BAC-VAC, a novel generation of (DNA) vaccines: A bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) containing a replication-competent, packaging-defective virus genome induces protective immunity against herpes simplex virus 1
Suter, M; Lew, AM; Grob, P; Adema, GJ; Ackermann, M; Shortman, K; Fraefel, C
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
This study aimed to exploit bacterial artificial chromosomes (BAC) as large antigen-capacity DNA vaccines (BAC-VAC) against complex pathogens, such as herpes simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1). The 152-kbp HSV-1 genome recently has been cloned as an F-plasmid-based BAC in Escherichia coli (fHSV), which can efficiently produce infectious virus progeny upon transfection into mammalian cells. A safe modification of fHSV, fHSV Delta pac, does not give rise to progeny virus because the signals necessary to package DNA into Virions have been excluded. However, in mammalian cells fHSV Delta pac DNA can still replicate, express the HSV-1 genes, cause cytotoxic effects, and produce virus-like particles. Because these functions mimic the lytic cycle of the HSV-1 infection, fHSV Delta pac was expected to stimulate the immune system as efficiently as a modified live virus vaccine. To test this hypothesis, mice were immunized with fHSV Delta pac: DNA applied intradermally by gold-particle bombardment, and the immune responses were compared with those induced by infection with disabled infectious single cycle HSV-1. Immunization with either fHSV Delta pac or disabled infectious single cycle HSV-1 induced the priming of HsV-1-specific cytotoxic T cells and the production of virus-specific antibodies and conferred protection against intracerebral injection of wild-type HSV-1 at a dose of 200 LD50. Protection probably was cell-mediated, as transfer of serum from immunized mice did not protect naive animals. We conclude that BAC-VACs per se, or in combination with genetic elements that support replicative amplification of the DNA in the cell nucleus, represent a useful new generation of DNA-based Vaccination strategies for many viral and nonviral antigens.