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Gene Ther. 2004 Jun;11(11):924-32.

Secretory heat-shock protein as a dendritic cell-targeting molecule: a new strategy to enhance the potency of genetic vaccines.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


DNA vaccines are an appealing strategy for inducing cytotoxic T-lymphocyte and antibody responses against tumor cells as well as infectious agents. Dendritic cells (DCs) play a critical role in inducing immune responses, but their potential is not fully utilized in the DNA vaccine setting since they take up only a minor fraction of the injected DNA. Here we describe a novel DNA vaccination strategy based on the targeting of a modified tumor-associated antigen, the human papilloma virus (HPV) type 16 E7 protein, to DCs by a heat-shock protein (HSP) to enhance antigen presentation and immune responses. Specifically, a chimerical HPV-E7 and HSP70 fusion gene preceded with a leader sequence was constructed. When mice were immunized with this construct, the DNA is taken up by various types of cells, which then produce and secrete an HPV-E7-HSP70 fusion protein that is targeted to DCs by the HSP70 portion of the chimerical molecule for antigen presentation. In studies to test the efficacy of this strategy, we demonstrated that DNA vaccination with this secretory HPV-E7-HSP70 construct strongly enhanced an antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell response as well as a specific B-cell response in mice. Furthermore, this immunization approach not only protected mice against lethal challenge with an HPV E7-expressing tumor line (TC-1), but also showed a therapeutic effect against established tumors. The results of this study indicate that secretory HSPs can be broadly used to target tumor-associated antigens to DCs to enhance antigen-specific immune responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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