Dendritic cell-mediated, DNA-based vaccination against hepatitis C induces the multi-epitope-specific response of humanized, HLA transgenic mice.

Mishra S1, Lavelle BJ1, Desrosiers J2, Ardito MT3, Terry F3, Martin WD3, De Groot AS4, Gregory SH1
Source: PLoS ONE
Publication Date: (2014)
Issue: 9 (2): e87210
Research Area:
Immunotherapy / Hematology
Culture Media:
Nucleofector® I/II/2b
purified mouse DCs were transfected with either the multi-epitopeexpressing A2 or DRB1 vaccine construct using the mouse dendritic cell nucleofector kit
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the etiologic agent of chronic liver disease, hepatitis C. Spontaneous resolution of viral infection is associated with vigorous HLA class I- and class II-restricted T cell responses to multiple viral epitopes. Unfortunately, only 20% of patients clear infection spontaneously, most develop chronic disease and require therapy. The response to chemotherapy varies, however; therapeutic vaccination offers an additional treatment strategy. To date, therapeutic vaccines have demonstrated only limited success. Vector-mediated vaccination with multi-epitope-expressing DNA constructs alone or in combination with chemotherapy offers an additional treatment approach. Gene sequences encoding validated HLA-A2- and HLA-DRB1-restricted epitopes were synthesized and cloned into an expression vector. Dendritic cells (DCs) derived from humanized, HLA-A2/DRB1 transgenic (donor) mice were transfected with these multi-epitope-expressing DNA constructs. Recipient HLA-A2/DRB1 mice were vaccinated s.c. with transfected DCs; control mice received non-transfected DCs. Peptide-specific IFN-? production by splenic T cells obtained at 5 weeks post-immunization was quantified by ELISpot assay; additionally, the production of IL-4, IL-10 and TNF-a were quantified by cytokine bead array. Splenocytes derived from vaccinated HLA-A2/DRB1 transgenic mice exhibited peptide-specific cytokine production to the vast majority of the vaccine-encoded HLA class I- and class II-restricted T cell epitopes. A multi-epitope-based HCV vaccine that targets DCs offers an effective approach to inducing a broad immune response and viral clearance in chronic, HCV-infected patients.