Genetic immunization is a novel method for vaccination in which DNA is delivered into the host to drive both cellular and humoral immune responses against its protein product. While genetic immunization can be potent, it requires that one have, in hand, a gene that encodes a protective protein antigen. Therefore, for many diseases, one cannot make a genetic vaccine because no protective antigen is known or no gene for this antigen is available. This lack of candidate antigens and their genes is a considerable bottleneck in developing new vaccines against old infectious agents, new emerging pathogens, and bioweapons. To address this limitation, we developed expression library immunization (ELI) as a high-throughput technology to discover vaccine candidate genes at will, by using the immune system to screen the entire genome of a pathogen for vaccine candidate. To date, ELI has discovered new vaccine candidates from a diverse set of bacterial, fungal, and parasitic pathogens. In addition, the process of applying ELI to the genome of pathogens allows one to genetically re-engineer these antigens to convert immunoevasive pathogen proteins into immunostimulatory vaccine antigens. Therefore, ELI is a potent technology to discover new vaccines and also generate genomic vaccines with amplified, multivalent immunostimulatory capacities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy