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Vaccine. 2002 Dec 13;21(3-4):247-57.

DNA vaccination with linear minimalistic (MIDGE) vectors confers protection against Leishmania major infection in mice.

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Mologen Molecular Medicines SL, Antonio de Cabezon 83, Piso 2, 28034 Fuencarral, Madrid, Spain.


Immunization protocols based on priming with plasmid DNA and boosting with recombinants of vaccinia virus (rVV) encoding the same antigen offer great promise for the prevention and treatment of many parasitic and viral infections for which conventional vaccination has little or no effect. To overcome some of the potential problems associated to the use of plasmids, we have developed minimalistic, immunogenically defined, gene expression (MIDGE((R))) vectors. These linear vectors contain only the minimum sequence required for gene expression and can be chemically modified to increase the immune response. Here, we demonstrate that MIDGE vectors coding for the LACK antigen confer a highly effective protection against Leishmania infection in susceptible Balb/c mice. Protection is achieved at lower doses of vector compared to conventional plasmids. This efficacy could be greatly improved by the addition of a nuclear localization signal (NLS) peptide to the end of the MIDGE vector. In fact, immunization with two doses of NLS-modified MIDGE conferred similar or even better protection than that achieved by priming with plasmid DNA followed by boosting with rVV. These results demonstrate that MIDGE vectors are a good alternative to plasmid and rVV for immunization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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