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Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infects a wide range of cells, including dendritic cells. Consequently, HSV-1 vectors may be capable of eliciting strong immune responses to vectored antigens. To test this hypothesis, an HSV-1 amplicon plasmid encoding human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp120 was constructed, and murine immune responses to helper virus-free amplicon preparations derived from this construct were evaluated. Initial studies revealed that a single intramuscular (i.m.) injection of 10(6) infectious units (i.u.) of HSV:gp120 amplicon particles (HSV:gp120) elicited Env-specific cellular and humoral immune responses. A potent, CD8(+)-T-cell-mediated response to an H-2D(d)-restricted peptide from gp120 (RGPGRAFVTI) was measured by a gamma interferon ELISPOT and was confirmed by standard cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte assays. Immunoglobulin G enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis showed the induction of a strong, Env-specific antibody response. An i.m. or an intradermal administration of HSV:gp120 at the tail base elicited a more potent cellular immune response than did an intraperitoneal (i.p.) inoculation, although an i.p. introduction generated a stronger humoral response. The immune response to HSV:gp120 was durable, with robust cellular and humoral responses persisting at 171 days after a single 10(6)-i.u. inoculation. The immune response to HSV:gp120 was also found to be dose dependent: as few as 10(4) i.u. elicited a strong T-cell response. Finally, HSV:gp120 elicited significant Env-specific cellular immune responses even in animals that had been previously infected with wild-type HSV-1. Taken together, these data strongly support the use of helper-free HSV-1 amplicon particles as vaccine delivery vectors.


Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





5565 - 5580


Animals, Antibody Formation, Cell Line, DNA, Viral, Defective Viruses, Female, Gene Expression, Genetic Vectors, HIV Envelope Protein gp120, Helper Viruses, Herpesvirus 1, Human, Humans, Immunity, Cellular, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Virion