Author(s): CamposNeto A, Webb JR, Greeson K, Coler RN, Skeiky YA, , CamposNeto A, Webb JR, Greeson K, Coler RN, Skeiky YA,
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Abstract We have recently shown that a cocktail containing two leishmanial recombinant antigens (LmSTI1 and TSA) and interleukin-12 (IL-12) as an adjuvant induces solid protection in both a murine and a nonhuman primate model of cutaneous leishmaniasis. However, because IL-12 is difficult to prepare, is expensive, and does not have the stability required for a vaccine product, we have investigated the possibility of using DNA as an alternative means of inducing protective immunity. Here, we present evidence that the antigens TSA and LmSTI1 delivered in a plasmid DNA format either as single genes or in a tandem digene construct induce equally solid protection against Leishmania major infection in susceptible BALB/c mice. Immunization of mice with either TSA DNA or LmSTI1 DNA induced specific CD4(+)-T-cell responses of the Th1 phenotype without a requirement for specific adjuvant. CD8 responses, as measured by cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte activity, were generated after immunization with TSA DNA but not LmSTI1 DNA. Interestingly, vaccination of mice with TSA DNA consistently induced protection to a much greater extent than LmSTI1 DNA, thus supporting the notion that CD8 responses might be an important accessory arm of the immune response for acquired resistance against leishmaniasis. Moreover, the protection induced by DNA immunization was specific for infection with Leishmania, i.e., the immunization had no effect on the course of infection of the mice challenged with an unrelated intracellular pathogen such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Conversely, immunization of BALB/c mice with a plasmid DNA that is protective against challenge with M. tuberculosis had no effect on the course of infection of these mice with L. major. Together, these results indicate that the protection observed with the leishmanial DNA is mediated by acquired specific immune response rather than by the activation of nonspecific innate immune mechanisms. In addition, a plasmid DNA containing a fusion construct of the two genes was also tested. Similarly to the plasmids encoding individual proteins, the fusion construct induced both specific immune responses to the individual antigens and protection against challenge with L. major. These results confirm previous observations about the possibility of DNA immunization against leishmaniasis and lend support to the idea of using a single polygenic plasmid DNA construct to achieve polyspecific immune responses to several distinct parasite antigens.
This article was published in Infect Immun
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology