Immunization with recombinant protein: conditions for cytotoxic T cell and/or antibody induction.
Bachmann MF., Hengartner H., Zinkernagel RM.
Safe vaccines should optimally induce both cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Recently, it has been shown that protective cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) can be induced not only with live vaccines, but also with recombinant viral proteins. This report shows in C57BL/6 (H-2b) mice that the recombinant nucleoprotein (N) of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) induced protective CTLs but no neutralizing antibodies in mice, whereas the recombinant glycoprotein (G) of VSV alone induced neutralizing antibodies but no CTLs. If the N and G of VSV were coinjected, both CTLs and a long-lasting neutralizing IgG response was measurable, demonstrating that mixed vaccines can be used to induce protective CTLs and antibodies with an efficiency comparable to live virus. In an attempt to define optimal conditions for CTL priming, the intravenous, intraperitoneal and subcutaneous route of injection were compared. Intravenous injection of recombinant VSV-N induced up to 30 times higher responses than the latter two routes. Finally, we tried to define conditions inducing only CTLs and no antibodies binding to the native protein form, or vice versa, only antibodies and no CTLs. Intravenous injection of boiled VSV-N induced a CTL response but no antibodies specific for the native VSV-N, whereas VSV-N injected subcutaneously in incomplete Freund's adjuvant induced high amounts of anti-VSV-N antibodies but virtually no CTLs. The conditions defined here permit vaccines to be designed which would function along selected and defined immunological effector pathways.