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Vaccine. 2007 Apr 30;25(17):3270-6. Epub 2007 Jan 22.

Human papillomavirus-like particles mediate functional delivery of plasmid DNA to antigen presenting cells in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, NY 14642, USA.


Because recombinant empty viral capsids are potentially attractive vectors for gene therapy, here we examined the ability of human papillomavirus (HPV) virus-like particles (VLPs) to mediate delivery and expression of DNA plasmids in vitro and in vivo. VLP-mediated delivery and expression of a GFP reporter construct in vitro was found to be highly dependent upon the presence of full-length L2 protein within the VLPs. Similarly, expression of GFP and luciferase reporter plasmids in vivo was strongly enhanced by co-administration of L1/L2 VLPs. Interestingly, in these experiments we routinely observed GFP expression in migrating antigen presenting cells (APC) recovered from mice inoculated with GFP plasmid in combination with VLPs, but not in APC recovered from mice inoculated with the plasmid alone. Additional evidence to support this concept was generated in experiments in which co-administration of VLPs with a plasmid designed to express HPV16 E6 oncoprotein was associated with significant enhancement of plasmid-encoded E6-specific cellular immune responses. These findings have implications for the design of vaccines for combined prophylaxis and therapy of HPV-associated diseases, and for other vaccines that rely on the administration of DNA-based immunogens, adjuvants, and/or other factors.

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