Co-expression of the Bcl-xL antiapoptotic protein enhances the induction of Th1-like immune responses in mice immunized with DNA vaccines encoding FMDV B and T cell epitopes

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Iz S. , Döşkaya M. , Borrego B., Rodrıguez F., Guruz Y. , Gurhan I. D.

VETERINARY RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS, vol.37, pp.187-196, 2013 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11259-013-9560-3
  • Page Numbers: pp.187-196


Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is one of the most devastating animal diseases, affecting all cloven-hoofed domestic and wild animal species. Previous studies from our group using DNA vaccines encoding FMD virus (FMDV) B and T cell epitopes targeted to antigen presenting cells, allowed demonstrating total protection from FMDV homologous challenge in those animals efficiently primed for both humoral and cellular specific responses (Borrego et al. Antivir Res 92:359-363, 2011). In this study, a new DNA vaccine prototype expected to induce stronger and cross-reactive immune responses against FMDV which was designed by making two main modifications: i) adding a new B-cell epitope from the O-serotype to the B and T-cell epitopes from the C-serotype and ii) using a dual promoter plasmid that allowed inserting a new cistron encoding the anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL gene under the control of the internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) of encephalomyocarditis virus aiming to increase and optimize the antigen presentation of the encoded FMDV epitopes after in vivo immunization. In vitro studies showed that Bcl-xL significantly prolonged the survival of DNA transfected cells (p < 0.001). Accordingly, vaccination of Swiss out-bred mice with the dual promoter plasmid increased the total IgG responses induced against each of the FMDV epitopes however no significant differences observed between groups. The humoral immune response was polarized through IgG2a in all vaccination groups (p < 0.05); except peptide T-3A; in correspondence with the Th1-like response observed, a clear bias towards the induction of specific IFN-gamma secreting CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses was also observed, being significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the group of mice immunized with the plasmid co-expressing Bcl-xL and the FMDV B and T cell epitopes.