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Characterization of the Immune Response Elicited by the Vaccinia Virus L3 Protein Delivered as Naked DNA

Ramírez et al., Vaccine (2018) - PMID: 29525282

Product(s) used in this publication:  PepTrack™ Peptide Libraries

Abstract

Poxviruses are complex dsDNA viruses with over 200 genes, many of them with unknown role in the stimulation of immune responses. Among these, the vaccinia virus (VACV) L3L ORF encodes an essential protein for the transcription of the VACV early genes. To the best of our knowledge, the immune response elicited by L3 has not been characterized. In this regard, our data describes a DNA L3-coding plasmid (pL3L) that stimulates both, humoral- and cell-mediated immune responses in a mouse model. Cell-mediated immune responses were measured by IFN-γ and IL-4 ELISPOT assays. We performed CD8+ cells depletion and flow cytometry analysis to account for the contribution of cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the IFN-γ production. Moreover, results from ELISPOT were confirmed by measuring the concentration of IL-4 and IFN-γ in supernatant of antigen-stimulated splenocytes by cytokine ELISA. Additionally, dominant antigenic regions of L3 protein were identified by epitope mapping analysis. Humoral immune responses were assessed by ELISA. Specifically, the production of total IgG, IgG1 (TH-2) and IgG2a (TH-1) were determined one week after the final immunization. Our ELISPOT data shows pL3L-immunized animals to produce significantly higher frequencies of IFN-γ Spot-Forming Cells (SFC) versus controls. IL-4 levels remained unchanged in all three groups, demonstrating the increase in antigen-specific IFN-γ releasing cells. Flow cytometry assay results showed that CD8+ T cells are a major contributor to the production of IFN-γ. Moreover, our formulation enhances the production of total IgG, predominantly IgG2a isotype. Immunization with pL3L promotes a robust cytotoxic immune response, crucial against viral pathogens. In addition, our vaccine candidate promotes an increase in IgG levels, especially IgG2a (TH-1 type). Our data encourages further studies of L3 as a novel antigen in vaccine development against poxviruses.

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