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Virology. 2001 Dec 20;291(2):272-84.

Expression of vaccinia E3L and K3L genes by a novel recombinant canarypox HIV vaccine vector enhances HIV-1 pseudovirion production and inhibits apoptosis in human cells.

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Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-2581, USA.


Poxviruses that are attenuated for growth in human cells provide a safe means of HIV antigen expression and are capable of eliciting HIV-specific immune responses, including CD8+ cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses. HIV-1 antigen expression in human cells by attenuated poxvirus vectors may be limited by interferon-mediated host defense mechanisms. To enhance HIV antigen expression in human cells, the vaccinia virus E3L and K3L genes were inserted into a canarypox vector that expresses HIV-1 Gag, Env, and a Nef/Pol polyepitope string. E3L and K3L markedly reduced the activation of the double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase, PKR, and led to a significant reduction in apoptosis in HeLa cells. Production and release of HIV-1 antigen in the form of pseudovirions was enhanced in both duration and magnitude by this vector modification. The addition of immunomodulatory genes to attenuated poxviruses represents a novel strategy for enhancing antigen production by live vector HIV vaccine candidates.

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