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Vaccine. 2001 Nov 12;20(3-4):397-405.

Enhanced immunogenicity of a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 env DNA vaccine by manipulating N-glycosylation signals. Effects of elimination of the V3 N306 glycan.

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Department of Clinical Virology, University of Göteborg, Guldhedsgatan 10 B, S-413 46 Göteborg, Sweden.


DNA encoding HIV-1 env is a poorly efficient B-cell immunogen and one probable explanation is that the numerous gp120 N-linked glycans gp120 may interfere with B-cell epitope presentation. The N306 glycan in gp120 shields HIV-1 from neutralizing antibodies. A DNA immunogen lacking the N306 glycosylation signal (T308A) was constructed to determine whether this glycan affected the immune response. Mice were immunized intranasally twice with DNA containing either the wild type or the mutant env. Two additional groups were primed with wild type or mutant env and boosted with rgp160 protein, containing the complete set of N-linked glycans. Immunization with DNA alone resulted in priming of B-cell clones but was not sufficient to induce a complete antibody response. Animals primed with the N306 mutant and subsequently boosted with rgp160 protein displayed higher serum IgG-binding titers to gp120 than animals primed with wild type env DNA. The manipulation of the glycosylation sites of the env DNA strongly primes antibody responses (but non-neutralizing) as well as T-cell responses to the wild type strain gp160. However, priming with mutant plasmid did not result in higher neutralization titers to wild type or T308A-mutated virus than did the wild type plasmid. With the N306 mutant DNA we thus immunized a non-neutralization epitope, but obtained strong env-binding IgG after rgp160 boosting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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