DNA-launched live-attenuated vaccines for biodefense applications

Peter Pushko, Igor S. Lukashevich, Scott C. Weaver, Irina Tretyakova

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A novel vaccine platform uses DNA immunization to launch live-attenuated virus vaccines in vivo. This technology has been applied for vaccine development against positive-strand RNA viruses with global public health impact including alphaviruses and flaviviruses. The DNA-launched vaccine represents the recombinant plasmid that encodes the full-length genomic RNA of live-attenuated virus downstream from a eukaryotic promoter. When administered in vivo, the genomic RNA of live-attenuated virus is transcribed. The RNA initiates limited replication of a genetically defined, live-attenuated vaccine virus in the tissues of the vaccine recipient, thereby inducing a protective immune response. This platform combines the strengths of reverse genetics, DNA immunization and the advantages of live-attenuated vaccines, resulting in a reduced chance of genetic reversions, increased safety, and improved immunization. With this vaccine technology, the field of DNA vaccines is expanded from those that express subunit antigens to include a novel type of DNA vaccines that launch live-attenuated viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1234
Number of pages12
JournalExpert review of vaccines
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • DNA vaccine
  • Venezuelan equine encephalitis
  • alphavirus
  • chikungunya
  • flavivirus
  • live-attenuated vaccine
  • yellow fever

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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