A single-cycle glycoprotein d deletion viral vaccine candidate, ∆gd-2, elicits polyfunctional antibodies that protect against ocular herpes simplex virus

Natalie L.M. Ramsey, Maria Visciano, Richard Hunte, Lip Nam Loh, Clare Burn Aschner, William R. Jacobs, Betsy C. Herold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00335-20
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2020


  • Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Ocular herpes
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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