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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology
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ISSN Print: 1040-8401
ISSN Online: 2162-6472

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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.v18.i5.30
pages 449-484

DNA Vaccines

Wayne C. Lai
Laboratory of Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas 75235
Michael Bennett
Laboratory of Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas 75235

ABSTRACT

DNA vaccination against infectious diseases has created a new field of applied molecular immunology. cDNAs for 'protective' protein epitopes can be inserted into vectors containing strong mammalian promoters for high expression. Here we discuss the mechanisms of DNA vaccination and the successful and sometimes unsuccessful applications of DNA vaccination to protect animals against many different viral, bacterial mycoplasmal, protozoal, and worm infections or infestations. DNA immunization has been used to prevent or inhibit tumor development and to inhibit IgE responses by diverting the immune response from Th2 to Th1 helper cell dominance. Advantages and disadvantages of a variety of routes of administration and methods of immunization discussed include the use of the 'gene gun', the delivery of genes by aerosols, and deliberate induction of injury to muscles prior to injection of DNA to enhance gene expression. Vaccination performed using DNA without knowing beforehand the protective epitopes, using 'expression library immunization', is discussed. While this field is bound to expand rapidly for future clinical applications, we try to point out potential pitfalls as well as advantages of this relatively new technology.


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