated in complementing cells. Complementing cells are cells that provide the functionality that has been eliminated from the replication-deficient arenavirus by modification of its genome (e.g., if the open reading frame encoding the GP protein is deleted or functionally inactivated, a complementing cell does provide the GP protein).

[0094] Owing to the removal or functional inactivation of one or more of the viral genes in arenavirus vectors (here deletion of the glycoprotein, GP, will be taken as an example), arenavirus vectors can be generated and expanded in cells providing in trans the deleted viral gene(s), e.g., the GP in the present example. Such a complementing cell line, henceforth referred to as C-cells, is generated by transfecting a mammalian cell line such as BHK-21, HEK293, VERO or other (here BHK-21 will be taken as an example) with one or more plasmid(s) for expression of the viral gene(s) of interest (complementation plasmid, referred to as C-plasmid). The C-plasmid(s) express the viral gene(s) deleted in the arenavirus vector to be generated under control of one or more expression cassettes suitable for expression in mammalian cells, e.g., a mammalian polymerase II promoter such as the CMV or EF1 alpha promoter with a polyadenylation signal. In addition, the complementation plasmid features a mammalian selection marker, e.g., puromycin resistance, under control of an expression cassette suitable for gene expression in mammalian cells, e.g., polymerase II expression cassette as above, or the viral gene transcript(s) are followed by an internal ribosome entry site, such as the one of encephalomyocarditis virus, followed by the mammalian resistance marker. For production in E. coli, the plasmid additionally features a bacterial selection marker, such as an ampicillin resistance cassette.

[0095] The cells to be used, e.g., BHK-21, HEK293, MC57G or other, are kept in culture and are transfected with the complementation plasmid(s) using any of the commonly used strategies such as calcium-phosphate, liposome-based protocols or electroporation. A few days later the suitable selection agent, e.g., puromycin, is added in titrated concentrations. Surviving clones are isolated and subcloned following standard procedures, and high-expressing C-cell clones are identified using Western blot or flow cytometry procedures with antibodies directed against the viral protein(s) of interest. As an alternative to the use of stably transfected C-cells transient transfection of normal cells can complement the missing viral gene(s) in each of the steps where C-cells will be used below.

[0096] Plasmids needed are of two types: i) Two plasmids, referred to as TF-plasmids for expressing intracellularly in C-cells the minimal transacting factors of the arenavirus, is derived from e.g., NP and L proteins of LCMV in the present example; and ii) Plasmids, referred to as GS-plasmids, for expressing intracellularly in C-cells the arenavirus vector genome segments, e.g., the segments with designed modifications. TF-plasmids express the NP and L proteins of the respective arenavirus vector of the disclosure under control of an expression cassette suitable for protein expression in mammalian cells, typically e.g., a mammalian polymerase II promoter such as the CMV or EF1 alpha promoter, either one of them preferentially in combination with a polyadenylation signal. GS-plasmids express the small (S) and the large (L) genome segments of the vector. Typically, polymerase I-driven expression cassettes or T7 bacteriophage RNA polymerase (T7-) driven expression cassettes can be used, the latter preferentially with a 3'-terminal ribozyme for processing of the primary transcript to yield the correct end. In the case of using a T7-based system, expression of T7 in C-cells must be provided by either including in the recovery process an additional expression plasmid, constructed analogously to TF-plasmids, providing T7, or C-cells are constructed to additionally express T7 in a stable manner.

[0097] For recovering of the arenavirus vector of the disclosure, the following procedures are envisaged. First day: C-cells, typically 80% confluent in M6-well plates, are transfected with a mixture of the two TF-plasmids plus the two GS-plasmids. For this one can exploit any of the commonly used strategies such as calcium-phosphate, liposome-based protocols or electroporation.

[0098] 3-5 days later: The culture supernatant (arenavirus vector preparation) is harvested, aliquoted and stored at 4°C, -20°C or -80°C. depending on how long the arenavirus vector of the disclosure should be stored prior to use. Then the arenavirus vector preparation's infectious titer is assessed by an immunofocus assay on C-cells.

[0099] The disclosure furthermore relates to expression of a mycobacterial antigen in a cell culture wherein the cell culture is infected with an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen. When used for expression of a mycobacterial antigen in cultured cells, the following two procedures are envisaged:

[0100] i) The cell type of interest is infected with the arenavirus vector preparation described herein at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of one or more, e.g., two, three or four, resulting in production of the mycobacterial antigen in all cells already shortly after infection.

[0101] ii) Alternatively, a lower MOI can be used and individual cell clones can be selected for their level of virally driven mycobacterial antigen expression. Subsequently individual clones can be expanded infinitely owing to the non-cytolytic nature of arenavirus vectors. Irrespective of the approach, the mycobacterial antigen can subsequently be collected (and purified) either from the culture supernatant or from the cells themselves, depending on the properties of the mycobacterial antigen produced. However, the disclosure is not limited to these two strategies, and other ways of driving expression of mycobacterial antigen using infectious, replication-deficient arenaviruses as vectors may be considered.

6.4 Nucleic Acids, Vector Systems and Cell Lines



[0102] In one aspect of the disclosure, described herein is a nucleic acid sequence encoding the large genomic segment (L segment) of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus described herein, in which one open reading frame of the genomic segment is deleted or functionally inactivated, and the genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen.

[0103] In one aspect of the disclosure, described herein is a nucleic acid sequence that encodes the short genomic segment (S segment) of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus described herein, in which one open reading frame of the genomic segment is deleted or functionally inactivated and wherein the short genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen. In another aspect of the disclosure, described herein is a nucleic acid sequence that encodes the short genomic segment (S segment) of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus described herein, in which the open reading frame of the glycoprotein gene is deleted or functionally inactivated and wherein the short genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen.

[0104] Also disclosed herein is a nucleic acid encoding an arenavirus genomic segment comprising a sequence that is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the sequence of SEQ ID NO:1. Also disclosed herein is a nucleic acid that encodes an arenavirus genomic segment comprising (i) a nucleotide sequence that is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the sequence of nucleotide 1639 to 3315 of SEQ ID NO:11; and (ii) a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen. Also disclosed herein is a nucleic acid that encodes an arenavirus genomic segment comprising (i) a nucleotide sequence that is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the sequence of nucleotide 1639 to 3315 of SEQ ID NO:11; and (ii) a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0105] Also disclosed herein is a nucleic acid that encodes an arenavirus genomic segment comprising (i) a nucleotide sequence encoding an expression product whose amino acid sequence is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the amino acid sequence encoded by 1639 to 3315 of SEQ ID NO:11; and (ii) a nucleotide sequence encoding an expression product whose amino acid sequence is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the amino acid sequence encoded by 1639 to 3315 of SEQ ID NO:11; and (ii) a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0106] Also disclosed herein is a nucleic acid that encodes an arenavirus genomic segment comprising (i) a nucleotide sequence that is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the sequence of nucleotide 1640 to 3316 of SEQ ID NO:12; and (ii) a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen. Also disclosed herein is a nucleic acid that encodes an arenavirus genomic segment comprising (i) a nucleotide sequence with that is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the sequence of nucleotide 1640 to 3316 of SEQ ID NO: 12; and (ii) a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0107] Also disclosed herein is a nucleic acid that encodes an arenavirus genomic segment comprising (i) a nucleotide sequence encoding an expression product whose amino acid sequence is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the amino acid sequence encoded by 1640 to 3316 of SEQ ID NO: 12; and (ii) a nucleotide sequence encoding an expression product whose amino acid sequence is at least 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, at least 99%, or 100% identical to the amino acid sequence encoded by 1640 to 3316 of SEQ ID NO: 12; and (ii) a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen fused to a signal peptide that targets the mycobacterial antigen to the endoplasmic reticulum.

[0108] Also described herein is a vector system comprising one or more vectors that together encode the genome of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle described herein. Specifically, provided herein is a vector system wherein the one or more vectors encode two arenavirus genomic segments, namely an L segment and an S segment, of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus described herein. Such a vector system can encode (on one or more separate DNA molecules):
  • An arenavirus S genomic segment that is modified such that an arenavirus particle carrying this modified S genomic segment cannot produce infectious progeny virus particles and an arenavirus L genomic segment that comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding (in sense or antisense) a mycobacterial antigen;
  • An arenavirus L genomic segment that is modified such that an arenavirus particle carrying this modified L genomic segment cannot produce infectious progeny virus particles and an arenavirus S genomic segment that comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding (in sense or antisense) a mycobacterial antigen;
  • An arenavirus S genomic segment that is modified such that an arenavirus particle carrying this modified S genomic segment cannot produce infectious progeny virus particles and wherein the arenavirus S genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding (in sense or antisense) a mycobacterial antigen and a wild type arenavirus L genomic segment; or
  • An arenavirus L genomic segment that is modified such that an arenavirus particle carrying this modified L genomic segment cannot produce infectious progeny virus particles and wherein the arenavirus L genomic segment comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding (in sense or antisense) a mycobacterial antigen and a wild type arenavirus S


[0109] Also described herein is a nucleic acid sequence encoding an arenavirus (e.g., LCMV) genomic segment in which the open reading frame encoding the GP of the S genomic segment is substituted with a nucleotide sequence encoding:
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a mycobacterial antigen; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a mycolyl transferase of a mycobacterium or a fragment thereof; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C and (ii) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • In the following order from N-terminus to C-terminus: a signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C and (ii) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • In the following order from N-terminus to C-terminus: a signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; and (ii) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C.


[0110] Also disclosed herein is a cell wherein the cell comprises a nucleic acid or a vector system described above in this section. Cell lines derived from such cells, cultures comprising such cells, and methods of culturing such cells infected are also provided herein.

6.5 Methods of Use



[0111] Also disclosed herein are methods of treating an infection in a subject by administering to the subject an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein. For example a method for treating an infection described herein comprises administering to a subject in need thereof an effective amount of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof. The subject can be a mammal, a mouse, a rat, a domesticated animal, such as, but not limited to, a cow, a horse, a sheep, a pig, a goat, a cat, a dog, a hamster, a donkey. In a specific embodiment, the subject is a human.

[0112] Also disclosed herein are methods for inducing an immune response against a mycobacterium in a subject comprising administering to the subject an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen or a composition thereof.

[0113] The subjects to whom an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof is administered may have, be susceptible to, or at risk for a mycobacterial infection. Specifically, the subjects to whom an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof is administered may be infected with, susceptible to, or at risk for, an infection with mycobacterium. More specifically, the subjects to whom an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof is administered may be infected with, susceptible to, or at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

[0114] The subjects to whom an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof is administered may be suffering from, susceptible to, or at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the pulmonary system, central nervous system, lymphatic system, gastrointestinal system, or circulatory system among others. Specifically, the subjects to whom an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus of the disclosure expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof is administered may be suffering from, susceptible to, or at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in one or more organs of the body, including but not limited to the brain, kidneys, bone, bone marrow, uterus, testicles, or lungs. More specifically, the subjects to whom an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof is administered may be suffering from, susceptible to, or at risk for, a pulmonary tuberculosis infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the lungs.

[0115] The infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus of the disclosure expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof may be administered to a subject suffering from symptoms including but not limited to unexplained weight loss, tiredness, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, night sweats, chills, and a loss of appetite, persistent cough, coughing up blood or sputum, chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing among others.

[0116] In another aspect of the disclosure, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein or a composition thereof is administered to a subject of any age group suffering from, is susceptible to, or is at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In a specific aspect of the disclosure embodiment, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein or a composition thereof is administered to a subject with a compromised immune system, a subject suffering from malnutrition or diabetes, a subject who uses tobacco, a child, or a young adult who is suffering from, is susceptible to, or is at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In a more specific aspect of the disclosure, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein or a composition thereof is administered to a subject with a compromised immune system due to HIV infection, who is suffering from, is susceptible to, or is at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In yet another specific aspect, of the disclosure, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein or a composition thereof is administered to a subject who is a child of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 13, 14, or 15 years of age suffering from, is susceptible to, or is at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. An infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof may be administered to a subject who is an infant suffering from, is susceptible to, or is at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Specifically, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof may be administered to a subject who is an infant of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 months of age suffering from, is susceptible to, or is at risk for, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

[0117] An infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof may be administered to subjects with a heightened risk of disseminated Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Specifically, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof may be administered to subjects in neonatal period with immature neonatal immune system.

[0118] An infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein or a composition thereof may be administered to a subject having a latent or 'sleeping' infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Specifically, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof may be administered to a subject having a latent or 'sleeping' infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is not contagious, but can still develop into TB later in life.

[0119] Administering an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus of the disclosure expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein or a composition thereof to subjects confer cell-mediated immunity (CMI) against an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Without being bound by theory, an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein or a composition thereof may infect and express antigens of interest in antigen presenting cells (APC) of the host (e.g., macrophages) for direct presentation of antigens on Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I and II. Alternatively, administering an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof to subjects may induce plurifunctional IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing Mtb-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses (IFN-γ is produced by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and TNF-α is produced by CD4+ T cells) of high magnitude to treat or prevent an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

[0120] Administering an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus of the disclosure expressing a mycobacterial antigen or a composition thereof may reduce the risk that an individual will develop an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis by at least about 10%, at least about 20%, at least about 25%, at least about 30%, at least about 35%, at least about 40%, at least about 50%, at least about 60%, at least about 70%, at least about 80%, at least about 90%, or more, compared to the risk of developing an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the absence of such treatment.

[0121] Alternativelly, administering an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus of the disclosure expressing a mycobacterial antigen or a composition thereof may reduce the symptoms of an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis by at least about 10%, at least about 20%, at least about 25%, at least about 30%, at least about 35%, at least about 40%, at least about 50%, at least about 60%, at least about 70%, at least about 80%, at least about 90%, or more, compared to the manifestation of the symptoms of an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the absence of such treatment.

[0122] Alternatively, administering an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen or a composition thereof in subjects with immature neonatal immune system may induce cell-mediated immunity (CMI) response against an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis by at least about 10%, at least about 20%, at least about 25%, at least about 30%, at least about 35%, at least about 40%, at least about 50%, at least about 60%, at least about 70%, at least about 80%, at least about 90%, or more, compared to cell-mediated immunity (CMI) response against an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the absence of such treatment.

[0123] Changes in cell-mediated immunity (CMI) response function against an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis induced by administering an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen or a composition thereof in subjects can be measured by any assay known to the skilled artisan including, but not limited to flow cytometry (see, e.g., Perfetto S.P. et al., Nat Rev Immun. 2004; 4(8):648-55), lymphocyte proliferation assays (see, e.g., Bonilla F.A. et al., Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008; 101:101-4; and Hicks M.J. et al., Am J Clin Pathol. 1983; 80:159-63), assays to measure lymphocyte activation including determining changes in surface marker expression following activation of measurement of cytokines of T lymphocytes (see, e.g., Caruso A. et al., Cytometry. 1997;27:71-6), ELISPOT assays (see, e.g., Czerkinsky C.C. et al., J Immunol Methods. 1983; 65:109-121; and Hutchings P.R. Et al., J Immunol Methods. 1989; 120:1-8), or Natural killer cell cytotoxicity assays (see, e.g., Bonilla F.A. et al., Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005 May; 94(5 Suppl 1):S1-63).

[0124] In another aspect of the disclosure, described herein is a method of use with an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus (e.g., LCMV) expressing a mycobacterial antigen as described herein in which the open reading frame encoding the GP of the S genomic segment is substituted with a nucleotide sequence encoding:
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a mycobacterial antigen; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a mycolyl transferase of a mycobacterium or a fragment thereof; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • A signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C and (ii) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • In the following order from N-terminus to C-terminus: a signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C and (ii) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; or
  • In the following order from N-terminus to C-terminus: a signal peptide for targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum fused to (i) a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, or at least 100 amino acids of a gene product of a gene of the esat-6 gene family; and (ii) M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C, or a fragment of at least 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, or 250 amino acids of M. tuberculosis Ag85A, M. tuberculosis Ag85B, or M. tuberculosis Ag85C.

6.6 Compositions, Administration and Dosage



[0125] Also disclosed herein are vaccines, immunogenic compositions, and pharmaceutical compositions comprising a genetically engineered arenavirus as described herein. Such vaccines and pharmaceutical compositions can be formulated according to standard procedures in the art.

[0126] Also disclosed herein are compositions comprising an infectious, replication-deficient arenaviruses described herein. Such compositions can be used in methods of treatment and prevention of disease. Specifically, the compositions described herein may be used in the treatment of subjects infected with, or are susceptible to, an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Alternatively, the immunogenic compositions disclosed herein can be used to induce an immune response in a host to whom the composition is administered. The immunogenic compositions described herein can be used as vaccines and can accordingly be formulated as pharmaceutical compositions. Specifically the immunogenic compositions described herein may be used in the prevention of infection of subjects (e.g., human subjects) by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

[0127] The compositions described herein (e.g., the immunogenic compositions) comprise, may be administered in combination with, an adjuvant. The adjuvant for administration in combination with a composition described herein may be administered before, concomitantly with, or after administration of said composition. The term "adjuvant" may refer to a compound that when administered in conjunction with or as part of a composition described herein augments, enhances and/or boosts the immune response to a infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle, but when the compound is administered alone does not generate an immune response to the infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle. The adjuvant may generate an immune response to the infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus particle and does not produce an allergy or other adverse reaction. Adjuvants can enhance an immune response by several mechanisms including, e.g., lymphocyte recruitment, stimulation of B and/or T cells, and stimulation of macrophages. When a vaccine or immunogenic composition of the invention comprises adjuvants or is administered together with one or more adjuvants, the adjuvants that can be used include, but are not limited to, mineral salt adjuvants or mineral salt gel adjuvants, particulate adjuvants, microparticulate adjuvants, mucosal adjuvants, and immunostimulatory adjuvants. Examples of adjuvants include, but are not limited to, aluminum salts (alum) (such as aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, and aluminum sulfate), 3 De-O-acylated monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) (see GB 2220211), MF59 (Novartis), AS03 (GlaxoSmithKline), AS04 (GlaxoSmithKline), polysorbate 80 (Tween 80; ICL Americas, Inc.), imidazopyridine compounds (see International Application No. PCT/US2007/064857, published as International Publication No. WO2007/109812), imidazoquinoxaline compounds (see International Application No. PCT/US2007/064858, published as International Publication No. WO2007/109813) and saponins, such as QS21 (see Kensil et al., in Vaccine Design: The Subunit and Adjuvant Approach (eds. Powell & Newman, Plenum Press, NY, 1995); U.S. Pat. No. 5,057,540). The adjuvant may be Freund's adjuvant (complete or incomplete). Other adjuvants are oil in water emulsions (such as squalene or peanut oil), optionally in combination with immune stimulants, such as monophosphoryl lipid A (see Stoute et al., N. Engl. J. Med. 336, 86-91 (1997)).

[0128] The compositions comprise the infectious, replication-deficient LCMV described herein alone or, preferably, together with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. Suspensions or dispersions of genetically engineered arenaviruses, especially isotonic aqueous suspensions or dispersions, can be used. The pharmaceutical compositions may be sterilized and/or may comprise excipients, e.g., preservatives, stabilizers, wetting agents and/or emulsifiers, solubilizers, salts for regulating osmotic pressure and/or buffers and are prepared in a manner known per se, for example by means of conventional dispersing and suspending processes. The said dispersions or suspensions may comprise viscosity-regulating agents. The suspensions or dispersions are kept at temperatures around 2-4°C, or preferentially for longer storage may be frozen and then thawed shortly before use. For injection, the vaccine or immunogenic preparations may be formulated in aqueous solutions, preferably in physiologically compatible buffers such as Hanks's solution, Ringer's solution, or physiological saline buffer. The solution may contain formulatory agents such as suspending, stabilizing and/or dispersing agents.

[0129] In certain embodiments, the compositions described herein additionally comprise a preservative, e.g., the mercury derivative thimerosal. In a specific embodiment, the pharmaceutical compositions described herein comprises 0.001% to 0.01% thimerosal. In other embodiments, the pharmaceutical compositions described herein do not comprise a preservative.

[0130] The pharmaceutical compositions comprise from about 103 to about 1011 focus forming units of the genetically engineered LCMV. Unit dose forms for parenteral administration are, for example, ampoules or vials, e.g., vials containing from about 103 to 1010 focus forming units or 105 to 1015 physical particles of genetically engineered LCMV.

[0131] A vaccine or immunogenic composition provided herein may be administered to a subject by, including but not limited to, oral, intradermal, intramuscular, intraperitoneal, intravenous, subcutaneous, percutaneous, intranasal and inhalation routes, and via scarification (scratching through the top layers of skin, e.g., using a bifurcated needle). Specifically, subcutaneous or intravenous routes can be used.

[0132] For administration intranasally or by inhalation, the preparation for use according to the present invention can be conveniently delivered in the form of an aerosol spray presentation from pressurized packs or a nebulizer, with the use of a suitable propellant, e.g., dichlorodifluoromethane, trichlorofluoromethane, dichlorotetrafluoroethane, carbon dioxide or other suitable gas. In the case of a pressurized aerosol the dosage unit may be determined by providing a valve to deliver a metered amount. Capsules and cartridges of, e.g., gelatin for use in an inhaler or insufflators may be formulated containing a powder mix of the compound and a suitable powder base such as lactose or starch.

[0133] The dosage of the active ingredient depends upon the type of vaccination and upon the subject, and their age, weight, individual condition, the individual pharmacokinetic data, and the mode of administration.

[0134] Also disclosed are processes and to the use of genetically engineered arenaviruses for the manufacture of vaccines in the form of pharmaceutical preparations, which comprise genetically engineered arenaviruses as active ingredient. The pharmaceutical compositions are prepared in a manner known per se, for example by means of conventional mixing and/or dispersing processes.

6.7 Assays


(a) MHC-Peptide Multimer Staining Assay for Detection of Antigen-Specific CD8+ T-cell proliferation



[0135] Any assay known to the skilled artisan can be used to test antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell responses. For example, the MHC-peptide tetramer staining assay can be used (see, e.g., Altman J.D. et al., Science. 1996; 274:94-96; and Murali-Krishna K. et al., Immunity. 1998; 8:177-187). Briefly, the assay comprises the following steps, a tetramer assay is used to detect the presence of antigen specific T-cells. In order for a T-cell to detect the peptide to which it is specific, it must both recognize the peptide and the tetramer of MHC molecules custom made for an antigen specific T-cell (typically fluorescently labeled). The tetramer is then detected by flow cytometry via the fluorescent label.

(b) ELISPOT Assay for Detection of Antigen-Specific CD4+ T-cell Proliferation



[0136] Any assay known to the skilled artisan can be used to test antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell responses. For example, the ELISPOT assay can be used (see, e.g., Czerkinsky C.C. et al., J Immunol Methods. 1983; 65:109-121; and Hutchings P.R. Et al., J Immunol Methods. 1989; 120:1-8). Briefly, the assay comprises the following steps: An immunospot plate is coated with an anti-cytokine antibody. Cells are incubated in the immunospot plate. Cells secrete cytokines and are then washed off. Plates are then coated with a second biotyinlated-anticytokine antibody and visualized with an avidin-HRP system.

(c) Intracellular Cytokine Assay for Detection of Functionality of CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell Responses



[0137] Any assay known to the skilled artisan can be used to test the functionality of CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses. For example, the intracellular cytokine assay combined with flow cytometry can be used (see, e.g., Suni M.A. et al., J Immunol Methods. 1998; 212:89-98; Nomura L.E. et al., Cytometry. 2000; 40:60-68; and Ghanekar S.A. et al., Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology. 2001; 8:628-63). Briefly, the assay comprises the following steps: activation of cells via a specific peptide, an inhibition of protein transport (e.g., brefeldin A) is added to retain the cytokines within the cell. After washing, antibodies to other cellular markers can be added to the cells. Cells are then fixed and permeabilized. The anti-cytokine antibody is added and the cells can be analyzed by flow cytometry.

(d) Assay for Measuring Arenavirus Vector Infectivity



[0138] Any assay known to the skilled artisan can be used for measuring the infectivity of an arenavirus vector preparation. For example, a typical immunofocus assay with complementing cells (C-cells) following commonly are used for this purpose. C-cell monolayers, typically in M24 well plates, 80% confluent, are infected with 10-fold dilutions of the arenavirus vector preparation for 90 min. Subsequently, the cell layer is overlayed with suitable cell culture medium supplemented with 1% methylcellulose. Two to three days later, depending on the permissiveness of the C-cell line used, the culture supernatant is removed, the cell layer is fixed, typically with ethanol/acetone or with formalin 4%, followed by permeabilization of the cell layer using mild detergents. Subsequently, arenavirus-vector-infected cell foci are identified using mono- or polyclonal antibody preparation(s) against one of the proteins in the arenavirus vector to be tested or against the antigen introduced. Bound antibody is detected using appropriate reagents, such as anti-isotype or anti-species antibodies that are conjugated to a system for visualization such as horse radish peroxidase, followed by a color reaction with suitable chromogens such as o-phenylenediamine. The resulting spots on the plate are counted to calculate the number of infectious focus forming units (FFU) per volume of arenavirus vector preparation (see, e.g., Flint, S.J.; Enquist, W., Racaniello, V.R., and Skalka, A.M. (2009). "Virological Methods". Principles of Virology. ASM Press. ISBN 1-55581-443-3).

(e) Assay for Confirming Replication-Deficiency of Viral Vectors



[0139] Any assay known to the skilled artisan that determines concentration of infectious and replication-competent virus particles can also be used as a to measure replication-deficient viral particles in a sample. For example, a typical immunofocus assay with non-complementing cells following commonly are used for this purpose. Non-complementing cell monolayers, typically in M24 well plates, 80% confluent, are infected with 10-fold dilutions of the arenavirus vector preparation for 90 min. Subsequently, the cell layer is overlayed with suitable cell culture medium supplemented with 1% methylcellulose. Two to three days later, depending on the permissiveness of the non-complementing line used, the culture supernatant is removed, the cell layer is fixed, typically with ethanol/acetone or with formalin 4%, followed by permeabilization of the cell layer using mild detergents. Subsequently, arenavirus-vector-infected cell foci are identified using mono- or polyclonal antibody preparation(s) against one of the proteins in the arenavirus vector to be tested or against the antigen introduced. Bound antibody is detected using appropriate reagents, such as anti-isotype or anti-species antibodies that are conjugated to a system for visualization such as horse radish peroxidase, followed by a color reaction with suitable chromogens such as o-phenylenediamine. The resulting spots on the plate are counted to calculate the number of infectious focus forming units (FFU) per volume of arenavirus vector preparation (see, e.g., Flint, S.J.; Enquist, W., Racaniello, V.R., and Skalka, A.M. (2009). "Virological Methods". Principles of Virology. ASM Press. ISBN 1-55581-443-3).

[0140] Furthermore, plaque-based assays are the standard method used to determine virus concentration in terms of plaque forming units (PFU) in a virus sample. Specifically, a confluent monolayer of non-complementing host cells is infected with the virus at varying dilutions and covered with a semi-solid medium, such as agar to prevent the virus infection from spreading indiscriminately. A viral plaque is formed when a virus successfully infects and replicates itself in a cell within the fixed cell monolayer (see, e.g., Kaufmann, S.H.; Kabelitz, D. (2002). Methods in Microbiology Vol.32:Immunology of Infection. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-521532-0). Plaque formation can take 3 - 14 days, depending on the virus being analyzed. Plaques are generally counted manually and the results, in combination with the dilution factor used to prepare the plate, are used to calculate the number of plaque forming units per sample unit volume (PFU/mL). The PFU/mL result represents the number of infective replication-competent particles within the sample.

(f) Assay for Expression of Viral Antigen



[0141] Any assay known to the skilled artisan can be used for measuring expression of viral antigens. For example, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) is a more modern variation of a protein assay that utilizes a specific antibody linked to an enzyme to detect the presence of an unknown amount of antigen (i.e. virus) in a sample. The antibody-antigen binding event is detected and/or quantified through the enzyme's ability to convert a reagent to a detectable signal that can be used to calculate the concentration of the antigen in the sample (see, e.g., Kemeny, D.M.; Challacombe, S.J. (1988). ELISA and Other Solid Phase Immunoassays: Theoretical and Practical Aspects. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-471-90982-3). Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) is a common enzyme utilized in ELISA schemes due to its ability to amplify signal and increase assay sensitivity. There are many variations, or types of ELISA assays but they can generally be classified as either indirect, competitive, sandwich or reverse (e.g., Kuby, J.; Kindt, T.J., Goldsby, R.A., Osborne, B.A. (2007). Kuby Immunology 6th edition. W.H. Freeman and Company. ISBN 1-4292-0211-4). ELISA kits are commercially available from numerous companies and quantification generally occurs via chromogenic reporters or fluorescence (e.g., Invitrogen, Santa Cruz Biotechnology Inc.). This technique is much less labor intensive than the traditional methods and can take anywhere from 4 to 24 hours based on antibody incubation time.

(g) Animal Models



[0142] The safety, tolerance and immunogenic effectiveness of vaccines comprising of an infectious, replication-deficient arenavirus expressing a mycobacterial antigen described herein or a composition thereof can be tested in animals models. The animal models that can be used to test the safety, tolerance and immunogenic effectiveness of the vaccines and compositions thereof used herein may include mouse, guinea pig, rabbit, and monkeys (see, e.g., Gupta U.D. and Katock V.M., Tuberculosis. 2005; 85:277-293). Preferably, the animal models that can be used to test the safety, tolerance and immunogenic effectiveness of the vaccines and compositions thereof used herein may include mouse.

7. EXAMPLES



[0143] These examples demonstrate that replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-based vector technology (rLCMV) can be successfully used to develop new vaccines against mycobacterial infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis by including mycobacterial antigens into the arenavirus vector, and that administration of such vaccines can induce plurifunctional (IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing) Mtb-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses of high magnitude to control Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.

7.1 Design of Arenavirus Vector Genome



[0144] Ag85B and TB10.4 (SEQ ID NOs.: 4 and 5), which are both frequent targets of T cells in Mtb-infected human patients, were included in the rLCMV for creating the vaccine vector. Following established approaches (U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2010/0297172 A1; and Flatz L. et al., Nat Med. 2010 March; 16(3): 339-345) an rLCMV vaccine vector expressing a fusion antigen consisting of the Mtb antigens Ag85B and TB10.4 (rLCMV/Ag85B-TB10.4, Fig. 1) was designed. Redirection of Ag85B-TB10.4 intracellularly to a different compartment - namely to the endoplasmic reticulum - enhances the vaccine's immunogenicity was demonstrated herein. For this purpose an N-terminal signal sequence was attached to the Ag85B-TB10.4 gene. The signal sequence was taken from the tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) (SEQ ID NOs.: 6 and 7) and the resulting artificial open reading frame was therefore referred to as tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 (SEQ ID NO: 2). The corresponding rLCMV vector (rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4) was also generated (SEQ ID NO: 1). Both vectors were produced and titrated according to established methodology (U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2010/0297172 A1; and Flatz L. et al., Nat Med. 2010 March; 16(3): 339-345).

7.2 Comparison of immunogenicity and functionality of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 and rLCMV/Ag85B-TB10.4 vaccine vectors in mice.



[0145] Next, the immunogenicity of rLCMV/Ag85B-TB10.4 and rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 were analyzed and compared in mice (Fig. 2).

[0146] On day 0 of the experiment, C57BL/6 mice were immunized with 2x105 PFU of either rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 (group 1) or rLCMV/Ag85B-TB10.4 (group 2) intravenously. Control mice were not immunized (group 3). The same immunization was repeated on day 28. On day 27 (panel A) and on day 38 (panel B) TB10.4 (IMYNYPAM)-specific CD8+ T cells were measured in peripheral blood by flow cytometry using MHC class I dextramers. The Dextramer-binding cells are expressed as percentage of the total CD8+ population (X in panels A and B). On day 56 of the experiment, the animals were euthanized and single cell suspensions were prepared from the spleen of the animals. These cells were stimulated with the TB10.4-derived QIMYNYPAM peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO:10 and the Ag85B-derived THSWEYWGAQLNAMKGDLQS peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO: 8 to determine antigen-specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) co-producing CD8+ (panel C), as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing CD4+ T cells (panel D), respectively. For this, standard intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry techniques were used. IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing cells amongst total CD8+ T cells (Y in panel C) or amongst total CD4+ T cells (Z in panel D) are expressed as a percentage. Symbols represent individual mice. Group 1 and group 2 mice were significantly different in all measurements as determined using unpaired two-tailed student's t-test (p=0.0226, p=0.0108, p=0.0044, p=0.0001 in panels A-D, respectively).

[0147] After a single intravenous immunization (prime), both vectors induced Mtb-specific CD8+ T cell responses of very considerable magnitude (Fig. 2A). These responses were efficiently augmented when the same vector was re-administered four weeks after prime (boost, Fig. 2B). After prime as well as after boost, rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 induced significantly stronger responses than rLCMV/Ag85B-TB10.4. The functionality of CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses after prime-boost vaccination was investigated. Both vectors induced plurifunctional IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing CD8+ (Fig. 2C) and CD4+ T cell responses (Fig. 2D) of high magnitude. In analogy to the differences in strength of total Mtb-specific CD8+ T cell responses (Fig. 2A, B), plurifunctional CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses to rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 were of significantly higher magnitude than those elicited by rLCMV/Ag85B-TB10.4. These data demonstrated that a modification of the intracellular targeting of Ag85B-TB10.4 by means of an N-terminal leader peptide such as the one of tPA can augment CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses.

7.3 Comparison of immunogenicity of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 vaccine vector administered by intravenous or subcutaneous routes.



[0148] Next, the immunogenicity of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 when administered subcutaneously to mice was compared to the responses elicited by intravenous immunization with the same vector (Fig. 3).

[0149] On day 0 of the experiment, C57BL/6 mice were immunized with 105 PFU of of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 either via the intravenous route (group 1) or by the subcutaneous route (group 2). Control mice were not immunized (group 3). On day 11, the animals were euthanized and single cell suspensions were prepared from the spleen of these animals. TB10.4 (IMYNYPAM (SEQ ID NO:9))-specific CD8+ T cells were meanured by flow cytometry using MHC class I dextramers. The Dextramer-binding cells are expressed as percentage of the total CD8+ population (X in panels A). The spleen cells were also stimulated with TB10.4-derived QIMYNYPAM peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO:10 and the Ag85B-derived THSWEYWGAQLNAMKGDLQS peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO: 8 to determine antigen-specific IFN-γ producing CD8+ (panel B), as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing CD4+ T cells (panel C), respectively. For this, standard intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry techniques were used. Epitope-specific IFN-γ producing CD8+ T cell within the total CD8+ T cells (Y in panel B), as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing cells amongst total CD4+ T cells (Z in panel C), are expressed as a percentage. Symbols represent individual mice.

[0150] The total magnitude of Mtb-specific CD8 T cell responses (Fig. 3A) as well as the magnitude of Mtb-specific plurifunctional CD8 + (Fig. 3B) and CD4+ (Fig. 3C) T cells was assessed. These analyses demonstrated that rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 induced high frequency plurifunctional CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses irrespective the route of vaccine administration.

7.4 Immunization studies with rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 vaccine vector in adult and 1-week-old mice.



[0151] The capacity of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 for inducing Mtb-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in one week-old mice was examined, and these responses were compared to those of adult animals (Fig. 4).

[0152] On day 0 of the experiment, adult (group 1) and 1-week-old (group 2) C57BL/6 mice were immunized with 105 PFU of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 via the subcutaneous route. On day 10, the animals were euthanized and single cell suspensions were prepared from the spleen of these animals. TB10.4 (IMYNYPAM (SEQ ID NO:9))-specific CD8+ T cells were measured by flow cytometry using MHC class I dextramers. The Dextramer-binding cells are expressed as percentage of the total CD8+ population (X in panels A) or as total number of Dextramer-binding CD8+ cells in spleen (Y in panel B). These spleen cells were also stimulated with the TB10.4-derived QIMYNYPAM peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO:10 and the Ag85B-derived THSWEYWGAQLNAMKGDLQS peptide comprising of SEQ ID NO: 8 to determine antigen-specific interferon-y (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) co-producing CD8+ (panel C), as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing CD4+ T cells (panel D), respectively. For this, standard intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry techniques were used. IFN-γ and TNF-α co-producing cells amongst total CD8+ T cells (Z in panel C) or amongst total CD4+ T cells (XY in panel D) are expressed as a percentage. Symbols represent individual mice.

[0153] The magnitude of Mtb-specific CD8+ T cell responses was equivalent in one week-old and adult mice. Importantly, not only the relative proportion of specific CD8+ T cells (Fig. 4A), but also their total number (Fig. 4B) was in the same range. Mtb-specific CD8+ cells of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4-vaccinated one week-old mice were as functional as those of adult mice, which was evident from an equivalent capacity to co-produce IFN-γ and TNF-α. Furthermore, one-week-old and adult mice mounted comparable plurifunctional Mtb-specific CD4+ T cell responses (Fig. 4D). These findings demonstrated the capacity of rLCMV/tPA-Ag85B-TB10.4 to induce plurifunctional Mtb-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses in very young, and therefore, immunologically still immature individuals.

SEQUENCE LISTING



[0154] 

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Claims

1. An infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use as a vaccine in a method of treating or preventing an infection with M. tuberculosis in an infant, wherein the particle comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen, wherein the mycobacterial antigen is a fusion protein between Ag85B and TB10.4, wherein the fusion protein comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:5, and wherein the mycobacterial antigen is fused to a signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator.
 
2. The infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use of claim 1, wherein the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator is an N-terminal signal peptide.
 
3. The infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use of claim 1, wherein the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator directs targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum.
 
4. The infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use of claim 1, wherein the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:7.
 
5. The infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator and the fusion protein comprise the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:3.
 
6. The infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use of any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein an open reading frame of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.
 
7. The infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use of claim 6, wherein the open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.
 
8. The infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle for use of any one of claims 1 to 7 comprising a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:1.
 
9. A pharmaceutical composition comprising an infectious, replication-deficient lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus particle and a pharmaceutically inactive carrier for use as a vaccine in a method of treating or preventing an infection with M. tuberculosis in an infant, wherein the particle comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a mycobacterial antigen, wherein the mycobacterial antigen is a fusion protein between Ag85B and TB10.4, wherein the fusion protein comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:5, and wherein the mycobacterial antigen is fused to a signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator.
 
10. The pharmaceutical composition for use of claim 9, wherein the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator is an N-terminal signal peptide.
 
11. The pharmaceutical composition for use of claim 9, wherein the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator directs targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum.
 
12. The pharmaceutical composition for use of claim 9, wherein the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:7.
 
13. The pharmaceutical composition for use of any one of claims 9 to 12, wherein the signal peptide of a tissue plasminogen activator and the fusion protein comprise the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:3.
 
14. The pharmaceutical composition for use of any one of claims 9 to 13, wherein an open reading frame of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.
 
15. The pharmaceutical composition for use of claim 14, wherein the open reading frame that encodes the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is deleted or functionally inactivated.
 
16. The pharmaceutical composition for use of any one of claims 9 to 15 comprising a genomic segment, wherein the genomic segment comprises the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:1.
 


Ansprüche

1. Infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen zur Verwendung als Impfstoff in einem Verfahren zur Behandlung oder Prävention einer Infektion mit M. tuberculosis bei einem Säugling, wobei das Teilchen eine Nucleotidsequenz umfasst, die für ein mykobakterielles Antigen kodiert, wobei das mykobakterielle Antigen ein Fusionsprotein zwischen Ag85B und TB10.4 ist, wobei das Fusionsprotein die Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NR.:5 umfasst, und wobei das mykobakterielle Antigen an ein Signalpeptid eines Gewebeplasminogenaktivators fusioniert ist.
 
2. Infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators ein N-terminales Signalpeptid ist.
 
3. Infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators das Targeting auf das endoplasmatische Retikulum richtet.
 
4. Infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators die Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NR.:7 umfasst.
 
5. Infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen zur Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei das Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators und das Fusionsprotein die Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NR.:3 umfassen.
 
6. Infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen zur Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei ein offener Leserahmen des lymphozytären Choriomeningitis-Virus deletiert oder funktionell inaktiviert ist.
 
7. Infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 6, wobei der offene Leserahmen, der für das Glykoprotein des lymphozytären Choriomeningitis-Virus kodiert, deletiert oder funktionell inaktiviert ist.
 
8. Infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen zur Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, das ein genomisches Segment umfasst, wobei das genomische Segment die Nukleotidsequenz von SEQ ID NR.:1 umfasst.
 
9. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung, umfassend ein infektiöses, replikationsdefizientes lymphozytäres Choriomeningitis-Virusteilchen und einen pharmazeutisch inaktiven Träger zur Verwendung als Impfstoff in einem Verfahren zur Behandlung oder Prävention einer Infektion mit M. tuberculosis bei einem Säugling, wobei das Teilchen eine Nukleotidsequenz umfasst, die für ein mykobakterielles Antigen kodiert, wobei das mykobakterielle Antigen ein Fusionsprotein zwischen Ag85B und TB10.4 ist, wobei das Fusionsprotein die Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NR.:5 umfasst, und wobei das mykobakterielle Antigen an ein Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators fusioniert ist.
 
10. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 9, wobei das Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators ein N-terminales Signalpeptid ist.
 
11. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 9, wobei das Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators das Targeting auf das endoplasmatische Retikulum richtet.
 
12. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 9, wobei das Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators die Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NR.:7 umfasst.
 
13. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 12, wobei das Signalpeptid eines Gewebe-Plasminogenaktivators und das Fusionsprotein die Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NR.:3 umfassen.
 
14. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 13, wobei ein offener Leserahmen des lymphozytären Choriomeningitis-Virus deletiert oder funktionell inaktiviert ist.
 
15. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 14, wobei der offene Leserahmen, der für das Glykoprotein des lymphozytären Choriomeningitis-Virus kodiert, deletiert oder funktionell inaktiviert ist.
 
16. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 15, die ein genomisches Segment umfasst, wobei das genomische Segment die Nukleotidsequenz von SEQ ID NR.:1 umfasst.
 


Revendications

1. Particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication pour utilisation comme un vaccin dans un procédé de traitement ou de prévention d'une infection par M. tuberculosis chez un nourrisson, dans laquelle la particule comprend une séquence de nucléotides codant pour un antigène mycobactérien, dans laquelle l'antigène mycobactérien est une protéine de fusion entre Ag85B et TB10.4, dans laquelle la protéine de fusion comprend la séquence d'acides aminés de SEQ ID NO : 5, et dans laquelle l'antigène mycobactérien est fusionné avec un peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène.
 
2. Particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication pour utilisation selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle le peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène est un peptide de signal de terminaison N.
 
3. Particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication pour utilisation selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle le peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène vise le réticulum endoplasmique.
 
4. Particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication pour utilisation selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle le peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène comprend la séquence d'acides aminés de SEQ ID NO : 7.
 
5. Particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication pour utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans laquelle le peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène et la protéine de fusion comprennent la séquence d'acides aminés de SEQ ID NO : 3.
 
6. Particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication pour utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, dans laquelle un cadre de lecture ouvert du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire est supprimé ou fonctionnellement inactivé.
 
7. Particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication pour utilisation selon la revendication 6, dans laquelle le cadre de lecture ouvert qui code pour la glycoprotéine du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire est supprimé ou fonctionnellement inactivé.
 
8. Particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication pour utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7 comprenant un segment génomique, dans laquelle le segment génomique comprend la séquence de nucléotides de SEQ ID NO : 1.
 
9. Composition pharmaceutique comprenant une particule infectieuse du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire à déficience de réplication et un vecteur pharmaceutiquement inactif pour utilisation comme un vaccin dans un procédé de traitement ou de prévention d'une infection par M. tuberculosis chez un nourrisson, dans laquelle la particule comprend une séquence de nucléotides codant pour un antigène mycobactérien, dans laquelle l'antigène mycobactérien est une protéine de fusion entre Ag85B et TB10.4, dans laquelle la protéine de fusion comprend la séquence d'acides aminés de SEQ ID NO : 5, et dans laquelle l'antigène mycobactérien est fusionné avec un peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène
 
10. Composition pharmaceutique pour utilisation selon la revendication 9, dans laquelle le peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène est un peptide de signal de terminaison N.
 
11. Composition pharmaceutique pour utilisation selon la revendication 9, dans laquelle le peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène vise le réticulum endoplasmique.
 
12. Composition pharmaceutique pour utilisation selon la revendication 9, dans laquelle le peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène comprend la séquence d'acides aminés de SEQ ID NO : 7.
 
13. Composition pharmaceutique pour utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 12, dans laquelle le peptide de signal d'un activateur tissulaire du plasminogène et la protéine de fusion comprennent la séquence d'acides aminés de SEQ ID NO : 3.
 
14. Composition pharmaceutique pour utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 13, dans laquelle un cadre de lecture ouvert du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire est supprimé ou fonctionnellement inactivé.
 
15. Composition pharmaceutique pour utilisation selon la revendication 14, dans laquelle le cadre de lecture ouvert qui code pour la glycoprotéine du virus de chorioméningite lymphocytaire est supprimé ou fonctionnellement inactivé.
 
16. Composition pharmaceutique pour utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 15 comprenant un segment génomique, dans laquelle le segment génomique comprend la séquence de nucléotides de SEQ ID NO : 1.
 




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