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J Immunol. 2003 Aug 1;171(3):1240-6.

Enhanced priming of multispecific, murine CD8+ T cell responses by DNA vaccines expressing stress protein-binding polytope peptides.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


A polytope DNA vaccine (pCI/pt10) was used that encodes within a 106-residue sequence 10-well characterized epitopes binding MHC class I molecules encoded by the K, D, or L locus (of H-2(d), H-2(b), and H-2(k) haplotype mice). The pCI/pt10 DNA vaccine efficiently primed all four K(b)/D(b)-restricted CD8(+) T cell responses in H-2(b) mice, but was deficient in stimulating most CD8(+) T cell responses in H-2(d) mice. Comparing CD8(+) T cell responses elicited with the pCI/pt10 DNA vaccine in L(d+) BALB/c and L(d-) BALB/c(dm2) (dm2) mice revealed that L(d)-restricted CD8(+) T cell responses down-regulated copriming of CD8(+) T cell responses to other epitopes regardless of their restriction or epitope specificity. Although the pt10 vaccine could thus efficiently co prime multispecific CD8(+) T cell responses, this priming was impaired by copriming L(d)-restricted CD8(+) T cell responses. When the pt10 sequence was fused to a 77-residue DnaJ-homologous, heat shock protein 73-binding domain (to generate a 183-residue cT(77)-pt10 fusion protein), expression and immunogenicity (for CD8(+) T cells) of the chimeric Ag were greatly enhanced. Furthermore, priming of multispecific CD8(+) T cell responses was readily elicited even under conditions in which the suppressive, L(d)-dependent immunodominance operated. The expression of polytope vaccines as chimeric peptides that endogenously capture stress proteins during in situ production thus facilitates copriming of CD8(+) T cell populations with a diverse repertoire.

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