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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 6078473, 17 pages
Research Article

Transcriptional Targeting of Mature Dendritic Cells with Adenoviral Vectors via a Modular Promoter System for Antigen Expression and Functional Manipulation

1Department of Immune Modulation at the Department of Dermatology, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Hartmannstrasse 14, 91052 Erlangen, Germany
2Department of Dermatology, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Hartmannstrasse 14, 91052 Erlangen, Germany
3German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Received 17 March 2016; Accepted 29 May 2016

Academic Editor: Pablo González

Copyright © 2016 Ilka Knippertz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To specifically target dendritic cells (DCs) to simultaneously express different therapeutic transgenes for inducing immune responses against tumors, we used a combined promoter system of adenoviral vectors. We selected a 216 bp short Hsp70B′ core promoter induced by a mutated, constitutively active heat shock factor (mHSF) 1 to drive strong gene expression of therapeutic transgenes MelanA, BclxL, and IL-12p70 in HeLa cells, as well as in mature DCs (mDCs). As this involves overexpressing mHSF1, we first evaluated the resulting effects on DCs regarding upregulation of heat shock proteins and maturation markers, toxicity, cytokine profile, and capacity to induce antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Second, we generated the two-vector-based “modular promoter” system, where one vector contains the mHSF1 under the control of the human CD83 promoter, which is specifically active only in DCs and after maturation. mHSF1, in turn, activates the Hsp70B′ core promotor-driven expression of transgenes MelanA and IL-12p70 in the DC-like cell line XS52 and in human mature and hence immunogenic DCs, but not in tolerogenic immature DCs. These in vitro experiments provide the basis for an in vivo targeting of mature DCs for the expression of multiple transgenes. Therefore, this modular promoter system represents a promising tool for future DC-based immunotherapies in vivo.