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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 12;8(8):e73511. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073511. eCollection 2013.

A novel naturally occurring tandem promoter in modified vaccinia virus ankara drives very early gene expression and potent immune responses.

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  • 1Infectious Disease Division, Bavarian Nordic GmbH, Martinsried, Germany.

Abstract

Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) has been shown to be suitable for the generation of experimental vaccines against cancer and infectious diseases, eliciting strong humoral and cellular immune responses. In viral vectored vaccines, strong recombinant antigen expression and timing of expression influence the quantity and quality of the immune response. Screening of synthetic and native poxvirus promoters for strong protein expression in vitro and potent immune responses in vivo led to the identification of the MVA13.5L promoter, a unique and novel naturally occurring tandem promoter in MVA composed of two 44 nucleotide long repeated motifs, each containing an early promoter element. The MVA13.5L gene is highly conserved across orthopoxviruses, yet its function is unknown. The unique structure of its promoter is not found for any other gene in the MVA genome and is also conserved in other orthopoxviruses. Comparison of the MVA13.5L promoter activity with synthetic poxviral promoters revealed that the MVA13.5L promoter produced higher levels of protein early during infection in HeLa cells and particularly in MDBK cells, a cell line in which MVA replication stops at an early stage before the expression of late genes. Finally, a recombinant antigen expressed under the control of this novel promoter induced high antibody titers and increased CD8 T cell responses in homologous prime-boost immunization compared to commonly used promoters. In particular, the recombinant antigen specific CD8 T cell responses dominated over the immunodominant B8R vector-specific responses after three vaccinations and even more during the memory phase. These results have identified the native MVA13.5L promoter as a new potent promoter for use in MVA vectored preventive and therapeutic vaccines.

PMID:
23951355
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3741161
Free PMC Article
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