Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus, 75 Kallipoleos Avenue, P.O. Box 20537, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus.
Antigen-presenting viral vectors have been extensively used as vehicles for the presentation of antigens to the immune system in numerous vaccine strategies. Particularly in HIV vaccine development efforts, two main viral vectors have been used as antigen carriers: (a) live attenuated vectors and (b) virus-like particles (VLPs); the former, although highly effective in animal studies, cannot be clinically tested in humans due to safety concerns and the latter have failed to induce broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies. For more than two decades, Inoviruses (non-lytic bacterial phages) have also been utilized as antigen carriers in several vaccine studies. Inoviral vectors are important antigen-carriers in vaccine development due to their ability to present an antigen on their outer architecture in many copies and to their natural high immunogenicity. Numerous fundamental studies have been conducted, which have established the unique properties of antigen-displayed inoviral vectors in HIV vaccine efforts. The recent isolation of new, potent anti-HIV broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies provides a new momentum in this emerging technology.