Recombinant HIV-1 Pr55gag virus-like particles: potent stimulators of innate and acquired immune responses

Mol Immunol. 2005 Feb;42(2):259-77. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2004.06.028.


Several previous reports have clearly demonstrated the strong effectiveness of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Gag polyprotein-based virus-like particles (VLP) to stimulate humoral and cellular immune responses in complete absence of additional adjuvants. Yet, the mechanisms underlying the strong immunogenicity of these particulate antigens are still not very clear. However, current reports strongly indicate that these VLP act as "danger signals" to trigger the innate immune system and possess potent adjuvant activity to enhance the immunogenicity of per se only weakly immunogenic peptides and proteins. Here, we review the current understanding of how various particle-associated substances and other impurities may contribute to the observed immune-activating properties of these complex immunogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / virology
  • Gene Products, gag / immunology*
  • Gene Products, gag / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects*
  • Protein Precursors / immunology*
  • Protein Precursors / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Vaccination / methods


  • Gene Products, gag
  • Protein Precursors
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • p55 gag precursor protein, Human immunodeficiency virus 1