Functions and Specificity of T Cells Following Nucleic Acid Vaccination of Mice Against Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection

Xiaojiu Zhu, Nandagopal Venkataprasad, Harry S. Thangaraj, Mahmuda Hill, Mahavir Singh, Juraj Ivanyi, H. Martin Vordermeier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


The 38-kDa glycolipoprotein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been known to evoke prominent T cell and Ab responses in patients with active tuberculosis. In this study, we investigated its protective capacity using plasmid DNA immunization in a mouse experimental model. Prior knowledge of several antigenic determinants has been beneficial for analyzing the phenotype and specificity of T cells, which determine the efficacy of this vaccination procedure. C57BL/6 mice responded to the 38-kDa gene-pcDNA3 plasmid with strong CD4+ Th1 and CD8+ cytotoxic T cell responses of the IFN-gamma-producing Tc1 phenotype. After challenge with virulent tubercle bacilli, the bacterial load in the spleens and lungs of vaccinated mice was reduced to a level similar to that imparted by Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccination. Notably, the specificity of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from DNA-vaccinated and tubercle-infected mice was found to be strikingly different in respect of several peptide epitopes. The identified peptides recognized by T cells from protected mice are of further interest for the development of subunit-based vaccines against tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5921-5926
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 1997


  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • DNA, Bacterial/immunology
  • Epitopes/immunology
  • Female
  • Interferon-gamma/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis/immunology
  • Plasmids/immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology
  • Th1 Cells/immunology
  • Tuberculosis/immunology
  • Vaccination


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