CD8+ T cells play a critical role in protective immunity against Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). Epitope-based DNA vaccines expressing HBV-dominant CTL epitopes can be used as candidate vaccines capable of inducing cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTL) responses. A plasmid DNA encoding a CTL epitope of HBV core antigen, HBc18-27, was constructed. Intramuscular immunization of C57BL/6 mice with this DNA vaccine resulted in successful induction of HBV-specific CTL responses. In order to promote transportation of the peptide into endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to bind to MHC class I molecules for optimal class I antigen presentation, an ER targeting sequence (ERTS) was fused with the C18-27 encoding gene. ERTS fusion significantly enhanced specific CD8+ T cell responses in terms of CTL cytolysis as well as IFN-γ secretion. This enhancement was correlated with promoted epitope presentation on target cell surface. We report here an enhanced immunogenicity of an epitope-based DNA vaccine using an ER targeting signal sequence, which has significant implications for future design of therapeutic HBV vaccine. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Xu, W., Chu, Y., Zhang, R., Xu, H., Wang, Y., & Xiong, S. (2005). Endoplasmic reticulum targeting sequence enhances HBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes induced by a CTL epitope-based DNA vaccine. Virology, 334(2), 255–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2005.01.040