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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2000 Apr;27(4):341-9.

Oral delivery of DNA vaccines using attenuated Salmonella typhimurium as carrier.

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Molecular Immunology, GBF-National Research Center for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124, Braunschweig, Germany.


The efficacious delivery of eukaryotic expression plasmids to inductive cells of the immune system constitutes a key prerequisite for the generation of effective DNA vaccines. Here, we have explored the use of bacteria as vehicles to orally deliver expression plasmids. Attenuated Salmonella typhimurium aroA harbouring eukaryotic expression plasmids that encoded virulence factors of Listeria monocytogenes were administered orally to BALB/c mice. Strong cytotoxic and helper T cell responses as well as antibody production were elicited even after a single administration. Mice immunised four times with Salmonella that carried a eukaryotic expression plasmid encoding the secretory listerial protein listeriolysin were protected against a subsequent lethal challenge with this pathogen. A single dose was already partially protective. The efficiency of this vaccination procedure was due to transfer of the expression plasmid from the bacterial carrier to the mammalian host. Evidence for such an event could be obtained in vivo and in vitro. Expression of the desired antigen in various lymphoid tissues was already detectable 1 day after administration of the DNA vaccine and persisted for at least 1 month in spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes. Induction of cytotoxic and helper T cell responses was observed in all mouse strains tested including outbred strains whereas antibodies were mainly detected in BALB/c. Furthermore, we could show that immunogenicity could be improved by increasing the invasiveness of the bacterial carrier.

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