The mixed results from recent vaccine clinical trials targeting HIV-1 justify the need to enhance the potency of HIV-1 vaccine platforms in general. Use of first-generation recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (rAd5) platforms failed to protect vaccinees from HIV-1 infection. One hypothesis is that the rAd5-based vaccine failed due to the presence of pre-existing Ad5 immunity in many vaccines. We recently confirmed that EAT-2-expressing rAd5 vectors uniquely activate the innate immune system and improve cellular immune responses against rAd5-expressed Ags, inclusive of HIV/Gag. In this study, we report that use of the rAd5-EAT-2 vaccine can also induce potent cellular immune responses to HIV-1 Ags despite the presence of Ad5-specific immunity. Compared to controls expressing a mutant SH2 domain form of EAT-2, Ad5 immune mice vaccinated with an rAd5-wild-type EAT-2 HIV/ Gag-specific vaccine formulation significantly facilitated the induction of several arms of the innate immune system. These responses positively correlated with an improved ability of the vaccine to induce stronger effector memory T cell-biased, cellular immune responses to a coexpressed Ag despite pre-existing anti-Ad5 immunity. Moreover, inclusion of EAT-2 in the vaccine mixture improves the generation of polyfunctional cytolytic CD8 + T cell responses as characterized by enhanced production of IFN-γ, TNF-α, cytotoxic degranulation, and increased in vivo cytolytic activity. These data suggest a new approach whereby inclusion of EAT-2 expression in stringent human vaccination applications can provide a more effective vaccine against HIV-1 specifically in Ad5 immune subjects.