Knight FC, Gilchuk P, Kumar A, Becker KW, Sevimli S, Jacobson ME, Suryadevara N, Wang-Bishop L, Boyd KL, Crowe JE, Joyce S, Wilson JT. Mucosal Immunization with a pH-Responsive Nanoparticle Vaccine Induces Protective CD8 Lung-Resident Memory T Cells. ACS nano. 2019 Oct 22;13(13). 10939-10960. PMID: 31553872 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC6832804 NIHMSID: NIHMS1052798.
Tissue-resident memory T cells (T) patrol nonlymphoid organs and provide superior protection against pathogens that commonly infect mucosal and barrier tissues, such as the lungs, intestine, liver, and skin. Thus, there is a need for vaccine technologies that can induce a robust, protective T response in these tissues. Nanoparticle (NP) vaccines offer important advantages over conventional vaccines; however, there has been minimal investigation into the design of NP-based vaccines for eliciting T responses. Here, we describe a pH-responsive polymeric nanoparticle vaccine for generating antigen-specific CD8 T cells in the lungs. With a single intranasal dose, the NP vaccine elicited airway- and lung-resident CD8 T cells and protected against respiratory virus challenge in both sublethal (vaccinia) and lethal (influenza) infection models for up to 9 weeks after immunization. In elucidating the contribution of material properties to the resulting T response, we found that the pH-responsive activity of the carrier was important, as a structurally analogous non-pH-responsive control carrier elicited significantly fewer lung-resident CD8 T cells. We also demonstrated that dual-delivery of protein antigen and nucleic acid adjuvant on the same NP substantially enhanced the magnitude, functionality, and longevity of the antigen-specific CD8 T response in the lungs. Compared to administration of soluble antigen and adjuvant, the NP also mediated retention of vaccine cargo in pulmonary antigen-presenting cells (APCs), enhanced APC activation, and increased production of T-related cytokines. Overall, these data suggest a promising vaccine platform technology for rapid generation of protective CD8 T cells in the lungs.