A new DNA vaccine expressing HspX-PPE44-EsxV fusion antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis induced strong immune responses

Document Type: Original Article


1 Esfarayen Faculty of Medical Sciences, Esfarayen, Iran

2 Immunology Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center, Resistant Tuberculosis Institute, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran

4 Medical Genetics Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

5 Antimicrobial Resistance Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Objective(s): Infection with tuberculosis (TB) is regarded as a major health issue. Due to the emergence of antibiotic resistance during TB treatment, prevention via vaccination is one of the most effective ways of controlling the infection. DNA vaccines are developed at a greater pace due to their ability in generating a long-lasting immune response, higher safety compared to the live vaccines, and relatively lower cost of production. In the present study, we evaluated a new DNA vaccine encoding the fusion HspX-PPE44-EsxV antigens, separately, and in combination with Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) administration, in a prime-boost method in mice.
Materials and Methods: A novel DNA vaccine encoding HspX-PPE44-EsxV fusion antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis was constructed, and RT-PCR and Western blot analysis were performed to verify the expression of the antigen. Female BALB/c mice were divided into five groups (PBS, BCG, pcDNA3.1 (+) vector, pDNA/HspX-PPE44-EsxV vaccine, and the BCG-prime boost groups).  In order to evaluate the immunogenicity of the recombinant vector, BALB/c mice were injected with 100 μg of pDNA at 2-week intervals. Then, cytokine assay was conducted using eBioscience ELISA kits (Ebioscience, AUT) according to manufacturers’ instructions to evaluate the concentrations of IL-4, IL-12, TGF-β, and IFN-γ.
Results: The concentrations of INF-γ, IL-12, and TGF-beta were significantly increased compared to the control groups (P<0.001). INF-γ and IL-12 production were increased significantly in pDNA/HspX-PPE44-EsxV+BCG group compared to pDNA/HspX-PPE44-EsxV group (P<0.001).
Conclusion: This study showed that the present DNA vaccine could induce a high level of specific cytokines in mice. It was also shown that using this DNA vaccine in a BCG prime-boost protocol can produce significant amounts of IFN-γ, IL-12, and TGF-β.


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