A plasmid DNA immunogen expressing fifteen protein antigens and complex virus-like particles (VLP+) mimicking naturally occurring HIV

Eszter Somogyi, Jianqing Xu, Ágnes Gudics, József Tóth, Attila L. Kovács, Franco Lori, Julianna Lisziewicz

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19 Citations (Scopus)


We describe here a single plasmid DNA immunogen representing the broadest antigen repertoire among HIV vaccine candidates. This pDNA was "ANTIGENeered" for the regulated expression of thirteen complete and two non-functional HIV protein antigens. These proteins self assemble into complex virus-like particles (VLP+). Multiple irreversible safety features were introduced by genetic modifications including the complete impairment of integration, reverse transcription, the function of Nef and the 3'LTR. Epitope analysis predicted that the pDNA-derived protein repertoire can potentially present over 3000 T cell epitopes. However, the expressed antigens have different potential to induce HIV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells supporting our hypothesis that HIV vaccines should contain all possible regulatory and structural proteins. This immunogen is the active pharmaceutical ingredient of DermaVir, a therapeutic vaccine product candidate that recently successfully completed Phase II clinical trials and meets the safety, immunogenicity and cost requirements of an HIV vaccine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-753
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 17 2011



  • DermaVir
  • HIV immunotherapy
  • Therapeutic vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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