DNA immunization induces antibody and cytotoxic T cell responses to hepatitis B core antigen in H-2b mice

J Immunol. 1996 May 15;156(10):3687-95.


The serum Ab response and the class I-restricted CTL response of C57BL/6 (H-2b) mice to hepatitis B (pre)core Ag (HBcAg, HBeAg) was studied. Injection of HBcAg particles without adjuvants into mice efficiently primed serum Ab responses but not CTL response. We constructed the expression plasmids pCMV-1/c and pCMV-1/e in which expression of HBcAg or HBeAg was driven by cytomegalovirus immediate early region promoter sequences. Stable murine RBL5/C transfectant lines expressing HBcAg were established. Intramuscular DNA immunization with plasmid pCMV-1/c (encoding intracellularly expressed core Ag) or pCMV-1/e (encoding secreted precore Ag) efficiently primed specific serum Ab responses and CTL responses. The CTL response elicited in this system was mediated by CD4-CD8+ effector cells primed in vivo. The CTL recognized the HBcAg93-100 8-mer peptide MGLKFRQL in the context of Kb. Hence, DNA immunization with HBcAg/HBeAg-expressing plasmids, but not immunization with exogenous HBcAg particles, elicits a class I-restricted CTL response of defined epitope/restriction specificity in H-2b mice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / classification
  • DNA, Viral / administration & dosage
  • DNA, Viral / immunology*
  • Epitopes / chemistry
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Female
  • H-2 Antigens / genetics
  • H-2 Antigens / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / biosynthesis*
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens / genetics
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B virus / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / virology*
  • Transfection / immunology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology


  • DNA, Viral
  • Epitopes
  • H-2 Antigens
  • H-2Kb protein, mouse
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Synthetic