1. State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 100052, China 2. DNAVEC Corporation, Tsukuba 305-0051, Japan 3. Department of Microbiology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan 4. College of Life Science and Bioengineering，Beijing University of Technology, Beijing 100022, China
Combinations of DNA and recombinant-viral-vector based vaccines are promising AIDS vaccine methods because of their potential for inducing cellular immune responses. It was found that Gag-specific cytotoxic lymphocyte (CTL) responses were associated with lowering viremia in an untreated HIV-1 infected cohort. The main objectives of our studies were the construction of DNA and recombinant Sendai virus vector (rSeV) vaccines containing a gag gene from the prevalent Thailand subtype B strain in China and trying to use these vaccines for therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines. The candidate plasmid DNA vaccine pcDNA3.1(+)-gag and recombinant Sendai virus vaccine (rSeV-gag) were constructed separately. It was verified by Western blotting analysis that both DNA and rSeV-gag vaccines expressed the HIV-1 Gag protein correctly and efficiently. Balb/c mice were immunized with these two vaccines in different administration schemes. HIV-1 Gag-specific CTL responses and antibody levels were detected by intracellular cytokine staining assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) respectively. Combined vaccines in a DNA prime/rSeV-gag boost vaccination regimen induced the strongest and most long-lasting Gag-specific CTL and antibody responses. It maintained relatively high levels even 9 weeks post immunization. This data indicated that the prime-boost regimen with DNA and rSeV-gag vaccines may offer promising HIV vaccine regimens.