Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19237523
Link to DOI – 10.1128/IAI.01269-08
Infect Immun 77(5):2221-9
Botulinum neurotoxins are known to be among the most toxic known substances. They produce severe paralysis by preventing the release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction. Thus, new strategies for efficient production of safe and effective anti-botulinum neurotoxin antisera have been a high priority. Here we describe the use of DNA electrotransfer into the skeletal muscle to enhance antiserum titers against botulinum toxin serotypes A, B, and E in mice. We treated animals with codon-optimized plasmid DNA encoding the nontoxic but highly immunogenic C-terminal heavy chain fragment of the toxin. By employing both codon optimization and the electrotransfer procedure, the immune response and corresponding neutralizing antiserum titers were markedly increased. The cellular localization of the antigen and the immunization regimens were also shown to increase neutralizing titers to >100 IU/ml. This study demonstrates that DNA electrotransfer is an effective procedure for raising neutralizing antiserum titers to remarkably high levels.