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Virology. 1990 Nov;179(1):321-9.

Processing, assembly, and immunogenicity of human immunodeficiency virus core antigens expressed by recombinant vaccinia virus.

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Oncogen, Seattle, Washington.


Recombinant vaccinia viruses that contained regions of the gag-pol open reading frames of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) were constructed. Cells infected with recombinants containing both gag and protease genes expressed and processed HIV gag antigens efficiently. Processing was much reduced in cells infected with recombinants containing only gag, but not the protease gene. However, significant amounts of p41 were produced by protease-defective recombinants. This protein was immunoreactive with p24-specific monoclonal antibodies and was produced in a truncated form by a recombinant containing a 3' deletion in the p15 coding region of gag ORF. These results indicate that p41 could represent an alternative gag precursor with N-terminal sequences derived from p24 and C-terminal from p15. Ultrastructural analysis of recombinant-infected cells revealed that the gag antigens expressed were assembled into retrovirus-like particles and were secreted into culture medium. This assembly process was not dependent on HIV protease function, because immature core particles were produced by recombinants lacking HIV-1 protease functions. Immunization of mice and chimpanzees with vaccinia-HIVgag recombinant viruses generated both antibody and cell-mediated immune responses to HIV gag antigens. These recombinants are therefore useful not only for studying HIV virion processing and assembly, but also for designing immunogens for the prophylaxis and immunotherapy against AIDS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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