Objective: Novel vaccination approaches are required to control human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV) infections. The membrane proximal external region (MPER) of Env gp41 subunit and the
V3/glycans of Env gp120 subunit were known as potential antigenic targets for anti-HIV-1 vaccines. In
this study, we prepared the modified dendritic cells (DCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with
HIV-1 MPER-V3 gene using mechanical and chemical approaches.
Methods: At first, MPER-V3 fusion DNA delivery was optimized in dendritic cells (DCs) and mesenchymal
stem cells (MSCs) using three mechanical (i.e., uniaxial cyclic stretch, equiaxial cyclic stretch
and shear stress bioreactors), and two chemical (i.e., TurboFect or Lipofectamine) methods. Next, the
modified DCs and MSCs with MPER-V3 antigen were compared to induce immune responses in vivo.
Results: Our data showed that the combination of equiaxial cyclic stretch loading and lipofectamine
twice with 48 h intervals increased the efficiency of transfection about 60.21 ± 1.05 % and 65.06 ± 0.09
% for MSCs and DCs, respectively. Moreover, DCs and MSCs transfected with MPER-V3 DNA in
heterologous DC or MSC prime/ peptide boost immunizations induced high levels of IgG2a, IgG2b,
IFN-γ and IL-10 directed toward Th1 responses as well as an increased level of Granzyme B. Indeed,
the modified MSCs and DCs with MPER-V3 DNA could significantly enhance the MPER/V3-specific
T-cell responses compared to MPER/V3 peptide immunization.
Conclusions: These findings showed that the modified MSC-based immunization could elicit effective
immune responses against HIV antigen similar to the modified DC-based immunization.