CD4+ T cell-independent DNA vaccination against opportunistic infections

Academic Article


  • Depletion or dysfunction of CD4 T lymphocytes profoundly perturbs host defenses and impairs immunogenicity of vaccines. Here, we show that plasmid DNA vaccination with a cassette encoding antigen (OVA) and a second cassette encoding full-length CD40 ligand (CD40L), a molecule expressed on activated CD4 T lymphocytes and critical for T cell helper function, can elicit significant titers of antigen-specific immunoglobulins in serum and Tc1 CD8 T cell responses in CD4-deficient mice. To investigate whether this approach leads to CD4 T cell-independent vaccine protection against a prototypic AIDS-defining infection, Pneumocystis (PC) pneumonia, we used serum from mice vaccinated with PC-pulsed, CD40L-modifed DCs to immunoprecipitate PC antigens. Kexin, a PC antigen identified by this approach, was used in a similar DNA vaccine strategy with or without CD40L. CD4-deficient mice receiving DNA vaccines encoding Kexin and CD40L showed significantly higher anti-PC IgG titers as well as opsonic killing of PC compared with those vaccinated with Kexin alone. Moreover, CD4-depleted, Kexin-vaccinated mice showed a 3-log greater protection in a PC challenge model. Adoptive transfer of CD19 cells or IgG to SCID mice conferred protection against PC challenge, indicating a role of humoral immunity in the protection. The results of these studies show promise for CD4-independent vaccination against HIV-related or other opportunistic pathogens. + + + + +
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zheng M; Ramsay AJ; Robichaux MB; Norris KA; Kliment C; Crowe C; Rapaka RR; Steele C; McAllister F; Shellito JE
  • Start Page

  • 3536
  • End Page

  • 3544
  • Volume

  • 115
  • Issue

  • 12