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Immunobiology. 2005;210(5):305-19.

In vivo induction of cellular and humoral immune responses by hybrid DNA vectors encoding simian/human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis B surface antigen virus particles in BALB/c and HLA-A2-transgenic mice.

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  • 1INSERM U 370 Carcinogenèse Hépatique et Virologie Moléculaire, Département de Médecine Moléculaire, Institut Pasteur, 28, rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 PARIS CEDEX 15, France.


To improve the immunogenicity of epitopes derived from Gag proteins of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and from the envelope (Env) protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), we have designed hybrid DNA vaccines by inserting sequences encoding antigenic domains of SIV and HIV-1 into the hepatitis B virus envelope gene. This gene encodes the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) capable of spontaneous assembly into virus-like particles that were used here as carrier. Injections of hybrid vectors encoding B-cell epitopes from the gp41 and the gp120 envelope proteins of HIV-1 induced specific humoral responses in BALB/c mice. Furthermore, high frequencies of IFN-gamma-secreting CD8+ T cells specific for various antigenic determinants of SIV-Gag were observed after intramuscular injections of hybrid DNA vectors in BALB/c mice. Genetic immunization of HLA-A2.1-transgenic mice with HIV-Env/HBsAg-encoding DNA generated a strong CTL response and IFN-gamma-secreting CD8+ T lymphocytes specific for HIV-1 envelope-derived peptide. H-2d-restricted HBs-specific T-cell responses dominated over SIV-Gag responses in BALB/c mice whereas HLA-A2-restricted HIV-Env response was enhanced after fusion with HBsAg. These data demonstrate that different B and T-cell epitopes of vaccine-relevant viral antigens can be expressed in vivo as fusion proteins with HBsAg but that the optimal immunogenicity may differ strikingly between individual epitopes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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