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Virology. 2010 Nov 25;407(2):296-305. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2010.08.026. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

HIV-1 Gag p17 presented as virus-like particles on the E2 scaffold from Geobacillus stearothermophilus induces sustained humoral and cellular immune responses in the absence of IFNγ production by CD4+ T cells.

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  • 1Institute of Protein Biochemistry, C.N.R., via P. Castellino 111, 80131 Naples, Italy.


We have constructed stable virus-like particles displaying the HIV-1 Gag(p17) protein as an N-terminal fusion with an engineered protein domain from the Geobacillus stearothermophilus pyruvate dehydrogenase subunit E2. Mice immunized with the Gag(p17)-E2 60-mer scaffold particles mounted a strong and sustained antibody response. Antibodies directed to Gag(p17) were boosted significantly with additional immunizations, while anti-E2 responses reached a plateau. The isotype of the induced antibodies was biased towards IgG1, and the E2-primed CD4+ T cells did not secrete IFNγ. Using transgenic mouse model systems, we demonstrated that CD8+ T cells primed with E2 particles were able to exert lytic activity and produce IFNγ. These results show that the E2 scaffold represents a powerful vaccine delivery system for whole antigenic proteins or polyepitope engineered proteins, evoking antibody production and antigen specific CTL activity even in the absence of IFNγ-producing CD4+ T cells.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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