Biased epitope selection by recombinant vaccinia-virus (rVV)-infected mature or immature dendritic cells

D. Nagorsen, M. Panelli, M. E. Dudley, S. E. Finkelstein, S. A. Rosenberg, F. M. Marincola

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Recombinant expression vectors represent a powerful way to deliver whole antigens (Ags) for immunization. Sustained Ag expression in vector-infected dendritic cells (DC) combines Ag-specific stimulation with powerful costimulation and, simultaneously, through 'self-selection' of ad hoc epitopes broadens the scope of immunization beyond restrictions posed by individual patients' human leukocyte antigen (HLA) phenotype. In this study, therefore, we evaluated the efficiency of a recombinant vaccinia virus encoding the gp100/PMel17 melanoma Ag (rVV-gp100) to infect immature (iDC) or mature dendritic cells (mDC) derived from circulating mononuclear cells and the effect of infection on their status of maturation. In addition, we tested the ability of rVV-gp100-infected iDC and mDC to present the HLA-A*0201-associated gp100:209-217 epitope (g209). Irrespective of status of maturation, rVV-gp100 infection induced gp100 expression while only partially reversing the expression of some maturation markers. However, endogenous presentation of the wild-type g209 epitope was inefficient. The low efficiency was epitope-specific since infection of DC with rVV encoding a gp100 construct containing the modified gp100:209-217 (210M) (g209-2M) epitope characterized by high binding affinity for HLA-A*0201 restored efficient Ag presentation. Presentation of an HLA-class II-associated epitope and cytokine release by DC was not altered by rVV infection. Thus, Ag expression driven by rVV may be an efficient strategy for whole Ag delivery. However, since the effectiveness of Ag processing and presentation is subject to stringent HLA/epitope pairing, and for other yet undefined rules, the assumption that whole Ag delivery may circumvent HLA restriction is incorrect and recombinant expression vectors encoding well-characterized polyepitopic constructs may prove more effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1754-1765
Number of pages12
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number20
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Antigen
  • CTL
  • Dendritic cells
  • Epitopes
  • MHC
  • Vaccinia virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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