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Efficacy of an autophagy-targeted DNA vaccine against avian leukosis virus subgroup J

Dai, Zhenkai, Huang, Jianfei, Lei, Xiaoya, Yan, Yiming, Lu, Piaopiao, Zhang, Huanmin, Lin, Wencheng, Chen, Weiguo, Ma, Jingyun, Xie, Qingmei
Vaccine 2017 v.35 no.5 pp. 808-813
Avian leukosis virus, antibodies, autophagy, cell-mediated immunity, chickens, electroporation, financial economics, interferon-gamma, interleukin-10, lymphocytes, poultry industry, recombinant vaccines, vaccine development
Infection with the avian leukosis virus subgroup J (ALV-J) can lead to neoplastic disease in chickens, inflicting significant economic losses to the poultry industry. Recent reports have identified inhibitory effects of ALV-J on autophagy, a process involving in innate and adaptive immunity. Inspired by this connection between autophagy and immunity, we developed a novel DNA vaccine against ALV-J which includes co-administration of rapamycin to stimulate autophagy. To measure the efficacy of the developed prototype vaccine, five experimental groups of seven-day-old chickens was immunized three times at three-week intervals respectively with vector, pVAX1-gp85, pVAX1-gp85-LC3, pVAX1-gp85+rapamycin and pVAX1-gp85-LC3+rapamycin through electroporation. We then tested their antibody titers, cytokine levels and cellular immune responses. The immunoprotective efficacy of the prototype vaccines against the challenge of the ALV-J GD1109 strain was also examined. The results showed that the combination of pVAX1-gp85-LC3 and rapamycin was able to induce the highest antibody titers, and enhance interleukin(IL)-2, IL-10 and interferon (IFN)-γ expression, and the chickens immunized with the combination of pVAX1-gp85-LC3 and rapamycin showed the highest percentage of CD3+CD8+T lymphocytes. Based on our results, we suggest that stimulating autophagy can improve the efficacy of DNA vaccines and that our DNA vaccine shows the potential of being a candidate vaccine against ALV-J. This study provides a novel strategy for developing vaccines against ALV-J.