HIV-1 p55Gag encoded in the lysosome-associated membrane protein-1 as a DNA plasmid vaccine chimera is highly expressed, traffics to the major histocompatibility class II compartment, and elicits enhanced immune responses

Ernesto T.A. Marques, Priya Chikhlikar, Luciana Barros De Arruda, Ihid C. Leao, Yang Lu, Justin Wong, Juei Suei Chen, Barry Byrne, J. Thomas August

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Several genetic vaccines encoding antigen chimeras containing the lysosome-associated membrane protein (LAMP) translocon, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic domain sequences have elicited strong mouse antigen-specific immune responses. The increased immune response is attributed to trafficking of the antigen chimera to the major histocompatibility class II (MHC II) compartment where LAMP is colocalized with MHC II. In this report, we describe a new form of an HIV-1 p55gag DNA vaccine, with the gag sequence incorporated into the complete LAMP cDNA sequence. Gag encoded with the translocon, transmembrane and cytoplasmic lysosomal membrane targeting sequences of LAMP, without the luminal domain, was poorly expressed, did not traffic to lysosomes or MHC II compartments of transfected cells, and elicited a limited immune response from DNA immunized mice. In contrast, addition of the LAMP luminal domain sequence to the construct resulted in a high level of expression of the LAMP/Gag protein chimera in transfected cells that was further increased by including the inverted terminal repeat sequences of the adeno-associated virus to the plasmid vector. This LAMP/Gag chimera with the complete LAMP protein colocalized with endogenous MHC II of transfected cells and elicited strong cellular and humoral immune responses of immunized mice as compared with the response to DNA-encoding native Gag, with a 10-fold increase in CD4+ responses, a 4- to 5-fold increase in CD8+ T-cell responses, and antibody titers of >100,000. These results reveal novel roles of the LAMP luminal domain as a determinant of Gag protein expression, lysosomal trafficking, and possibly of the immune response to Gag.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37926-37936
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 26 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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