Enhanced responses to a DNA vaccine encoding a fusion antigen that is directed to sites of immune induction

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Viral infection and vaccination with DNA both induce similar immune responses to encoded antigens that are produced by the host *RF 1,2*.The availability of antigens in lymphoid organs is important in generating an immune response to viral challenge [3]. Antigen availability may also be important in the response to DNA vaccines, because immune responses are stronger when antigen is secreted from DNA-transfected cells [4,5]. We directed antigen to lymphoid organs by vaccination with DNA encoding antigen-ligand fusion proteins. The two ligands examined bind to receptors that are present on high endothelial venule cells of lymph nodes or on antigen-presenting cells. Here we show that both the humoral and the cellular immune responses to a model DNA vaccine were enhanced using either antigen-targeting strategy. Moreover, directing antigen to antigen-presenting cells speeded up, and altered the form of, the immune response. Directing antigen to sites of immune-response induction may represent a generic means of tailoring a potent and effective immune response to a DNA vaccine.

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