Korean J Parasitol.  2017 Oct;55(5):505-512. 10.3347/kjp.2017.55.5.505.

DNA Vaccines Encoding Toxoplasma gondii Cathepsin C 1 Induce Protection against Toxoplasmosis in Mice

  • 1Department of Parasitology, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, Shandong, 250012, P. R. China. shenyi.he@hotmail.com
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, Shandong, 250021, P. R. China.
  • 3Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Qingdao, Shandong, 266035, P. R. China.
  • 4Department of Jinan Children’s Hospital, Jinan, Shandong, 250022, P. R. China.


Toxoplasma gondii cathepsin C proteases (TgCPC1, 2, and 3) are important for the growth and survival of T. gondii. In the present study, B-cell and T-cell epitopes of TgCPC1 were predicted using DNAstar and the Immune Epitope Database. A TgCPC1 DNA vaccine was constructed, and its ability to induce protective immune responses against toxoplasmosis in BALB/c mice was evaluated in the presence or absence of the adjuvant α-GalCer. As results, TgCPC1 DNA vaccine with or without adjuvant α-GalCer showed higher levels of IgG and IgG2a in the serum, as well as IL-2 and IFN-γ in the spleen compared to controls (PBS, pEGFP-C1, and α-Galcer). Upon challenge infection with tachyzoites of T. gondii (RH), pCPC1/α-Galcer immunized mice showed the longest survival among all the groups. Mice vaccinated with DNA vaccine without adjuvant (pCPC1) showed better protective immunity compared to other controls (PBS, pEGFP-C1, and α-Galcer). These results indicate that a DNA vaccine encoding TgCPC1 is a potential vaccine candidate against toxoplasmosis.


Toxoplasma gondii; DNA vaccine; CPC1; protective immunity; mouse
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