Use of mannan-coated N-t-butyl-N'-tetradecyl-3-tetradecylamino-propionamidine (diC14-amidine) as an adjuvant for a DNA vaccine encoding glycoprotein 160 of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) enhanced the antigen-specific immune responses. The role of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-12 in the mechanism of adjuvant action was also evaluated. Coating of diC14-amidine with mannan significantly augmented the HIV-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction induced by the immunogenic DNA. HIV-1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity was also markedly enhanced by the mannan-diC14-amidine cocktail. An immunomodulatory effect of this cocktail was inhibited by treatment with anti-IFN-gamma monoclonal antibody in vivo, which suggests that IFN-gamma plays an important role in inducing cell-mediated immunity by the DNA vaccine containing this adjuvant. The results of both antigen-specific immunoglobulin isotype analysis and cytokine measurement showed that the immunogenic DNA incorporated into mannan-coated diC14-amidine elicits Th1-biased immune responses.