Enhanced immunogenicity of an HIV-1 DNA vaccine delivered with electroporation via combined intramuscular and intradermal routes

Jamie F S Mann, Paul F McKay, Anezka Fiserova, Katja Klein, Alethea Cope, Paul Rogers, Julie Swales, Michael S Seaman, Behazine Combadiere, Robin J Shattock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


UNLABELLED: It is accepted that an effective prophylactic HIV-1 vaccine is likely to have the greatest impact on viral transmission rates. As previous reports have implicated DNA-priming, protein boost regimens to be efficient activators of humoral responses, we sought to optimize this regimen to further augment vaccine immunogenicity. Here we evaluated single versus concurrent intradermal (i.d.) and intramuscular (i.m.) vaccinations as a DNA-priming strategy for their abilities to elicit humoral and cellular responses against a model HIV-1 vaccine antigen, CN54-gp140. To further augment vaccine-elicited T and B cell responses, we enhanced cellular transfection with electroporation and then boosted the DNA-primed responses with homologous protein delivered subcutaneously (s.c.), intranasally (i.n.), i.m., or transcutaneously (t.c.). In mice, the concurrent priming regimen resulted in significantly elevated gamma interferon T cell responses and high-avidity antigen-specific IgG B cell responses, a hallmark of B cell maturation. Protein boosting of the concurrent DNA strategy further enhanced IgG concentrations but had little impact on T cell reactivity. Interestingly protein boosting by the subcutaneous route increased antibody avidity to a greater extent than protein boosting by either the i.m., i.n., or t.c. route, suggesting that this route may be preferential for driving B cell maturation. Using an alternative and larger animal model, the rabbit, we found the concurrent DNA-priming strategy followed by s.c. protein boosting to again be capable of eliciting high-avidity humoral responses and to also be able to neutralize HIV-1 pseudoviruses from diverse clades (clades A, B, and C). Taken together, we show that concurrent multiple-route DNA vaccinations induce strong cellular immunity, in addition to potent and high-avidity humoral immune responses.

IMPORTANCE: The route of vaccination has profound effects on prevailing immune responses. Due to the insufficient immunogenicity and protection of current DNA delivery strategies, we evaluated concurrent DNA delivery via simultaneous administration of plasmid DNA by the i.m. and i.d. routes. The rationale behind this study was to provide clear evidence of the utility of concurrent vaccinations for an upcoming human clinical trial. Furthermore, this work will guide future preclinical studies by evaluating the use of model antigens and plasmids for prime-boost strategies. This paper will be of interest not only to virologists and vaccinologists working in the HIV field but also to researchers working in other viral vaccine settings and, critically, to the wider field of vaccine delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6959-69
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


  • AIDS Vaccines/administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral/immunology
  • Electroporation
  • Female
  • HIV Infections/immunology
  • HIV-1/genetics
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Rabbits
  • Vaccination/methods
  • Vaccines, DNA/administration & dosage


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