A DNA vaccine candidate for B. anthracis immunization, pcDNA3.1+PA plasmid, induce Th1/Th2 mixed responses and protection in mice
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The protective antigen (PA) of Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis) is a potent immunogen and a candidate subunit vaccine. To address the question whether antibodies raised against PA following injection of pcDNA3.1+PA plasmid, encoding PA, can protect against virulent B. anthracis two different regimens of PA based vaccines (DNA and live spore) were used. The groups of BALB/c mice that received live spores of the Sterne strain, naked pcDNA3.1 and naked pcDNA3.1+PA were compared to control groups. All groups were injected three times with 30-day intervals. Two weeks after the last immunization, all mice were subjected to challenge with a pathogenic strain of B.anthracis (C2). Blood samples were taken before each injection and challenge. Evaluation of the sera by ELISA method showed that DNA immunization using pcDNA3.1+PA plasmid resulted in an antibody profile representative of a mixed Th1 and Th2 response, with a skewing to a Th1 response. The group which received the naked pcDNA3.1+PA had a survival rate of >80%. This challenge assay revealed that antibodies raised following DNA vaccination against PA can confer strong protection, and resistance against virulent species of B. anthracis.