Immune response in mice following immunization with DNA encoding fragment C of tetanus toxin

Richard Anderson, Xiao Ming Gao, Anastasia Papakonstantinopoulou, Mark Roberts, Gordon Dougan

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Tetanus toxin is a potent neurotoxin synthesized by Clostridium tetani. Immunization with fragment C protein, the nontoxic C-terminal domain of tetanus toxin, will protect mice against lethal challenge with tetanus toxin. A synthetic gene encoding fragment C (tetC) had previously been shown to express high levels of fragment C in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A plasmid, pcDNA3/tetC, which encodes the synthetic tetC gene expressed under the control of the human cytomegalovirus major intermediate-early promoter/enhancer region, was constructed. Expression of fragment C was observed in eukaryotic cells growing in vitro following transfection with pcDNA3/tetC. The immune response induced by intramuscular immunization with pure pcDNA3/tetC DNA was evaluated in a murine model. Anti-fragment C serum immunoglobulin and proliferative responses in splenocytes were observed in BALB/c mice following two immunizations with pcDNA3/tetC. The major immunoglobulin G subclass that recognized fragment C was immunoglobulin G2a, and the stimulated splenocytes secreted high levels of gamma interferon. Immunity to tetanus is dependent on the presence of neutralizing serum antibodies against tetanus toxin. Sufficient anti-fragment C serum immunoglobulins were induced by DNA-mediated immunization to protect mice against lethal challenge with tetanus toxin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3168-3173
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 1996
Externally publishedYes

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