Increased immunogenicity of a DNA-launched Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus-based replicon DNA vaccine.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

A novel genetic vaccine that is based on a Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEE) replicon launched from plasmid DNA is described. The plasmid encodes a VEE replicon under the transcriptional control of the cytomegalovirus immediate-early promoter (VEE DNA). The VEE DNA consistently expressed 3- to 15-fold more green fluorescent protein in vitro than did a conventional DNA vaccine. Furthermore, transfection with the DNA-launched VEE replicon induced apoptosis and type I interferon production. Inoculation of mice with VEE DNA encoding human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp160 significantly increased humoral responses by several orders of magnitude compared to an equal dose of a conventional DNA vaccine. These increases were also observed at 10- and 100-fold-lower doses of the VEE DNA. Cellular immune responses measured by gamma interferon and interleukin 2 enzyme-linked immunospot assay were significantly higher in mice immunized with the VEE DNA at decreased doses. The immune responses induced by the VEE DNA-encoded antigen, however, were independent of an intact type I interferon signaling pathway. Moreover, the DNA-launched VEE replicon induced an efficient prime to a VEE replicon particle (VRP) boost, increasing humoral and cellular immunity by at least 1 order of magnitude compared to VEE DNA only. Importantly, immunization with VEE DNA, as opposed to VRP, did not induce any anti-VRP neutralizing antibodies. Increased potency of DNA vaccines and reduced vector immunity may ultimately have an impact on the design of vaccination strategies in humans.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ljungberg, K; Whitmore, AC; Fluet, ME; Moran, TP; Shabman, RS; Collier, ML; Kraus, AA; Thompson, JM; Montefiori, DC; Beard, C; Johnston, RE

Published Date

  • December 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 81 / 24

Start / End Page

  • 13412 - 13423

PubMed ID

  • 17913817

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2168848

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-5514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/JVI.01799-07


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States