Over expression of telomerase represents a hallmark of cancer cells and the induction of T cell immunity against this universal tumor antigen have gained promising interest for anticancer immunotherapy. In this study we evaluated a recombinant lentiviral vector expressing the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (lv-hTERT) vaccination in the humanized HLA-B*0702 transgenic (HLA-B7 Tg) mice. A single lv-hTERT vector immunization induces potent and broad HLA-B7-restricted CTL responses against hTERT. Unlike conventional hTERT peptide or DNA immunization, the lv-hTERT vector triggers high and sustained IFN-gamma producing CD8(+) T cell responses in HLA-B7 Tg mice. The avidity and in vivo cytotoxicity of CD8(+) T cells were stronger in lv-hTERT vector-immunized mice than in hTERT peptide or DNA vaccinated groups. The study also showed that the use of prime-boost vaccination drastically improved the magnitude and strength of lentivector-primed CD8(+) T cells. Our data indicated that lentiviral delivery of hTERT is suitable for enhancing cellular immunity against hTERT and offers a promising alternative for telomerase-based cancer vaccine.
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