Insufficient APC capacities of dendritic cells in gene gun-mediated DNA vaccination

Henning Lauterbach, Anton Gruber, Christine Ried, Cedric Cheminay, Thomas Brocker
Journal of Immunology 2006 April 15, 176 (8): 4600-7
Gene gun-mediated DNA immunization is a powerful mode of vaccination against infectious diseases and tumors. Many studies have identified dendritic cells (DC) as the central players in inducing immunity upon biolistic DNA vaccination; however, none of these studies directly quantify DC-mediated responses in comparison with immunity triggered by all Ag- and MHC-expressing cells. In this study we use two different approaches to decipher the relative role of DC vs other cell types in gene gun-induced immunity. First, we directly compared the immunization efficacy of different DNA constructs, which allow Ag expression ubiquitously (CMV promoter) or specifically in DC (CD11c promoter) and would encode either for soluble or membrane bound forms of Ag. Second, we immunized transgenic mice in which only DC can present MHC-restricted Ag, and directly compared the magnitudes of CTL activation with those obtained in wild-type mice. Surprisingly, our combined data suggest that, although DC-specific Ag expression is sufficient to induce humoral responses, DC alone cannot trigger optimal CD4 and CD8 T cell responses upon gene gun vaccination. Therefore, we conclude that DC alone are insufficient to mediate optimal induction of T cell immunity upon gene gun DNA vaccination and that broad Ag expression rather than DC-restricted approaches are necessary for induction of complete immune responses.

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