DNA-based immunization by in vivo transfection of dendritic cells

Nat Med. 1996 Oct;2(10):1122-8. doi: 10.1038/nm1096-1122.


Delivery of antigen in a manner that induces effective, antigen-specific immunity is a critical challenge in vaccine design. Optimal antigen presentation is mediated by professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) capable of taking up, processing and presenting antigen to T cells in the context of costimulatory signals required for T-cell activation. Developing immunization strategies to optimize antigen presentation by dendritic cells, the most potent APCs, is a rational approach to vaccine design. Here we show that cutaneous genetic immunization with naked DNA results in potent, antigen-specific, cytotoxic T lymphocyte-mediated protective tumor immunity. This method of immunization results in the transfection of skin-derived dendritic cells, which localize in the draining lymph nodes. These observations provide a basis for further development of DNA-based vaccines and demonstrate the feasibility of genetically engineering dendritic cells in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Biolistics*
  • Cell Movement
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • H-2 Antigens / immunology
  • Immunization / methods*
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / pathology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / genetics
  • Melanoma, Experimental / immunology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / pathology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Ovalbumin / genetics
  • Ovalbumin / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vaccines, DNA / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology*


  • Epitopes
  • H-2 Antigens
  • H-2Kb protein, mouse
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • Ovalbumin