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Oral delivery of plant-derived HIV-1 p24 antigen in low doses shows a superior priming effect in mice compared to high doses

Lindh, I;Brve, A;Hallengrd, D;Hadad, R;Kalbina, I;Strid, ;Andersson, S;

During early infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), there is a rapid depletion of CD4(+) T-cells in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, immediate protection at these surfaces is of high priority for the development of an HIV-1 vaccine. Thus, transgenic plants expressing HIV-1 antigens, which are exposed to immune competent cells in the GALT during oral administration, can be interesting as potential vaccine candidates. In the present study, we used two HIV-1 p24 antigen-expressing transgenic plant systems, Arabidopsis thaliana and Daucus carota, in oral immunization experiments. Both transgenic plant systems showed a priming effect in mice and induced humoral immune responses, which could be detected as anti-p24-specific IgG in sera after an intramuscular p24 protein boost. Dose-dependent antigen analyses using transgenic A. thaliana indicated that low p24 antigen doses were superior to high p24 antigen doses.