Clinical and vaccine immunology vol:14 issue:1 pages:28-35
One of the problems hindering the development of DNA vaccines is the relatively low immunogenicity often seen in humans and large animals compared to that in mice. In the present study, we tried to enhance the immunogenicity of a pcDNA1/faeG19 DNA vaccine in pigs by optimizing the FaeG expression plasmid and by coadministration of the plasmid vectors encoding the A and B subunits of the Escherichia coli thermolabile enterotoxin (LT). The insertion of a Kozak sequence and optimization of vector (cellular localization and expression) and both vector and codon usage were all shown to enhance in vitro FaeG expression compared to that of pcDNA1/faeG19. Subsequently, pcDNA1/faeG19 and the vector-optimized and the vector-codon-optimized construct were tested for their immunogenicity in pigs. In line with the in vitro results, antibody responses were better induced with increasing expression. The LT vectors additionally enhanced the antibody response, although not significantly, and were necessary to induce an F4-specific cellular response. These vectors were also added because LT has been described to direct the systemic response towards a mucosal immunoglobulin A (IgA) response in mice. Here, however, the intradermal FaeG DNA prime-oral F4 boost immunization resulted in a mainly systemic IgG response, with only a marginal but significant reduction in W E. coli fecal excretion when the piglets were primed with pWRGFaeGopt and pWRGFaeGopt with the LT vectors.