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Vaccine. 2003 Sep 8;21(25-26):3972-81.

Mucosal delivery of the human immunodeficiency virus-1 Tat protein in mice elicits systemic neutralizing antibodies, cytotoxic T lymphocytes and mucosal IgA.

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Laboratory of Bacteriology and Medical Mycology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 Tat protein induces protection in non-human primates upon systemic vaccination. In view of the design of mucosal vaccines against HIV-1 we studied the immune response to native Tat (aa 1-86) in mice following intranasal delivery of the protein with two mucosal adjuvants, Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) and LT-R72, a non-toxic mutant of LT. Immunization with Tat and the two adjuvants induced in BALB/c but not in C57BL/6 mice high and persistent levels of serum IgG and secretory IgA in vaginal and intestinal fluids. Mice sera neutralized Tat and recognized two epitopes mapping in the regions 1-20 and 46-60. Furthermore, their splenocytes proliferated and secreted IFN-gamma and IL-6 in response to Tat. Finally, CTLs were also elicited and they recognized an epitope localized within aa 11-40 of Tat.

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