Prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) is a prostate cancer tumor antigen and a prostate-specific protein shared by rats and humans. Previous studies indicated that Copenhagen rats immunized with a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing human PAP (hPAP) developed PAP-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTL) with cross reactivity to rat PAP (rPAP) and evidence of prostate inflammation. Viral delivery of vaccine antigens is an active area of clinical investigation. However, a potential difficulty with viral-based immunizations is that immune responses elicited to the viral vector might limit the possibility of multiple immunizations. In this paper, we investigate the ability of another genetic immunization method, a DNA vaccine encoding PAP, to elicit antigen-specific CD8+ T cell immune responses. Specifically, Lewis rats were immunized with either a plasmid DNA-based (pTVG-HP) or vaccinia-based (VV-HP) vaccine each encoding hPAP. We determined that rats immunized with a DNA vaccine encoding hPAP developed a Th1-biased immune response as indicated by proliferating PAP-specific CD4+ and CD8+ cells and IFNgamma production. Rats immunized with vaccinia virus encoding PAP did not develop a PAP-specific response unless boosted with a heterologous vaccination scheme. Most importantly, multiple immunizations with a DNA vaccine encoding the rat PAP homologue (pTVG-RP) could overcome peripheral self-tolerance against rPAP and generate a Th1-biased antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell response. Overall, DNA vaccines provide a safe and effective method of generating prostate antigen-specific T cell responses. These findings support the investigation of PAP-specific DNA vaccines in human clinical trials.