We have investigated whether co-injection of DNA encoding the costimulatory molecule B7-2 augments immune response to the major capsid protein L1 of the high-risk human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16L1). While immunoglobulin G (IgG) specific to HPV16L1 was detected in sera from mice injected intramuscularly with pcDNA-L1 that encodes HPV16L1, a significantly increased level of IgG was found in sera from mice immunised with pcDNA-L1 in conjunction with pLXHDmB7-2 DNA. Levels of IgG in the anti-sera were correlated with the inhibitory activity of the murine erythrocyte hemagglutination caused by the virus-like particles (VLP) and the binding of VLP to HeLa cells. Moreover, splenic cells isolated from mice co-injected with pLXHDmB7-2 had stronger proliferation and more IFN-γ producing T cells (CD4+ and CD8+) when stimulated with HPV16 VLP compared with cells from mice that had received pcDNA-L1 alone and mice of the control groups. Furthermore, in footpad swelling test, mice co-immunised with pLXHDmB7-2 had greater skin thickness over those immunised with pcDNA-L1 alone or control mice. We conclude that co-injection of DNA encoding B7-2 can enhance both humoral and cellular immune responses elicited by DNA-based vaccination against HPV16 infection in mice.
- Costimulatory molecule
- Human papillomavirus