FU-Berlin, Fachbereich Biologie, Chemie, Pharmazie, Berlin, Germany.
DNA immunization is a convenient and effective way of inducing a specific antibody response. In mammals, co-administration of vectors encoding immunostimulatory cytokines can enhance the humoral response resulting in elevated antibody titers. We therefore set out to investigate the effect using avian interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and avian interleukin 6 (IL-6) as genetic adjuvants when immunizing laying hens. A BoNT A1 holotoxoid DNA immunogen carrying two inactivating mutations was evaluated for its ability to induce a specific and sustained IgY antibody response. Both the holotoxoid and the cytokine sequences were codon-optimized. In vitro, the proteins were efficiently expressed in transfected HEK 293T cells and the cytokines were secreted into the culture supernatants. Whereas eggs from hens immunized via gene gun using a prime boost strategy showed no differences in their total IgY content, the specific αBoNT A1 response was slightly elevated up to 1.4× by the IL-1β adjuvant vector and increased by 3.8× by the IL-6 vector. Finally, although hens receiving the IL-1β adjuvant had laying capacities above the average, hens receiving the IL-6 adjuvant experienced laying problems.
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