A plasmid DNA immunogen expressing fifteen protein antigens and complex virus-like particles (VLP+) mimicking naturally occurring HIV

Vaccine. 2011 Jan 17;29(4):744-53. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.11.019. Epub 2010 Nov 23.


We describe here a single plasmid DNA immunogen representing the broadest antigen repertoire among HIV vaccine candidates. This pDNA was "ANTIGENeered" for the regulated expression of thirteen complete and two non-functional HIV protein antigens. These proteins self assemble into complex virus-like particles (VLP(+)). Multiple irreversible safety features were introduced by genetic modifications including the complete impairment of integration, reverse transcription, the function of Nef and the 3'LTR. Epitope analysis predicted that the pDNA-derived protein repertoire can potentially present over 3000 T cell epitopes. However, the expressed antigens have different potential to induce HIV-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells supporting our hypothesis that HIV vaccines should contain all possible regulatory and structural proteins. This immunogen is the active pharmaceutical ingredient of DermaVir, a therapeutic vaccine product candidate that recently successfully completed Phase II clinical trials and meets the safety, immunogenicity and cost requirements of an HIV vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / genetics
  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / genetics
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • HIV Antigens / genetics
  • HIV Antigens / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Vaccines, DNA / genetics
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / genetics
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology
  • Vaccines, Virosome / genetics
  • Vaccines, Virosome / immunology


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • DermaVir
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • HIV Antigens
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Vaccines, Virosome