Induction of robust cellular immunity against HPV6 and HPV11 in mice by DNA vaccine encoding for E6/E7 antigen.

Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics

PubMedID: 22336879

Shin TH, Pankhong P, Yan J, Khan AS, Sardesai NY, Weiner DB. Induction of robust cellular immunity against HPV6 and HPV11 in mice by DNA vaccine encoding for E6/E7 antigen. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012;8(4):470-8.
Due to the strong relationship between the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) "high-risk" subtypes and cervical cancers, most HPV-related studies have been focusing on the "high-risk" HPV subtypes 16 and 18. However, it has been suggested that the "low-risk" subtypes of HPV, HPV6 and HPV11, are the major cause of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis and genital warts. In addition, HPV 6 and 11 are also associated with otolaryngologic malignancies, carcinoma of the lung, tonsil, larynx and low-grade cervical lesions. Therefore, development of HPV therapeutic vaccines targeting on subtypes 6 and 11 E6 or E7 are in great need. In this report, we describe two novel engineered DNA vaccines that encode HPV 6 and 11 consensus E6/E7 fusion proteins (p6E6E7 and p11E6E7) by utilizing a multi-phase strategy. Briefly, after generating consensus sequences, several modifications were performed to increase the expression of both constructs, including codon/RNA optimization, addition of a Kozak sequence and a highly efficient leader sequence. An endoproteolytic cleavage site was also introduced between E6 and E7 protein for proper protein folding and for better CTL processing. The expressions of both constructs were confirmed by western blot analysis and immunofluorescence assay. Vaccination with these DNA vaccines could elicit robust cellular immune responses. The epitope mapping assay was performed to further characterize the cellular immune responses induced by p6E6E7 and p11E6E7. The HPV 6 and 11 E6 or E7-specific immunodominant and subdominant epitopes were verified, respectively. The intracellular cytokine staining revealed that the magnitude of IFN-? and TNF-a secretion in antigen-specific CD8(+) cells was significantly enhanced, indicating that the immune responses elicited by p6E6E7 and p11E6E7 was heavily skewed toward driving CD8(+) T cells. Such DNA immunogens are interesting candidates for further studies on HPV 6 and 11-associated diseases.