A DNA Vaccine Encoding SA-4-1BBL Fused to HPV-16 E7 Antigen Has Prophylactic and Therapeutic Efficacy in a Cervical Cancer Mouse Model

Cancers (Basel). 2019 Jan 15;11(1):96. doi: 10.3390/cancers11010096.


The SA-4-1BBL, an oligomeric novel form of the natural ligand for the 4-1BB co-stimulatory receptor of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily, as a recombinant protein has potent pleiotropic effects on cells of innate, adaptive, and regulatory immunity with demonstrated therapeutic efficacy in several tumor models. However, the production of soluble form of SA-4-1BBL protein and quality control is time and resource intensive and face various issues pertinent to clinical development of biologics. The present study sought to take advantage of the simplicity and translatability of DNA-based vaccines for the production and delivery of SA-4-1BBL for cancer immune prevention and therapy. A chimeric HPV-16 E7 DNA vaccine (SP-SA-E7-4-1BBL) was constructed that contains the signal peptide (SP) of calreticulin (CRT), streptavidin (SA) domain of SA-4-1BBL, HPV-16 E7 double mutant gene, and the extracellular domain of mouse 4-1BBL. Immunization by gene gun with SP-SA-E7-4-1BBL induced greater prophylactic as well as therapeutic effects in C57BL/6 mice against TC-1 tumor model compared with immunization with E7wt, SP-SA-4-1BBL or reference-positive control CRT-E7wt. The therapeutic efficacy of the DNA vaccine was associated with increased frequency of E7-specific T cells producing interferon (IFN)-γ. Overall, our data suggest that this DNA-based vaccine strategy might represent a translational approach because it provides a simpler and versatile alternative to a subunit vaccine based on SA-4-1BBL and E7 proteins.

Keywords: DNA vaccine; E7; HPV-16; IFN-γ; SA-4-1BBL; T cell responses; cancer vaccine; co-stimulation.