Design of immunogenic and effective multi-epitope DNA vaccines for melanoma

Hyun Il Cho, Esteban Celis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Plasmid DNA vaccination is an attractive way to elicit T cell responses against infectious agents and tumor cells. DNA constructs can be designed to contain multiple T cell epitopes to generate a diverse immune response to incorporate numerous antigens and to reduce limitations due to MHC restriction into a single entity. We have prepared cDNA plasmid constructs containing several mouse T cell epitopes connected by either furin-sensitive or furin-resistant linkers and studied the effects of a cationic cell-penetrating sequence from HIV-tat. Significant CD8 T cell responses were obtained with multi-epitope DNA vaccines followed by in vivo electroporation regardless of the type of linker used and whether the construct had the HIV-tat sequence. The magnitude of immune responses was very similar to all CD8 T cell epitopes contained within each vaccine construct, indicating the absence of immunodominance. Incorporating a T helper epitope into the constructs increased the T cell responses. Prophylactic and therapeutic antitumor responses against B16 melanoma were obtained using a construct containing epitopes from melanosomal proteins, indicating that this vaccination was successful in generating responses to self-antigens that potentially may be subjected to immune tolerance. These findings are useful for designing DNA vaccines for a multitude of diseases where T lymphocytes play a protective or therapeutic role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-351
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA vaccine
  • Melanoma
  • Multi-epitope
  • Tumor immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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