ABSTRACT: Plasmid DNA immunizations induce low levels but a broad spectrum of cellular and humoral immune responses. Here, we investigate the potential of co-stimulation through 4-1BB as an adjuvant for a HIV-1 DNA vaccine in mice. We designed plasmid DNAs expressing either the membrane bound or soluble form of 4-1BBL, and compared with the agonistic anti-4-1BB Ab for their ability to adjuvant the Gag DNA vaccine. Both, anti-4-1BB agonistic Ab as well as 4-1BBL DNA enhanced the Gag-specific cellular immune responses. However, in complete contrast to the agonistic Ab that suppressed humoral immunity to Gag, 4-1BBL DNA adjuvanted vaccines enhanced Gag-specific IgG responses. Importantly, the expression of Gag and 4-1BBL from the same plasmid was critical for the adjuvant activity. Collectively, our data suggest that for a HIV-1 vaccine where both antigen-specific cellular and humoral immunity are desirable, 4-1BBL expressed by a DNA vaccine is a superior adjuvant than anti-4-1BB agonistic Ab.
Vaccine 11/2009; 28(5):1300-9. · 3.77 Impact Factor