Chunhua Zhang

Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Sheng, China

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Publications (7)13.13 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have demonstrated that DNA immunization is effective in eliciting antigen-specific antibody responses against a wide range of infectious disease targets. The polyclonal antibodies elicited by DNA vaccination exhibit high sensitivity to conformational epitopes and high avidity. However, there have been limited reports in literature on the production of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) by DNA immunization. Here, by using Clostridium difficile (C. diff) toxin A as a model antigen, we demonstrated that DNA immunization was effective in producing a panel of mAb that are protective against toxin A challenge and can also be used as sensitive reagents to detect toxin A from various testing samples. The Ig gene usage for such mAb was also investigated. Further studies should be conducted to fully establish DNA immunization as a unique platform to produce mAb in various hosts.
    Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics. 07/2013; 9(10).
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    ABSTRACT: A DNA vaccination approach was used in the current study to screen for the immunogenicity of different fragments of toxin A and toxin B from Clostridium difficile. With this approach, protein antigens do not need to be produced in vitro and the immunogenicity of candidate C. difficile antigens can be identified directly in animals. Codon optimized toxin gene fragments were individually cloned into the DNA vaccine vector and tested in mice and rabbits for their ability to elicit C. difficile toxin-specific antibody responses. Only a subset of the C. difficile toxin fragments, including the C-terminal receptor binding domain of toxin A and a novel N-terminal enzymatic domain of toxin B, were able to elicit protective antibody responses as determined by protection of target cells in a cytotoxicity assay or by preventing death of mice in a passive antibody protection study. Significantly, antibodies elicited by the novel N-terminus of the toxin B DNA vaccine were able to increase the level of protection when used in combination with anti-toxin A antibodies in a toxin challenge model in mice.
    Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics. 11/2012; 9(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Previously, we have shown that DNA prime-protein boost is effective in eliciting neutralizing antibodies (NAb) against randomly selected HIV-1 isolates. Given the genetic diversity of HIV-1 viruses and the unique predominant subtypes in different geographic regions, it is critical to test the DNA prime-protein boost approach against circulating viral isolates in key HIV endemic areas. In the current study, the same DNA prime-protein boost vaccine was used as in previous studies to investigate the induction of NAb responses against HIV-1 clade BC, a major subtype circulating in China. A codon optimized gp120-BC DNA vaccine, based on the consensus envelope (Env) antigen sequence of clade BC, was constructed and a stable CHO cell line expressing the same consensus BC gp120 protein was produced. The immunogenicity of this consensus gp120-BC was examined in New Zealand White rabbits by either DNA prime-protein boost or protein alone vaccination approaches. High levels of Env-specific antibody responses were elicited by both approaches. However, DNA prime-protein boost but not the protein alone immune sera contained significant levels of NAb against pseudotyped viruses expressing HIV-1 BC Env antigens. Furthermore, high frequencies of CD4 binding site-targeted antibodies were found in the DNA prime- protein boost rabbit sera indicating that the positive NAb may be the result of antibodies against conformationally sensitive epitopes on HIV-1 Env. The findings support that DNA prime-protein boost was effective in eliciting NAb against a key HIV-1 virus subtype in China. This result may lead to the development of regional HIV vaccines through this approach.
    Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics. 10/2012; 8(11).
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    ABSTRACT: Although the use of recombinant hepatitis B virus surface (HBsAg) protein vaccine has successfully reduced global hepatitis B infection, there are still a number of vaccine recipients who do not develop detectable antibody responses. Various novel vaccination approaches, including DNA vaccines, have been used to further improve the coverage of vaccine protection. Our previous studies demonstrated that HBsAg-based DNA vaccines could induce both humoral and CMI responses in experimental animal models. However, one form of the the HBsAg antigen, the large S antigen (HBs-L), expressed by DNA vaccine, was not sufficiently immunogenic in eliciting antibody responses. In the current study, we produced a modified large S antigen DNA vaccine, HBs-L(T), which has a truncated N-terminal sequence in the pre-S1 region. Compared to the original HBs-L DNA vaccine, the HBs-L(T) DNA vaccine improved secretion in cultured mammalian cells and generated significantly enhanced HBsAg-specific antibody and B cell responses. Furthermore, this improved HBsL DNA vaccine, along with other HBsAg-expressing DNA vaccines, was able to maintain predominantly Th1 type antibody responses while recombinant HBsAg protein vaccines produced in either yeast or CHO cells elicited mostly Th2 type antibody responses. Our data indicate that HBsAg DNA vaccines with improved immunogenicity offer a useful alternative choice to recombinant protein-based HBV vaccines, particularly for therapeutic purposes against chronic hepatitis infection where immune tolerance led to poor antibody responses to S antigens.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e41573. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (HPAI) H5N1 viruses are circulating among poultry populations in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and have caused human infections with a high mortality rate. H5 subtype hemagglutinin (HA) has evolved into phylogenetically distinct clades and subclades based on viruses isolated from various avian species. Since 1997, humans have been infected by HPAI H5N1 viruses from several clades. It is, therefore, important to develop strategies to produce protective antibody responses against H5N1 viruses from multiple clades or antigenic groups. In the current study, we optimized the signal peptide design of DNA vaccines expressing HA antigens from H5N1 viruses. Cross reactivity analysis using sera from immunized rabbits showed that antibody responses elicited by a polyvalent formulation, including HA antigens from different clades, was able to elicit broad protective antibody responses against multiple key representative H5N1 viruses across different clades. Data presented in this report support the development of a polyvalent DNA vaccine strategy against the threat of a potential H5N1 influenza pandemic.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e28757. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cholera is a potentially lethal diarrhea disease caused by the gram-negative bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The need for an effective cholera vaccine is clearly indicated but the challenges of eliciting both systemic and mucosal immune responses remains a significant challenge. In the current report, we discovered that a DNA vaccine expressing a protective cholera antigen, cholera toxin B subunit (CTB), delivered parenterally can elicit both systemic and mucosal anti-CTB antibody responses in mice. The priming effect by DNA immunization was demonstrated by higher mucosal antibody responses following one boost with the inactivated cholera vaccine (KWC-B) delivered orally when compared to the twice oral administration of KWC-B alone. This finding indicates that DNA vaccines delivered parenterally are effective in eliciting mucosal protective immune responses--a unique advantage for DNA vaccination that has not yet been well realized and should bring value to the development of novel vaccination approaches against mucosally transmitted diseases.
    Vaccine 05/2009; 27(29):3821-30. · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay is a widely used serological method to measure the levels of protective antibody responses against influenza viruses. However, the traditional HI assay which uses chicken erythrocytes is not sufficiently sensitive for detecting HI antibodies specific to avian influenza viruses. Previously, it was demonstrated that employing an assay using horse erythrocytes was able to increase the sensitivity of HI assay. The current report describes further optimization of this modified HI assay. It was shown that this method was able to increase detection of HI activities in rabbit sera immunized with H5 HA antigens, and proved that this increased sensitivity is useful in dissecting the strain specificity of HI antibody responses. In addition, the modified HI assay using horse erythrocytes increased the sensitivity of detecting HI antibodies specific for three major serotypes of avian influenza viruses, H5, H7 and H9, in people who may have asymptomatic infection with avian influenza viruses. Based on these results, the optimized use of horse erythrocytes should be standard practice for detecting HI activities against avian influenza viruses.
    Journal of Virological Methods 10/2008; 153(1):43-8. · 1.90 Impact Factor