Open Access Short report

Induction of humoral and cellular immune responses against the HIV-1 envelope protein using γ-retroviral virus-like particles

Tea Kirkegaard1, Adam Wheatley5, Jesper Melchjorsen1, Shervin Bahrami2, Finn S Pedersen34, Robert J Center5, Damian FJ Purcell5, Lars Ostergaard1, Mogens Duch34 and Martin Tolstrup1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Infectious Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark

2 SKAU Vaccines, INCUBA Science Park, Brendstrupgaardsvej, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark

3 Department of Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus, Denmark

4 Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus, Denmark

5 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, VIC, Australia

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Virology Journal 2011, 8:381  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-381

Published: 1 August 2011


This study evaluates the immunogenicity of the HIV envelope protein (env) in mice presented either attached to γ-retroviral virus-like-particles (VLPs), associated with cell-derived microsomes or as solubilized recombinant protein (gp160). The magnitude and polyfunctionality of the cellular immune response was enhanced when delivering HIV env in the VLP or microsome form compared to recombinant gp160. Humoral responses measured by antibody titres were comparable across the groups and low levels of antibody neutralization were observed. Lastly, we identified stronger IgG2a class switching in the two particle-delivered antigen vaccinations modalities compared to recombinant gp160.

HIV-1 envelope protein; Virus-like particles; γ-retroviruses; immunity