In spite of its many other benefits, DNA vaccine is limited in its application by its insufficient immunogenicity. One promising approach for enhancing its immunogenicity is to maximize its expression in the immunized host. In the current study, we investigated whether codon optimization of the mycobacterial antigen Ag85B gene could enhance the expression and immunogenicity of the Ag85B DNA vaccine. We generated a synthetic humanized Ag85B (HAg85B) gene in which codon usage was optimized for expression in human cells. DNA plasmids with codon-optimized HAg85B increased the level of protein expression in vitro and in vivo. DNA vaccine with hAg85B induced stronger Th1-like and cytotoxic T-cell immune responses in BALB/c mice and generated higher protective immunity in a BALB/c mouse model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis aerosol infection than did the DNA vaccine with wild-type Ag85B. Therefore, our results suggest that codon optimization of mycobacterial antigens (e.g., Ag85B) could improve protein expression and thereby enhance the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines against M. tuberculosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases