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Immunobiology. 2006;211(1-2):65-74. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Evaluation of Brucella abortus DNA vaccine by expression of Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase antigen fused to IL-2.

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Faculty of Biological Sciences, Molecular Immunology Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, Universidad de Concepción, P.O. Box 152-C, Concepción, Chile.


The Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) antigen of Brucella abortus was previously identified to be a T cell antigen which induces both proliferation of and gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) secretion by T cells from infected mice. In an earlier study, we demonstrated that intramuscular injection of mice with a plasmid DNA carrying the gene for SOD leads to the development of significant protection against B. abortus challenge. It has been reported that the antigen-specific immune responses generated by a DNA vaccine can be enhanced by co-delivery of certain cytokine genes. In this study, we evaluated the effect of delivering IL-2 on the efficacy of SOD DNA vaccine by generating a plasmid (pSecTag-SOD-IL2) that codes for a secretory fusion protein of SOD and IL-2. Another plasmid (pSecTag-SOD) that codes for only SOD as a secretory protein was used for comparison. BALB/c mice injected intramuscularly with pSecTag-SOD or pSecTag-SOD-IL2, but not the control plasmid pSecTag, developed SOD-specific antibody and T cell immune responses. Upon in vitro stimulation with recombinant SOD (rSOD) antigen, T cells from mice immunized with pSecTag-SOD-IL2, in comparison with those from mice immunized with pSecTag-SOD, exhibited a lower proliferation response but produced significantly higher concentrations of IFN-gamma. Both DNA vaccines, however, induced similar levels of SOD-specific antibodies and cytotoxic T cell response. Although mice immunized with pSecTag-SOD-IL2 showed increased resistance to challenge with B. abortus virulent strain 2308, this increase was not statistically significant from that of pSecTag-SOD vaccinated mice. These results suggest that a SOD DNA vaccine fused to IL2 did not improve protection efficacy.

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