Immunogenic properties of a lettuce-derived C4(V3)6 multiepitopic HIV protein

Dania O. Govea-Alonso, Néstor Rubio-Infante, Ana Lilia García-Hernández, Javier T. Varona-Santos, Schuyler S. Korban, Leticia Moreno-Fierros, Sergio Rosales-Mendoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elicitation of broad humoral immune responses is a critical factor in the development of effective HIV vaccines. In an effort to develop low-cost candidate vaccines based on multiepitopic recombinant proteins, this study has been undertaken to assess and characterize the immunogenic properties of a lettuce-derived C4(V3)6 multiepitopic protein. This protein consists of V3 loops corresponding to five different HIV isolates, including MN, IIIB, RF, CC, and RU. In this study, both Escherichia coli and lettuce-derived C4(V3)6 have elicited local and systemic immune responses when orally administered to BALB/c mice. More importantly, lettuce-derived C4(V3)6 has shown a higher immunogenic potential than that of E. coli-derived C4(V3)6. Moreover, when reactivity of sera from mice immunized with C4(V3)6 are compared with those elicited by a chimeric protein carrying a single V3 sequence, broader responses have been observed. The lettuce-derived C4(V3)6 has elicited antibodies with positive reactivity against V3 loops from isolates MN, RF, and CC. In addition, splenocyte proliferation assays indicate that significant T-helper responses are induced by the C4(V3)6 immunogen. Taken together, these findings account for the observed elicitation of broader humoral responses by the C4(V3)6 multiepitopic protein. Moreover, they provide further validation for the production of multiepitopic vaccines in plant cells as this serves not only as a low-cost expression system, but also as an effective delivery vehicle for orally administered immunogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-792
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Broader immune response
  • HIV immunogen
  • Low-cost vaccine
  • Oral immunization
  • Plant-based vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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