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Vaccine. 1999 Jun 4;17(20-21):2479-92.

Xenogeneic and allogeneic anti-MHC immune responses induced by plasmid DNA immunization.

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Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins are known to be incorporated into the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) envelope as the virion buds from the host cell surface. Studies using simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of macaques have demonstrated that immunization with uninfected human cells or purified HLA proteins can provide protection from challenge with live SIV when it is grown in human cells expressing the same MHC alleles. Thus the induction of anti-MHC immune responses represents an important option to consider with respect to vaccine design for SIV and HIV. Here we examine plasmid DNA immunization strategies as an alternative to cellular or protein immunogens for the induction of xenogeneic and allogeneic immune responses in C57BL/6 mice and in an HLA transgenic mouse model system, respectively. We compared the immunogenicity of HLA-A2- and HLA-B27-expressing splenocytes with the corresponding plasmid DNA immunogens. Results from the transgenic mouse experiments indicate that plasmid DNA immunization with both class I and class II MHC-encoding vectors can elicit antibody responses recognizing conformationally intact MHC molecules. Our data also show that immunization with class I MHC-encoding DNA immunogens can elicit cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses, demonstrating the potential to mobilize both antibody and cell-mediated anti-MHC immune responses in the context of this approach to HIV-1 vaccine design.

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