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Title:
DUAL DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR HETEROLOGOUS ANTIGENS
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Provided herein are recombinant Listeria strains expressing a tumor-specific antigenic polypeptide and, optionally, an angiogenic polypeptide wherein a nucleic acid molecule encoding at least one of the polypeptides is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding a PEST-containing polypeptide, methods of preparing same, and methods of inducing an immune response, and treating, inhibiting, or suppressing cancer or tumors comprising administering same.


Inventors:
Maciag, Paulo (Robbinsville, NJ, US)
Wallecha, Anu (Yardley, PA, US)
Shahabi, Vafa (Valley Forge, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/993380
Publication Date:
06/02/2011
Filing Date:
05/19/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
435/252.3, 435/471, 424/93.2
International Classes:
A61K39/02; A61K35/12; A61P31/04; A61P35/00; A61P37/04; C12N1/21; C12N15/74
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Claims:
1. A recombinant Listeria strain comprising a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or an immunogenic fragment thereof, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene, and wherein said recombinant Listeria strain comprises an episomal expression vector comprising said second nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigen.

2. (canceled)

3. (canceled)

4. (canceled)

5. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1, wherein said second nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigen is present in said episomal expression vector in an open reading frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding a PEST-containing polypeptide.

6. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1, wherein said PEST-containing gene is LLO or ActA.

7. (canceled)

8. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1, wherein said first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes a angiogenic polypeptide expressed by a tumor cell.

9. (canceled)

10. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1, wherein said first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes a prostate specific antigen (PSA) or a High Molecular Weight-Melanoma Associated Antigen (HMW-MAA).

11. (canceled)

12. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is a vector designed for site-specific homologous recombination into the Listeria genome.

13. (canceled)

14. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain is an auxotrophic Listeria strain.

15. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 14, wherein said auxotrophic Listeria strain is a dal/dat mutant.

16. (canceled)

17. (canceled)

18. (canceled)

19. (canceled)

20. (canceled)

21. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain has been passaged through an animal host.

22. The recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain is a recombinant Listeria monocytogenes strain.

23. (canceled)

24. A method of inducing an immune response to an antigen in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain comprises a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or an immunogenic fragment thereof, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene, and wherein said recombinant Listeria strain comprises an episomal expression vector comprising said second nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigen.

25. (canceled)

26. (canceled)

27. (canceled)

28. The method of claim 24, wherein said second nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigen is present in said episomal expression vector in an open reading frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding a PEST-containing polypeptide.

29. The method of claim 24, wherein said PEST-containing gene is LLO or ActA.

30. (canceled)

31. The method of claim 24, wherein said first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes a angiogenic polypeptide expressed by a tumor cell.

32. (canceled)

33. The method of claim 24, wherein said first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes a prostate specific antigen (PSA) or a High Molecular Weight-Melanoma Associated Antigen (HMW-MAA).

34. (canceled)

35. The method of claim 24, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is a vector designed for site-specific homologous recombination into the Listeria genome.

36. (canceled)

37. The method of claim 24, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain is an auxotrophic Listeria strain.

38. The method of claim 37, wherein said auxotrophic Listeria strain is a dal/dat mutant.

39. (canceled)

40. (canceled)

41. (canceled)

42. (canceled)

43. (canceled)

44. The method of claim 24, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain has been passaged through an animal host.

45. The method of claim 24, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain is a recombinant Listeria monocytogenes strain.

46. (canceled)

47. The method of claim 24, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain is administered orally or parenterally.

48. A method of treating, suppressing, or inhibiting a cancer in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1 to said subject.

49. The method of claim 48, wherein said first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes a prostate specific antigen (PSA) or a High Molecular Weight-Melanoma Associated Antigen (HMW-MAA).

50. (canceled)

51. The method of claim 49, wherein said cancer is prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, melanoma, pancreatic cancer, sarcoma, or a combination thereof.

52. (canceled)

53. (canceled)

54. (canceled)

55. A method of treating, suppressing, or inhibiting at least one tumor in a subject, comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain of claim 1 to said subject.

56. The method of claim 55, wherein said first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes a prostate specific antigen (PSA) or a High Molecular Weight-Melanoma Associated Antigen (HMW-MAA).

57. (canceled)

58. The method of claim 56, wherein said tumor is an ovarian tumor, prostate tumor, brain tumor, lung tumor, gastrointestinal tumor, pancreatic tumor, breast tumor, or a combination thereof.

59. (canceled)

60. (canceled)

61. (canceled)

62. (canceled)

63. (canceled)

64. (canceled)

65. (canceled)

66. (canceled)

67. (canceled)

68. (canceled)

69. (canceled)

70. (canceled)

71. (canceled)

72. (canceled)

73. (canceled)

74. (canceled)

75. (canceled)

76. (canceled)

77. (canceled)

78. (canceled)

79. (canceled)

80. (canceled)

81. A method of producing a recombinant Listeria strain expressing two antigens, the method comprising: (a) Genetically fusing a first nucleic acid encoding a first antigen into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene; (b) Transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector comprising a second nucleic acid encoding a second antigen; and (c) Expressing said first and second antigens under conditions conducive to antigenic expression in said recombinant Listeria strain.

82. (canceled)

83. The recombinant Listeria of claim 12, wherein said first integrated nucleic acid molecule comprises a site-specific integrase gene.

84. The recombinant Listeria of claim 83, wherein said site-specific integrase gene is A118 or U153.

85. The recombinant Listeria of claim 12, wherein said vector is a phage integration vector.

86. The method of claim 35, wherein said first integrated nucleic acid molecule comprises a site-specific integrase gene.

87. The method of claim 86, wherein said site-specific integrase gene is A118 or U153.

88. The recombinant Listeria of claim 35, wherein said vector is a phage integration vector.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

Provided herein are recombinant Listeria strains expressing a tumor-specific antigenic polypeptide and, optionally, an angiogenic polypeptide wherein a nucleic acid molecule encoding at least one of the polypeptides is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding a PEST-containing polypeptide, methods of preparing same, and methods of inducing an immune response, and treating, inhibiting, or suppressing cancer or tumors comprising administering same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A great deal of pre-clinical evidence and early clinical trial data suggests that the anti-tumor capabilities of the immune system can be harnessed to treat patients with established cancers. The vaccine strategy takes advantage of tumor antigens associated with various types of cancers Immunizing with live vaccines such as viral or bacterial vectors expressing a tumor-associated antigen is one strategy for eliciting strong CTL responses against tumors.

Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a gram positive, facultative intracellular bacterium that has direct access to the cytoplasm of antigen presenting cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, largely due to the pore-forming activity of listeriolysin-O (LLO). LLO is secreted by Lm following engulfment by the cells and perforates the phagolysosomal membrane, allowing the bacterium to escape the vacuole and enter the cytoplasm. LLO is very efficiently presented to the immune system via MHC class I molecules. Furthermore, Lm-derived peptides also have access to MHC class II presentation via the phagolysosome.

Cancer is a complex disease and combined therapeutic approaches are more likely to succeed. Not only tumor cells, but also the microenvironment that supports tumor growth, must be targeted to maximize the therapeutic efficacy. Most immunotherapies focus on single antigens to target tumor cells and therefore they have shown limited success against human cancers. A single therapeutic agent capable of targeting tumor cells and tumor microenvironment simultaneously would have an advantage over other immunotherapeutic approaches, especially if it results in a synergistic anti-tumor effect.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, provided herein is a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene. In another embodiment, the present invention provides a vaccine comprising such a recombinant Listeria strain.

In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of inducing an immune response to an antigen in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain comprises a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of treating, suppressing, or inhibiting a cancer in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of treating, suppressing, or inhibiting at least one tumor in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, provided herein is a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of producing a recombinant Listeria strain expressing two antigens, the method comprising genetically fusing a first nucleic acid encoding a first antigen and a second nucleic acid encoding a second antigen into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene; and expressing said first and second antigens under conditions conducive to antigenic expression in said recombinant Listeria strain.

In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of producing a recombinant Listeria strain expressing two antigens. In one embodiment, the method comprises genetically fusing a first nucleic acid encoding a first antigen into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene; transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector comprising a second nucleic acid encoding a second antigen; and expressing said first and second antigens under conditions conducive to antigenic expression in said recombinant Listeria strain.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. (A) Schematic representation of the chromosomal region of the Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 after klk3 integration and actA deletion; (B) The klk3 gene is integrated into the Lmdd and LmddA chromosome. PCR from chromosomal DNA preparation from each construct using klk3 specific primers amplifies a band of 714 by corresponding to the klk3 gene, lacking the secretion signal sequence of the wild type protein.

FIG. 2. (A) Map of the pADV134 plasmid. (B) Proteins from LmddA-134 culture supernatant were precipitated, separated in a SDS-PAGE, and the LLO-E7 protein detected by Western-blot using an anti-E7 monoclonal antibody. The antigen expression cassette consists of hly promoter, ORF for truncated LLO and human PSA gene (klk3). (C) Map of the pADV142 plasmid. (D) Western blot showed the expression of LLO-PSA fusion protein using anti-PSA and anti-LLO antibody.

FIG. 3. (A) Plasmid stability in vitro of LmddA-LLO-PSA if cultured with and without selection pressure (D-alanine). Strain and culture conditions are listed first and plates used for CFU determination are listed after. (B) Clearance of LmddA-LLO-PSA in vivo and assessment of potential plasmid loss during this time. Bacteria were injected i.v. and isolated from spleen at the time point indicated. CFUs were determined on BHI and BHI+D-alanine plates.

FIG. 4. (A) In vivo clearance of the strain LmddA-LLO-PSA after administration of 108 CFU in C57BL/6 mice. The number of CFU were determined by plating on BHI/str plates. The limit of detection of this method was 100 CFU. (B) Cell infection assay of J774 cells with 10403S, LmddA-LLO-PSA and XFL7 strains.

FIG. 5. (A) PSA tetramer-specific cells in the splenocytes of naive and LmddA-LLO-PSA immunized mice on day 6 after the booster dose. (B) Intracellular cytokine staining for IFN-γ in the splenocytes of naive and LmddA-LLO-PSA immunized mice were stimulated with PSA peptide for 5 h. Specific lysis of EL4 cells pulsed with PSA peptide with in vitro stimulated effector T cells from LmddA-LLO-PSA immunized mice and naive mice at different effector/target ratio using a caspase based assay (C) and a europium based assay (D). Number of IFNγ spots in naive and immunized splenocytes obtained after stimulation for 24 h in the presence of PSA peptide or no peptide (E).

FIG. 6. Immunization with LmddA-142 induces regression of Tramp-C1-PSA (TPSA) tumors. Mice were left untreated (n=8) (A) or immunized i.p. with LmddA-142 (1×108 CFU/mouse) (n=8) (B) or Lm-LLO-PSA (n=8) (C) on days 7, 14 and 21. Tumor sizes were measured for each individual tumor and the values expressed as the mean diameter in millimeters. Each line represents an individual mouse.

FIG. 7. (A) Analysis of PSA-tetramer+CD8+ T cells in the spleens and infiltrating T-PSA-23 tumors of untreated mice and mice immunized with either an Lm control strain or Lm-ddA-LLO-PSA (LmddA-142). (B) Analysis of CD4+ regulatory T cells, which were defined as CD25+FoxP3+, in the spleens and infiltrating T-PSA-23 tumors of untreated mice and mice immunized with either an Lm control strain or Lm-ddA-LLO-PSA.

FIG. 8. (A) Schematic representation of the chromosomal region of the Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 after klk3 integration and actA deletion; (B) The klk3 gene is integrated into the Lmdd and LmddA chromosome. PCR from chromosomal DNA preparation from each construct using klk3 specific primers amplifies a band of 760 by corresponding to the klk3 gene.

FIG. 9. (A) Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 secretes the LLO-PSA protein. Proteins from bacterial culture supernatants were precipitated, separated in a SDS-PAGE and LLO and LLO-PSA proteins detected by Western-blot using an anti-LLO and anti-PSA antibodies; (B) LLO produced by Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 retains hemolytic activity. Sheep red blood cells were incubated with serial dilutions of bacterial culture supernatants and hemolytic activity measured by absorbance at 590 nm; (C) Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 grow inside the macrophage-like J774 cells. J774 cells were incubated with bacteria for 1 hour followed by gentamicin treatment to kill extracellular bacteria. Intracellular growth was measured by plating serial dilutions of J774 lysates obtained at the indicated timepoints. Lm 10403S was used as a control in these experiments.

FIG. 10. Immunization of mice with Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 induces a PSA-specific immune response. C57BL/6 mice were immunized twice at 1-week interval with 1×108 CFU of Lmdd-143, LmddA-143 or LmddA-142 and 7 days later spleens were harvested. Splenocytes were stimulated for 5 hours in the presence of monensin with 1 μM of the PSA65-74 peptide. Cells were stained for CD8, CD3, CD62L and intracellular IFN-γ and analyzed in a FACS Calibur cytometer.

FIG. 11. Three Lm-based vaccines expressing distinct HMW-MAA fragments based on the position of previously mapped and predicted HLA-A2 epitopes were designed (A). The Lin-tLLO-HMW-MMA2160-2258 (also referred as Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C) strain secretes a ˜62 kDa band corresponding to the tLLO-HMW-MAA2160-2258 fusion protein (B). C57BL/6 mice (n=15) were inoculated s.c. with B 16F10 cells and either immunized i.p. on days 3, 10 and 17 with Lm-tLLO-HMW-MAA2160-2258 (n=8) or left untreated (n=7). BALB/c mice (n=16) were inoculated s.c. with RENCA cells and immunized i.p. on days 3, 10 and 17 with either Lm-HMW-MAA-C (n=8) or an equivalent dose of a control Lm vaccine. Mice immunized with the Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C impeded the growth of established tumors (C). FVB/N mice (n=13) were inoculated s.c. with NT-2 tumor cells and immunized i.p. on days 7, 14 and 21 with either Lm-HMW-MAA-C (n=5) or an equivalent dose of a control Lm vaccine (n=8) Immunization of mice with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C significantly impaired the growth of tumors not engineered to express HMW-MAA, such as B16F10, RENCA and NT-2 (D). Tumor sizes were measured for each individual tumor and the values expressed as the mean diameter in millimeters±SEM. *, P≦0.05, Mann-Whitney test.

FIG. 12 Immunization with Lm-HMW-MAA-C promotes tumor infiltration by CD8+ T cells and decreases the number of pericytes in blood vessels. (A) NT-2 tumors were removed and sectioned for immunofluorescence. Staining groups are numbered (1-3) and each stain is indicated on the right. Sequential tissues were either stained with the pan-vessel marker anti-CD31 or the anti-NG2 antibody for the HMW-MAA mouse homolog AN2, in conjunction with anti-CD8α for possible TILs. Group 3 shows isotype controls for the above antibodies and DAPI staining used as a nuclear marker. A total of 5 tumors were analyzed and a single representative image from each group is shown. CD8+ cells around blood vessels are indicated by arrows. (B) Sequential sections were stained for pericytes by using the anti-NG2 and anti-alpha-smooth-muscle-cell-actin (α-SMA) antibodies. Double staining/colocalization of these two antibodies (yellow in merge image) are indicative of pericyte staining (top). Pericyte colocalization was quantitated using Image Pro Software and the number of colocalized objects is shown in the graph (bottom). A total of 3 tumors were analyzed and a single representative image from each group is shown. *, P≦0.05, Mann-Whitney test. Graph shows mean±SEM.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates, in one embodiment, to a recombinant Listeria strain expressing an antigenic polypeptide in which the nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene, which in one embodiment, is LLO. In one embodiment, the Listeria expresses two polypeptides, one of which is a tumor-associated antigen, and one of which is an angiogenic polypeptide.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein the first nucleic acid molecule is integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous LLO gene and wherein the second nucleic acid molecule is present in an episomal expression vector within the recombinant Listeria strain. In one embodiment, the first nucleic acid molecule encodes a KLK3 protein and the second nucleic acid molecule encodes an HMW-MAA peptide, and in one embodiment, is in an open reading frame with a nucleic acid encoding a non-hemolytic LLO, truncated ActA, or PEST sequence.

In one embodiment, this invention provides a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide.

In one embodiment, the first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with an endogenous nucleic acid sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence. In one embodiment, the first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding LLO. In another embodiment, the first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding ActA.

In one embodiment, the first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous nucleic acid sequence encoding LLO. In one embodiment, the integration does not eliminate the functionality of LLO. In another embodiment, the integration does not eliminate the functionality of ActA. In one embodiment, the functionality of LLO or Acta is its native functionality. In one embodiment, the LLO functionality is allowing the organism to escape from the phagolysosome, while in another embodiment, the LLO functionality is enhancing the immunogenicity of a polypeptide to which it is fused. In one embodiment, a recombinant Listeria of the present invention retains LLO function, which in one embodiment, is hemolytic function and in another embodiment, is antigenic function. Other functions of LLO are known in the art, as are methods of and assays for evaluating LLO functionality. In one embodiment, a recombinant Listeria of the present invention has wild-type virulence, while in another embodiment, a recombinant Listeria of the present invention has attenuated virulence. In another embodiment, a recombinant Listeria of the present invention is avirulent. In one embodiment, a recombinant Listeria of the present invention is sufficiently virulent to escape the phagolysosome and enter the cytosol. In one embodiment, a recombinant Listeria of the present invention expresses a fused antigen-LLO protein. Thus, in one embodiment, the integration of the first nucleic acid molecule into the Listeria genome does not disrupt the structure of the endogenous PEST-containing gene, while in another embodiment, it does not disrupt the function of the endogenous PEST-containing gene. In one embodiment, the integration of the first nucleic acid molecule into the Listeria genome does not disrupt the ability of said Listeria to escape the phagolysosome.

In another embodiment, the second nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome with said first nucleic acid molecule in an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence. Thus, in one embodiment, the first and second nucleic acid molecules are integrated in frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding LLO, while in another embodiment, they are integrated in frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding ActA. In another embodiment, the second nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence in a site that is distinct from the integration site of the first nucleic acid molecule. In one embodiment, the first nucleic acid molecule is integrated in frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding LLO, while the second nucleic acid molecule is integrated in frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding ActA, while in another embodiment, the first nucleic acid molecule is integrated in frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding ActA, while the second nucleic acid molecule is integrated in frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding LLO.

In another embodiment, this invention provides a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a first nucleic acid molecule encoding a first heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof and a second nucleic acid molecule encoding a second heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is integrated into the Listeria genome such that the first heterologous antigenic polypeptide and an endogenous PEST-containing polypeptide are expressed as a fusion protein. In one embodiment, the first heterologous antigenic polypeptide and the endogenous PEST-containing polypeptide are translated in a single open reading frame, while in another embodiment, the first heterologous antigenic polypeptide and the endogenous PEST-containing polypeptide are fused after being translated separately.

In one embodiment, the Listeria genome comprises a deletion of the endogenous ActA gene, which in one embodiment is a virulence factor. In one embodiment, such a deletion provides a more attenuated and thus safer Listeria strain for human use. According to this embodiment, the antigenic polypeptide is integrated in frame with LLO in the Listeria chromosome. In another embodiment, the integrated nucleic acid molecule is integrated into the ActA locus. In another embodiment, the chromosomal nucleic acid encoding ActA is replaced by a nucleic acid molecule encoding an antigen.

In another embodiment, the integrated nucleic acid molecule is integrated into the Listeria chromosome.

In one embodiment, said first nucleic acid molecule is a vector designed for site-specific homologous recombination into the Listeria genome. In another embodiment, the construct or heterologous gene is integrated into the Listerial chromosome using homologous recombination.

Techniques for homologous recombination are well known in the art, and are described, for example, in Frankel, F R, Hegde, S, Lieberman, J, and Y Paterson. Induction of a cell-mediated immune response to HIV gag using Listeria monocytogenes as a live vaccine vector. J. Immunol. 155: 4766-4774. 1995; Mata, M, Yao, Z, Zubair, A, Syres, K and Y Paterson, Evaluation of a recombinant Listeria monocytogenes expressing an HIV protein that protects mice against viral challenge. Vaccine 19:1435-45, 2001; Boyer, J D, Robinson, T M, Maciag, P C, Peng, X, Johnson, R S, Pavlakis, G, Lewis, M G, Shen, A, Siliciano, R, Brown, C R, Weiner, D, and Y Paterson. DNA prime Listeria boost induces a cellular immune response to SIV antigens in the Rhesus Macaque model that is capable of limited suppression of SIV239 viral replication. Virology. 333: 88-101, 2005. In another embodiment, homologous recombination is performed as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,855,320. In another embodiment, a temperature sensitive plasmid is used to select the recombinants. Each technique represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the construct or heterologous gene is integrated into the Listerial chromosome using transposon insertion. Techniques for transposon insertion are well known in the art, and are described, inter alia, by Sun et al. (Infection and Immunity 1990, 58: 3770-3778) in the construction of DP-L967. Transposon mutagenesis has the advantage, in one embodiment, that a stable genomic insertion mutant can be formed. In another embodiment, the position in the genome where the foreign gene has been inserted by transposon mutagenesis is unknown.

In another embodiment, the construct or heterologous gene is integrated into the Listerial chromosome using phage integration sites (Lauer P, Chow M Y et al, Construction, characterization, and use of two LM site-specific phage integration vectors. J Bacteriol 2002;184(15): 4177-86). In another embodiment, an integrase gene and attachment site of a bacteriophage (e.g. U153 or PSA listeriophage) is used to insert the heterologous gene into the corresponding attachment site, which can be any appropriate site in the genome (e.g. comK or the 3′ end of the arg tRNA gene). In another embodiment, endogenous prophages are cured from the attachment site utilized prior to integration of the construct or heterologous gene. In another embodiment, this method results in single-copy integrants. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the first nucleic acid sequence of methods and compositions as provided herein is operably linked to a promoter/regulatory sequence. In another embodiment, the second nucleic acid sequence is operably linked to a promoter/regulatory sequence. In another embodiment, each of the nucleic acid sequences is operably linked to a promoter/regulatory sequence. In one embodiment, the promoter/regulatory sequence is present on an episomal plasmid comprising said nucleic acid sequence. In one embodiment, endogenous Listeria promoter/regulatory sequence controls the expression of a nucleic acid sequence of the methods and compositions of the present invention. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, a nucleic acid sequence as provided herein is operably linked to a promoter, regulatory sequence, or combination thereof that drives expression of the encoded peptide in the Listeria strain. Promoter, regulatory sequences, and combinations thereof useful for driving constitutive expression of a gene are well known in the art and include, but are not limited to, for example, the PhlyA, PActA, hly, ActA, and p60 promoters of Listeria, the Streptococcus bac promoter, the Streptomyces griseus sgiA promoter, and the B. thuringiensis phaZ promoter. In another embodiment, inducible and tissue specific expression of the nucleic acid encoding a peptide as provided herein is accomplished by placing the nucleic acid encoding the peptide under the control of an inducible or tissue-specific promoter/regulatory sequence. Examples of tissue-specific or inducible regulatory sequences, promoters, and combinations thereof which are useful for his purpose include, but are not limited to the MMTV LTR inducible promoter, and the SV40 late enhancer/promoter. In another embodiment, a promoter that is induced in response to inducing agents such as metals, glucocorticoids, and the like, is utilized. Thus, it will be appreciated that the invention includes the use of any promoter or regulatory sequence, which is either known or unknown, and which is capable of driving expression of the desired protein operably linked thereto. In one embodiment, a regulatory sequence is a promoter, while in another embodiment, a regulatory sequence is an enhancer, while in another embodiment, a regulatory sequence is a suppressor, while in another embodiment, a regulatory sequence is a repressor, while in another embodiment, a regulatory sequence is a silencer.

In one embodiment, the nucleic acid construct used for integration to the Listeria genome contains an integration site. In one embodiment, the site is a PhSA (phage from Scott A) attPP′ integration site. PhSA is, in another embodiment, the prophage of L. monocytogenes strain ScottA (Loessner, M. J., I. B. Krause, T. Henle, and S. Scherer. 1994. Structural proteins and DNA characteristics of 14 Listeria typing bacteriophages. J. Gen. Virol. 75:701-710, incorporated herein by reference), a serotype 4b strain that was isolated during an epidemic of human listeriosis. In another embodiment, the site is any another integration site known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the nucleic acid construct contains an integrase gene. In another embodiment, the integrase gene is a PhSA integrase gene. In another embodiment, the integrase gene is any other integrase gene known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the nucleic acid construct is a plasmid. In another embodiment, the nucleic acid construct is a shuttle plasmid. In another embodiment, the nucleic acid construct is an integration vector. In another embodiment, the nucleic acid construct is a site-specific integration vector. In another embodiment, the nucleic acid construct is any other type of nucleic acid construct known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

The integration vector of methods and compositions as provided herein is, in another embodiment, a phage vector. In another embodiment, the integration vector is a site-specific integration vector. In another embodiment, the vector further comprises an attPP′ site. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the integration vector is a U153 vector. In another embodiment, the integration vector is an A118 vector. In another embodiment, the integration vector is a PhSA vector.

In another embodiment, the vector is an A511 vector (e.g. GenBank Accession No: X91069). In another embodiment, the vector is an A006 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B545 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B053 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A020 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A500 vector (e.g. GenBank Accession No: X85009). In another embodiment, the vector is a B051 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B052 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B054 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B055 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B056 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B101 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B110 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B111 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A153 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a D441 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A538 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B653 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A513 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A507 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A502 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A505 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A519 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B604 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a C703 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B025 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A528 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B024 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B012 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B035 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a C707 vector.

In another embodiment, the vector is an A005 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A620 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an A640 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a B021 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an HSO47 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H10G vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H8/73 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H19 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H21 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H43 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H46 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H107 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H108 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H110 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H163/84 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H312 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H340 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H387 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H391/73 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H684/74 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an H924A vector. In another embodiment, the vector is an fMLUP5 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a syn (=P35) vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 00241 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 00611 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 02971A vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 02971C vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5/476 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5/911 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5/939 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5/11302 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5/11605 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5/11704 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 184 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 575 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 633 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 699/694 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 744 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 900 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1090 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1317 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1444 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1652 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1806 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1807 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1921/959 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1921/11367 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1921/11500 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1921/11566 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1921/12460 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1921/12582 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 1967 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 2389 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 2425 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 2671 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 2685 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 3274 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 3550 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 3551 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 3552 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 4276 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 4277 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 4292 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 4477 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5337 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5348/11363 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5348/11646 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5348/12430 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 5348/12434 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 10072 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 11355C vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 11711A vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 12029 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 12981 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 13441 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 90666 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 90816 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 93253 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 907515 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 910716 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a NN-Listeria vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 01761 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 4211 vector. In another embodiment, the vector is a 4286 vector.

In another embodiment, the integration vector is any other site-specific integration vector known in the art that is capable of infecting Listeria. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein. In another embodiment, the integration vector or plasmid of methods and compositions as provided herein does not confer antibiotic resistance to the Listeria vaccine strain. In another embodiment, the integration vector or plasmid does not contain an antibiotic resistance gene. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides an isolated nucleic acid encoding a recombinant polypeptide. In one embodiment, the isolated nucleic acid comprises a sequence sharing at least 85% homology with a nucleic acid encoding a recombinant polypeptide as provided herein. In another embodiment, the isolated nucleic acid comprises a sequence sharing at least 90% homology with a nucleic acid encoding a recombinant polypeptide as provided herein. In another embodiment, the isolated nucleic acid comprises a sequence sharing at least 95% homology with a nucleic acid encoding a recombinant polypeptide as provided herein. In another embodiment, the isolated nucleic acid comprises a sequence sharing at least 97% homology with a nucleic acid encoding a recombinant polypeptide as provided herein. In another embodiment, the isolated nucleic acid comprises a sequence sharing at least 99% homology with a nucleic acid encoding a recombinant polypeptide as provided herein.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of producing a recombinant Listeria strain expressing two distinct heterologous antigens. In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria expresses at least 3 or more distinct heterologous antigens. In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria expresses 4 or more distinct heterologous antigens. In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria expresses 5 or more distinct heterologous antigens.

In another embodiment, the method comprises genetically fusing a first nucleic acid encoding a first antigen into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, the method comprises genetically fusing at least 2 nucleic acids encoding two distinct heterologous antigens in the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, the method comprises genetically fusing at least 3 nucleic acids encoding two distinct heterologous antigens in the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, the method comprises genetically fusing at least 4 nucleic acids encoding two distinct heterologous antigens in the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, the method comprises genetically fusing at least 5 nucleic acids encoding two distinct heterologous antigens in the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence.

In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector comprising a second nucleic acid encoding a second antigen. In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector comprising at least 2 nucleic acids encoding at least two distinct heterologous antigens. In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector comprising at least 3 nucleic acids encoding at least three distinct heterologous antigens. In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector comprising at least 4 nucleic acids encoding at least four distinct heterologous antigens. In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector comprising at least 5 nucleic acids encoding at least five distinct heterologous antigens.

In yet another embodiment, the method comprises expressing said first and second antigens under conditions conducive to antigenic expression, that are known in the art, in said recombinant Listeria strain.

In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with at least 1 episomal expression vector comprising heterologous antigens as described hereinabove. In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with at least 2 episomal expression vector comprising heterologous antigens as described hereinabove. In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with at least 3 episomal expression vector comprising heterologous antigens as described hereinabove. In another embodiment, the method comprises transforming said recombinant Listeria with at least 4 episomal expression vector comprising heterologous antigens as described hereinabove.

In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain may express more than two antigens, some of which are expressed from one or more nucleic acid molecules integrated into the Listeria chromosome and some of which are expressed via one or more episomal expression vectors present in the recombinant Listeria strain. Thus, as described hereinabove, in one embodiment, a recombinant Listeria strain as provided herein comprises two or more episomal expression vectors, each of which expresses a separate antigenic polypeptide, in one embodiment. In one embodiment, one or more of the antigens are expressed as a fusion protein with LLO, which in one embodiment, is non-hemolytic LLO, and, in another embodiment, truncated LLO. In one embodiment, a recombinant Listeria strain as provided herein targets tumors by eliciting immune responses to two separate antigens, which are expressed by two different cell types, which in one embodiment are a cell surface antigen and an anti-angiogenic polypeptide, while in another embodiment, a recombinant Listeria strain as provided herein targets tumors by eliciting an immune response to two different antigens expressed by the same cell type, which in one embodiment are prostate specific antigen (PSA) and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which in one embodiment is FOLH1. In another embodiment, a recombinant Listeria strain as provided herein targets tumors by eliciting an immune response to two different antigens as described hereinbelow or as are known in the art.

In one embodiment, a first antigen of the compositions and methods of the present invention is directed against a specific cell surface antigen or tumor target, and a second antigen is directed against an angiogenic antigen or tumor microenvironment. In another embodiment, the first and second antigens of the compositions and methods of the present invention are polypeptides expressed by tumor cells, or in another embodiment, polypeptides expressed in a tumor microenvironment. In another embodiment, the first antigen of the compositions and methods of the present invention is a polypeptide expressed by a tumor and the second antigen of the compositions and methods of the present invention is a receptor target, NO Synthetase, Arg-1, or other enzyme known in the art.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of producing a recombinant Listeria strain expressing two antigens, the method comprising, in one embodiment, genetically fusing a first nucleic acid encoding a first antigen and a second nucleic acid encoding a second antigen into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with a native polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, the expressing said first and second antigens are produced under conditions conducive to antigenic expression in said recombinant Listeria strain.

In one embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain of the composition and methods as provided herein comprises an episomal expression vector comprising the second nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigen. In another embodiment, the second nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigen is present in said episomal expression vector in an open reading frame with a polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence.

In another embodiment, an episomal expression vector of the methods and compositions as provided herein comprises an antigen fused in frame to a nucleic acid sequence encoding a PEST-like AA sequence. In one embodiment, the antigen is HMW-MAA, and in another embodiment, a HMW-MAA fragment. In another embodiment, the PEST-like AA sequence is KENSISSMAPPASPPASPKTPIEKKHADEIDK (SEQ ID NO: 1). In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is KENSISSMAPPASPPASPK (SEQ ID No: 2). In another embodiment, fusion of an antigen to any LLO sequence that includes one of the PEST-like AA sequences enumerated herein can enhance cell mediated immunity against HMW-MAA.

In another embodiment, the PEST-like AA sequence is a PEST-like sequence from a Listeria ActA protein. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is KTEEQPSEVNTGPR (SEQ ID NO: 3), KASVTDTSEGDLDSSMQSADESTPQPLK (SEQ ID NO: 4), KNEEVNASDFPPPPTDEELR (SEQ ID NO: 5), or RGGIPTSEEFSSLNSGDFTDDENSETTEEEIDR (SEQ ID NO: 6). In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is from Listeria seeligeri cytolysin, encoded by the lso gene. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is RSEVTISPAETPESPPATP (SEQ ID NO: 7). In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is from Streptolysin O protein of Streptococcus sp. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is from Streptococcus pyogenes Streptolysin O, e.g. KQNTASTETTTTNEQPK (SEQ ID NO: 8) at AA 35-51. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is from Streptococcus equisimilis Streptolysin O, e.g. KQNTANTETTTTNEQPK (SEQ ID NO: 9) at AA 38-54. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence has a sequence selected from SEQ ID NO: 3-9. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence has a sequence selected from SEQ ID NO: 1-9. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is another PEST-like AA sequence derived from a prokaryotic organism.

Identification of PEST-like sequences is well known in the art, and is described, for example in Rogers S et al (Amino acid sequences common to rapidly degraded proteins: the PEST hypothesis. Science 1986; 234(4774):364-8, incorporated herein by reference) and Rechsteiner M et al (PEST sequences and regulation by proteolysis. Trends Biochem Sci 1996; 21(7):267-71, incorporated herein by reference). “PEST-like sequence” refers, in another embodiment, to a region rich in proline (P), glutamic acid (E), serine (S), and threonine (T) residues. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is flanked by one or more clusters containing several positively charged amino acids. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence mediates rapid intracellular degradation of proteins containing it. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence fits an algorithm disclosed in Rogers et al. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence fits an algorithm disclosed in Rechsteiner et al. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence contains one or more internal phosphorylation sites, and phosphorylation at these sites precedes protein degradation. In one embodiment, a sequence referred to herein as a PEST-like sequence is a PEST sequence.

In one embodiment, PEST-like sequences of prokaryotic organisms are identified in accordance with methods such as described by, for example Rechsteiner and Rogers (1996, Trends Biochem. Sci. 21:267-271) for LM and in Rogers S et al (Science 1986; 234(4774):364-8). Alternatively, PEST-like AA sequences from other prokaryotic organisms can also be identified based on this method. Other prokaryotic organisms wherein PEST-like AA sequences would be expected to include, but are not limited to, other Listeria species. In one embodiment, the PEST-like sequence fits an algorithm disclosed in Rogers et al. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence fits an algorithm disclosed in Rechsteiner et al. In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is identified using the PEST-find program.

In another embodiment, identification of PEST motifs is achieved by an initial scan for positively charged amino acids R, H, and K within the specified protein sequence. All amino acids between the positively charged flanks are counted and only those motifs are considered further, which contain a number of amino acids equal to or higher than the window-size parameter. In another embodiment, a PEST-like sequence must contain at least 1 P, 1 D or E, and at least 1 S or T.

In another embodiment, the quality of a PEST motif is refined by means of a scoring parameter based on the local enrichment of critical amino acids as well as the motifs hydrophobicity. Enrichment of D, E, P, S and T is expressed in mass percent (w/w) and corrected for 1 equivalent of D or E, 1 of P and 1 of S or T. In another embodiment, calculation of hydrophobicity follows in principle the method of J. Kyte and R. F. Doolittle (Kyte, J and Dootlittle, R F. J. Mol. Biol. 157, 105 (1982), incorporated herein by reference. For simplified calculations, Kyte-Doolittle hydropathy indices, which originally ranged from −4.5 for arginine to +4.5 for isoleucine, are converted to positive integers, using the following linear transformation, which yielded values from 0 for arginine to 90 for isoleucine.


Hydropathy index=10*Kyte-Doolittle hydropathy index+45

In another embodiment, a potential PEST motif's hydrophobicity is calculated as the sum over the products of mole percent and hydrophobicity index for each amino acid species.

The desired PEST score is obtained as combination of local enrichment term and hydrophobicity term as expressed by the following equation:


PEST score=0.55*DEPST−0.5*hydrophobicity index.

In another embodiment, “PEST sequence,” “PEST-like sequence” or “PEST-like sequence peptide” refers to a peptide having a score of at least +5, using the above algorithm. In another embodiment, the term refers to a peptide having a score of at least 6. In another embodiment, the peptide has a score of at least 7. In another embodiment, the score is at least 8. In another embodiment, the score is at least 9. In another embodiment, the score is at least 10. In another embodiment, the score is at least 11. In another embodiment, the score is at least 12. In another embodiment, the score is at least 13. In another embodiment, the score is at least 14. In another embodiment, the score is at least 15. In another embodiment, the score is at least 16. In another embodiment, the score is at least 17. In another embodiment, the score is at least 18. In another embodiment, the score is at least 19. In another embodiment, the score is at least 20. In another embodiment, the score is at least 21. In another embodiment, the score is at least 22. In another embodiment, the score is at least 22. In another embodiment, the score is at least 24. In another embodiment, the score is at least 24. In another embodiment, the score is at least 25. In another embodiment, the score is at least 26. In another embodiment, the score is at least 27. In another embodiment, the score is at least 28. In another embodiment, the score is at least 29. In another embodiment, the score is at least 30. In another embodiment, the score is at least 32. In another embodiment, the score is at least 35. In another embodiment, the score is at least 38. In another embodiment, the score is at least 40. In another embodiment, the score is at least 45. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is identified using any other method or algorithm known in the art, e.g the CaSPredictor (Garay-Malpartida I I M, Occhiucci J M, Alves J, Belizario J E. Bioinformatics. 2005 June; 21 Suppl 1:i169-76). In another embodiment, the following method is used:

A PEST index is calculated for each stretch of appropriate length (e.g. a 30-35 amino acid stretch) by assigning a value of 1 to the amino acids Ser, Thr, Pro, Glu, Asp, Asn, or Gln. The coefficient value (CV) for each of the PEST residue is 1 and for each of the other amino acids (non-PEST) is 0.

Each method for identifying a PEST-like sequence represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the PEST-like sequence is any other PEST-like sequence known in the art. Each PEST-like sequence and type thereof represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides fusion proteins, which in one embodiment, are expressed by Listeria. In one embodiment, such fusion proteins are fused to a PEST-like sequence which, in one embodiment, refers to fusion to a protein fragment comprising a PEST-like sequence. In another embodiment, the term includes cases wherein the protein fragment comprises surrounding sequence other than the PEST-like sequence. In another embodiment, the protein fragment consists of the PEST-like sequence. Thus, in another embodiment, “fusion” refers to two peptides or protein fragments either linked together at their respective ends or embedded one within the other. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, a recombinant Listeria strain of the compositions and methods as provided herein comprises a full length LLO polypeptide, which in one embodiment, is hemolytic.

In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain comprises a non-hemolytic LLO polypeptide. In another embodiment, the polypeptide is an LLO fragment. In another embodiment, the oligopeptide is a complete LLO protein. In another embodiment, the polypeptide is any LLO protein or fragment thereof known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, an LLO protein fragment is utilized in compositions and methods as provided herein. In one embodiment, a truncated LLO protein is encoded by the episomal expression vector as provided herein that expresses a polypeptide, that is, in one embodiment, an antigen, in another embodiment, an angiogenic factor, or, in another embodiment, both an antigen and angiogenic factor. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment is an N-terminal fragment.

In another embodiment, the N-terminal LLO fragment has the sequence:

MKKIMLVFITLILVSLPIAQQTEAKDASAFNKENSISSVAPPASPPASPKTPIEKK HADEIDKYIQGLDYNKNNVLVYHGDAVTNVPPRKGYKDGNEYIVVEKKKKSINQNNA DIQVVNAISSLTYPGALVKANSELVENQPDVLPVKRDSLTLSIDLPGMTNQDNKIVVKN ATKSNVNNAVNTLVERWNEKYAQAYSNVSAKIDYDDEMAYSESQLIAKFGTAFKAVN NSLNVNFGAISEGKMQEEVISFKQIYYNVNVNEPTRPSRFFGKAVTKEQLQALGVNAEN PPAYISSVAYGRQVYLKLSTNSHSTKVKAAFDAAVSGKSVSGDVELTNIIKNSSFKAVIY GGSAKDEVQIIDGNLGDLRDILKKGATFNRETPGVPIAYTTNFLKDNELAVIKNNSEYIE TTSKAYTDGKINIDHSGGYVAQFNISWDEVNYD (SEQ ID NO: 10). In another embodiment, an LLO AA sequence of methods and compositions as provided herein comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID No: 10. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 10. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a variant of SEQ ID No: 10. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 10. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is an isoform of SEQ ID No: 10. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the LLO fragment has the sequence:

mkkimlvfitlilvslpiaqqteakdasafnkensissvappasppaspktpiekkhadeidkyiqgldynknnylvyhg davtnvpprkgykdgneyivvekkksinqnnadiqvvnaissltypgalvkanselvenqpdvlpvkrdsltlsidlpgmtnqdnki vvknatksnvnnavntlverwnekyaqaysnvsakidyddemaysesqliakfgtafkavnnslnvnfgaisegkmqeevisfkqi yynvnvneptrpsrffgkavtkeqlqalgvnaenppayissvaygrqvylklstnshstkvkaafdaaysgksvsgdveltniiknssfk aviyggsakdevqiidgnlgdlrdilkkgatfnretpgvpiayttnflkdnelaviknnseyiettskaytd (SEQ ID NO: 11). In another embodiment, an LLO AA sequence of methods and compositions as provided herein comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID No: 11. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 11. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a variant of SEQ ID No: 11. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 11. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is an isoform of SEQ ID No: 11. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

The LLO protein used in the compositions and methods as provided herein has, in another embodiment, the sequence:

MKKIMLVFITLILVSLPIAQQTEAKDASAFNKENSISSMAPPASPPASPKTPIEKK HADEIDKYIQGLDYNKNNVLVYHGDAVTNVPPRKGYKDGNEYIVVEKKKKSINQNNA DIQVVNAISSLTYPGALVKANSELVENQPDVLPVKRDSLTLSIDLPGMTNQDNKIVVKN ATKSNVNNAVNTLVERWNEKYAQAYPNVSAKIDYDDEMAYSESQLIAKFGTAFKAVN NSLNVNFGAISEGKMQEEVISFKQIYYNVNVNEPTRPSRFFGKAVTKEQLQALGVNAEN PPAYISSVAYGRQVYLKLSTNSHSTKVKAAFDAAVSGKSVSGDVELTNIIKNSSFKAVIY GGSAKDEVQIIDGNLGDLRDILKKGATFNRETPGVPIAYTTNFLKDNELAVIKNNSEYIE TTSKAYTDGKINIDHSGGYVAQFNISWDEVNYDPEGNEIVQHKNWSENNKSKLAHFTS SIYLPGNARNINVYAKECTGLAWEWWRTVIDDRNLPLVKNRNISIWGTTLYPKYSNKV DNPIE (GenBank Accession No. P13128; SEQ ID NO: 12; nucleic acid sequence is set forth in GenBank Accession No. X15127). The first 25 AA of the proprotein corresponding to this sequence are the signal sequence and are cleaved from LLO when it is secreted by the bacterium. Thus, in this embodiment, the full length active LLO protein is 504 residues long. In another embodiment, the above LLO fragment is used as the source of the LLO fragment incorporated in a vaccine as provided herein. In another embodiment, an LLO AA sequence of methods and compositions as provided herein comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 12. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a homologue of SEQ ID NO: 12. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a variant of SEQ ID NO: 12. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a fragment of SEQ ID NO: 12. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is an isoform of SEQ ID NO: 12. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

The LLO protein used in the compositions and methods as provided herein has, in another embodiment, the sequence:

MKKIMLVFITLILVSLPIAQQTEAKDASAFNKENSISSVAPPASPPASPKTPIEKKHADEID KYIQGLDYNKNNVLVYHGDAVTNVPPRKGYKDGNEYIVVEKKKKSINQNNADIQVVN AISSLTYPGALVKANSELVENQPDVLPVKRDSLTLSIDLPGMTNQDNKIVVKNATKSNV NNAVNTLVERWNEKYAQAYSNVSAKIDYDDEMAYSESQLIAKFGTAFKAVNNSLNVN FGAISEGKMQEEVISFKQIYYNVNVNEPTRPSRFFGKAVTKEQLQALGVNAENPPAYISS VAYGRQVYLKLSTNSHSTKVKAAFDAAVSGKSVSGDVELTNIIKNSSFKAVIYGGSAKD EVQIIDGNLGDLRDILKKGATFNRETPGVPIAYTTNFLKDNELAVIKNNSEYIETTSKAYT D (SEQ ID NO: 13). In another embodiment, an LLO AA sequence of methods and compositions as provided herein comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 13. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a homologue of SEQ ID NO: 13. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a variant of SEQ ID NO: 13. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is a fragment of SEQ ID NO: 13. In another embodiment, the LLO AA sequence is an isoform of SEQ ID NO: 13. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the amino acid sequence of the LLO polypeptide of the compositions and methods as provided herein is from the Listeria monocytogenes 10403S strain, as set forth in Genbank Accession No.: ZP01942330, EBA21833, or is encoded by the nucleic acid sequence as set forth in Genbank Accession No.: NZ_AARZ01000015 or AARZ01000015.1. In another embodiment, the LLO sequence for use in the compositions and methods as provided herein is from Listeria monocytogenes, which in one embodiment, is the 4b F2365 strain (in one embodiment, Genbank accession number: YP012823), the EGD-e strain (in one embodiment, Genbank accession number: NP463733), or any other strain of Listeria monocytogenes known in the art.

In another embodiment, the LLO sequence for use in the compositions and methods as provided herein is from Flavobacteriales bacterium HTCC2170 (in one embodiment, Genbank accession number: ZP01106747 or EAR01433; in one embodiment, encoded by Genbank accession number: NZ_AA0C01000003). In one embodiment, proteins that are homologous to LLO in other species, such as alveolysin, which in one embodiment, is found in Paenibacillus alvei (in one embodiment, Genbank accession number: P23564 or AAA22224; in one embodiment, encoded by Genbank accession number: M62709) may be used in the compositions and methods as provided herein. Other such homologous proteins are known in the art.

Each LLO protein and LLO fragment represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, homologues of LLO from other species, including known lysins, or fragments thereof may be used to create a fusion protein of LLO with an antigen of the compositions and methods as provided herein, which in one embodiment, is HMW-MAA, and in another embodiment is a fragment of HMW-MAA.

In another embodiment, the LLO fragment of methods and compositions as provided herein, is a PEST-like domain. In another embodiment, an LLO fragment that comprises a PEST sequence is utilized as part of a composition or in the methods as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the LLO fragment does not contain the activation domain at the carboxy terminus In another embodiment, the LLO fragment does not include cysteine 484. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment is a non-hemolytic fragment. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment is rendered non-hemolytic by deletion or mutation of the activation domain. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment is rendered non-hemolytic by deletion or mutation of cysteine 484. In another embodiment, an LLO sequence is rendered non-hemolytic by deletion or mutation at another location.

In another embodiment, the LLO fragment consists of about the first 441 AA of the LLO protein. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment comprises about the first 400-441 AA of the 529 AA full length LLO protein. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment corresponds to AA 1-441 of an LLO protein disclosed herein. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment consists of about the first 420 AA of LLO. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment corresponds to AA 1-420 of an LLO protein disclosed herein. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment consists of about AA 20-442 of LLO. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment corresponds to AA 20-442 of an LLO protein disclosed herein. In another embodiment, any ΔLLO without the activation domain comprising cysteine 484, and in particular without cysteine 484, are suitable for methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the LLO fragment corresponds to the first 400 AA of an LLO protein. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment corresponds to the first 300 AA of an LLO protein. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment corresponds to the first 200 AA of an LLO protein. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment corresponds to the first 100 AA of an LLO protein. In another embodiment, the LLO fragment corresponds to the first 50 AA of an LLO protein, which in one embodiment, comprises one or more PEST-like sequences.

In another embodiment, the LLO fragment contains residues of a homologous LLO protein that correspond to one of the above AA ranges. The residue numbers need not, in another embodiment, correspond exactly with the residue numbers enumerated above; e.g. if the homologous LLO protein has an insertion or deletion, relative to an LLO protein utilized herein.

In another embodiment, a recombinant Listeria strain of the methods and compositions as provided herein comprise a nucleic acid molecule operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with an endogenous ActA sequence. In another embodiment, an episomal expression vector as provided herein comprises a fusion protein comprising an antigen fused to an ActA or a truncated ActA. In one embodiment, the antigen is HMW-MAA, while in another embodiment, it's an immunogenic fragement of HMW-MAA.

In one embodiment, an antigen of the methods and compositions as provided herein is fused to an ActA protein, which in one embodiment, is an N-terminal fragment of an ActA protein, which in one embodiment, comprises or consists of the first 390 AA of ActA, in another embodiment, the first 418 AA of ActA, in another embodiment, the first 50 AA of ActA, in another embodiment, the first 100 AA of ActA, which in one embodiment, comprise a PEST-like sequence such as that provided in SEQ ID NO: 2. In another embodiment, an N-terminal fragment of an ActA protein utilized in methods and compositions as provided herein comprises or consists of the first 150 AA of ActA, in another embodiment, the first approximately 200 AA of ActA, which in one embodiment comprises 2 PEST-like sequences as described herein. In another embodiment, an N-terminal fragment of an ActA protein utilized in methods and compositions as provided herein comprises or consists of the first 250 AA of ActA, in another embodiment, the first 300 AA of ActA. In another embodiment, the ActA fragment contains residues of a homologous ActA protein that correspond to one of the above AA ranges. The residue numbers need not, in another embodiment, correspond exactly with the residue numbers enumerated above; e.g. if the homologous ActA protein has an insertion or deletion, relative to an ActA protein utilized herein, then the residue numbers can be adjusted accordingly, as would be routine to a skilled artisan using sequence alignment tools such as NCBI BLAST that are well-known in the art.

In another embodiment, the N-terminal portion of the ActA protein comprises 1, 2, 3, or 4 PEST-like sequences, which in one embodiment are the PEST-like sequences specifically mentioned herein, or their homologs, as described herein or other PEST-like sequences as can be determined using the methods and algorithms described herein or by using alternative methods known in the art.

An N-terminal fragment of an ActA protein utilized in methods and compositions as provided herein has, in another embodiment, the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 14:

MRAMMVVFITANCITINPDIIFAATDSEDSSLNTDEWEEEKTEEQPSEVNTGPRYETARE VSSRDIKELEKSNKVRNTNKADLIAMLKEKAEKGPNINNNNSEQTENAAINEEASGADR PAIQVERRHPGLPSDSAAEIKKRRKAIASSDSELESLTYPDKPTKVNKKKVAKESVADAS ESDLDSSMQSADESSPQPLKANQQPFFPKVFKKIKDAGKWVRDKIDENPEVKKAIVDKS AGLIDQLLTKKKSEEVNASDFPPPPTDEELRLALPETPMLLGFNAPATSEPSSFEFPPPPTD EELRLALPETPMLLGFNAPATSEPSSFEFPPPPTEDELEIIRETASSLDSSFTRGDLASLRNA INRHSQNFSDFPPIPTEEELNGRGGRP (SEQ ID NO: 14). In another embodiment, the ActA fragment comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 14. In another embodiment, the ActA fragment is any other ActA fragment known in the art. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a homologue of SEQ ID NO: 14. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a variant of SEQ ID NO: 14. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is an isoform of SEQ ID NO: 14. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a fragment of SEQ ID NO: 14. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a fragment of a homologue of SEQ ID NO: 14. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a fragment of a variant of SEQ ID NO: 14. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a fragment of an isoform of SEQ ID NO: 14. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the recombinant nucleotide encoding a fragment of an ActA protein comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 15: atgcgtgcgatgatggtggttttcattactgccaattgcattacgattaaccccgacataatatttgcagcgacagatagcgaagattctagtct aaacacagatgaatgggaagaagaaaaaacagaagagcaaccaagcgaggtaaatacgggaccaagatacgaaactgcacgtgaagt aagttcacgtgatattaaagaactagaaaaatcgaataaagtgagaaatacgaacaaagcagacctaatagcaatgttgaaagaaaaagc agaaaaaggtccaaatatcaataataacaacagtgaacaaactgagaatgcggctataaatgaagaggcttcaggagccgaccgaccag ctatacaagtggagcgtcgtcatccaggattgccatcggatagcgcagcggaaattaaaaaaagaaggaaagccatagcatcatcggata gtgagcttgaaagccttacttatccggataaaccaacaaaagtaaataagaaaaaagtggcgaaagagtcagttgcggatgcttctgaaag tgacttagattctagcatgcagtcagcagatgagtcttcaccacaacctttaaaagcaaaccaacaaccatttttccctaaagtatttaaaaaa ataaaagatgcggggaaatgggtacgtgataaaatcgacgaaaatcctgaagtaaagaaagcgattgttgataaaagtgcagggttaattg accaattattaaccaaaaagaaaagtgaagaggtaaatgcttcggacttcccgccaccacctacggatgaagagttaagacttgctttgcca gagacaccaatgcttcttggttttaatgctcctgctacatcagaaccgagctcattcgaatttccaccaccacctacggatgaagagttaaga cttgctttgccagagacgccaatgcttcttggttttaatgctcctgctacatcggaaccgagctcgttcgaatttccaccgcctccaacagaag atgaactagaaatcatccgggaaacagcatcctcgctagattctagttttacaagaggggatttagctagtttgagaaatgctattaatcgcca tagtcaaaatttctctgatttcccaccaatcccaacagaagaagagttgaacgggagaggcggtagacca (SEQ ID NO: 15). In another embodiment, the recombinant nucleotide has the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 15. In another embodiment, the recombinant nucleotide comprises any other sequence that encodes a fragment of an ActA protein. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

An N-terminal fragment of an ActA protein utilized in methods and compositions as provided herein has, in another embodiment, the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 16: MRAMMVVFITANCITINPDIIFAATDSEDSSLNTDEWEEEKTEEQPSEVNTGPRYETARE VSSRDIEELEKSNKVKNTNKADLIAMLKAKAEKGPNNNNNNGEQTGNVAINEEASGVD RPTLQVERRHPGLSSDSAAEIKKRRKAIASSDSELESLTYPDKPTKANKRKVAKESVVD ASESDLDSSMQSADESTPQPLKANQKPFFPKVFKKIKDAGKWVRDKIDENPEVKKAIVD KSAGLIDQLLTKKKSEEVNASDFPPPPTDEELRLALPETPMLLGFNAPTPSEPSSFEFPPPP TDEELRLALPETPMLLGFNAPATSEPSSFEFPPPPTEDELEIMRETAPSLDSSFTSGDLASL RSAINRHSENFSDFPLIPTEEELNGRGGRP (SEQ ID NO: 16), which in one embodiment is the first 390 AA for ActA from Listeria monocytogenes, strain 10403S. In another embodiment, the ActA fragment comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 16. In another embodiment, the ActA fragment is any other ActA fragment known in the art. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a homologue of SEQ ID NO: 16. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a variant of SEQ ID NO: 16. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is an isoform of SEQ ID NO: 16. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a fragment of SEQ ID NO: 16. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a fragment of a homologue of SEQ ID NO: 16. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a fragment of a variant of SEQ ID NO: 16. In another embodiment, the ActA protein is a fragment of an isoform of SEQ ID NO: 16. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the recombinant nucleotide encoding a fragment of an ActA protein comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 17: atgcgtgcgatgatggtagttttcattactgccaactgcattacgattaaccccgacataatatttgcagcgacagatagcgaagattccagtct aaacacagatgaatgggaagaagaaaaaacagaagagcagccaagcgaggtaaatacgggaccaagatacgaaactgcacgtgaagt aagttcacgtgatattgaggaactagaaaaatcgaataaagtgaaaaatacgaacaaagcagacctaatagcaatgttgaaagcaaaagca gagaaaggtccgaataacaataataacaacggtgagcaaacaggaaatgtggctataaatgaagaggcttcaggagtcgaccgaccaact ctgcaagtggagcgtcgtcatccaggtctgtcatcggatagcgcagcggaaattaaaaaaagaagaaaagccatagcgtcgtcggatagt gagcttgaaagccttacttatccagataaaccaacaaaagcaaataagagaaaagtggcgaaagagtcagttgtggatgcttctgaaagtga cttagattctagcatgcagtcagcagacgagtctacaccacaacctttaaaagcaaatcaaaaaccatttttccctaaagtatttaaaaaaataa aagatgcggggaaatgggtacgtgataaaatcgacgaaaatcctgaagtaaagaaagcgattgttgataaaagtgcagggttaattgacca attattaaccaaaaagaaaagtgaagaggtaaatgcttcggacttcccgccaccacctacggatgaagagttaagacttgctttgccagaga caccgatgcttctcggttttaatgctcctactccatcggaaccgagctcattcgaatttccgccgccacctacggatgaagagttaagacttgct ttgccagagacgccaatgcttcttggttttaatgctcctgctacatcggaaccgagctcattcgaatttccaccgcctccaacagaagatgaac tagaaattatgcgggaaacagcaccttcgctagattctagttttacaagcggggatttagctagtttgagaagtgctattaatcgccatagcgaa aatttctctgatttcccactaatcccaacagaagaagagttgaacgggagaggcggtagacca (SEQ ID NO: 17), which in one embodiment, is the first 1170 nucleotides encoding ActA in Listeria monocytogenes 10403S strain. In another embodiment, the recombinant nucleotide has the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 17. In another embodiment, the recombinant nucleotide comprises any other sequence that encodes a fragment of an ActA protein. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the ActA fragment is another ActA fragment known in the art, which in one embodiment, is any fragment comprising a PEST sequence. Thus, in one embodiment, the ActA fragment is amino acids 1-100 of the ActA sequence. In another embodiment, the ActA fragment is amino acids 1-200 of the ActA sequence. In another embodiment, the ActA fragment is amino acids 200-300 of the ActA sequence. In another embodiment, the ActA fragment is amino acids 300-400 of the ActA sequence. In another embodiment, the ActA fragment is amino acids 1-300 of the ActA sequence. In another embodiment, a recombinant nucleotide as provided herein comprises any other sequence that encodes a fragment of an ActA protein. In another embodiment, the recombinant nucleotide comprises any other sequence that encodes an entire ActA protein. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the ActA sequence for use in the compositions and methods as provided herein is from Listeria monocytogenes, which in one embodiment, is the EGD strain, the 10403S strain (Genbank accession number: DQ054585) the NICPBP 54002 strain (Genbank accession number: EU394959), the S3 strain (Genbank accession number: EU394960), the NCTC 5348 strain (Genbank accession number: EU394961), the NICPBP 54006 strain (Genbank accession number: EU394962), the M7 strain (Genbank accession number: EU394963), the S19 strain (Genbank accession number: EU394964), or any other strain of Listeria monocytogenes which is known in the art.

In one embodiment, the sequence of the deleted actA region in the strain, LmddΔactA is as follows:

gcgccaaatcattggttgattggtgaggatgtctgtgtgcgtgggtcgcgagatgggcgaataagaagcattaaagatcctga caaatataatcaagcggctcatatgaaagattacgaatcgcttccactcacagaggaaggcgactggggcggagttcattataatagtggtat cccgaataaagcagcctataatactatcactaaacttggaaaagaaaaaacagaacagctttattttcgcgccttaaagtactatttaacgaaa aaatcccagtttaccgatgcgaaaaaagcgcttcaacaagcagcgaaagatttatatggtgaagatgcttctaaaaaagttgctgaagcttgg gaagcagttggggttaactgattaacaaatgttagagaaaaattaattctccaagtgatattcttaaaataattcatgaatattttttcttatattagct aattaagaagataactaactgctaatccaatttttaacggaacaaattagtgaaaatgaaggccgaattttccttgttctaaaaaggttgtattagc gtatcacgaggagggagtataagtgggattaaacagatttatgcgtgcgatgatggtggttttcattactgccaattgcattacgattaaccccg acgtcgacccatacgacgttaancttgcaatgttagctattggcgtgttctctttaggggcgtttatcaaaattattcaattaagaaaaaataatta aaaacacagaacgaaagaaaaagtgaggtgaatgatatgaaattcaaaaaggtggttctaggtatgtgcttgatcgcaagtgttctagtctttc cggtaacgataaaagcaaatgcctgttgtgatgaatacttacaaacacccgcagctccgcatgatattgacagcaaattaccacataaactta gttggtccgcggataacccgacaaatactgacgtaaatacgcactattggctttttaaacaagcggaaaaaatactagctaaagatgtaaatc atatgcgagctaatttaatgaatgaacttaaaaaattcgataaacaaatagctcaaggaatatatgatgcggatcataaaaatccatattatgata ctagtacatttttatctcatttttataatcctgatagagataatacttatttgccgggttttgctaatgcgaaaataacaggagcaaagtatttcaatc aatcggtgactgattaccgagaagggaa (SEQ ID NO: 18). In one embodiment, the underlined region contains actA sequence element that is present in the LmddΔactA strain. In one embodiment, the bold sequence gtcgac represent the site of junction of the N-T and C-T sequence.

In one embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain of the compositions and methods as provided herein comprise a first or second nucleic acid molecule that encodes a High Molecular Weight-Melanoma Associated Antigen (HMW-MAA), or, in another embodiment, a fragment of HMW-MAA.

In one embodiment, HMW-MAA is also known as the melanoma chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (MCSP), and in another embodiment, is a membrane-bound protein of 2322 residues. In one embodiment, HMW-MAA is expressed on over 90% of surgically removed benign nevi and melanoma lesions, and is also expressed in basal cell carcinoma, tumors of neural crest origin (e.g. astrocytomas, gliomas, neuroblastomas and sarcomas), childhood leukemias, and lobular breast carcinoma lesions. In another embodiment, HMW-MAA is highly expressed on both activated pericytes and pericytes in tumor angiogeneic vasculature which, in another embodiment is associated with neovascularization in vivo. In another embodiment, immunization of mice with the recombinant Listeria, as provided herein, that expresses a fragment of HMW-MAA (residues 2160 to 2258), impairs the growth of tumors not engineered to express HMW-MAA (FIG. 9D). In another embodiment, immunization of mice with the recombinant Listeria expressing a fragment of HMW-MAA (residues 2160 to 2258) decreases the number of pericytes in the tumor vasculature. In another embodiment, immunization of mice with the recombinant Listeria expressing a fragment of HMW-MAA (residues 2160 to 2258) causes infiltration of CD8+ T cells around blood vessels and into the tumor.

In one embodiment, a murine homolog of HMW-MAA, known as NG2 or AN2, has 80% homology to HMW-MAA, as well as similar expression pattern and function. In another embodiment, HMW-MAA is highly expressed on both activated pericytes and pericytes in tumor angiogenic vasculature. In one embodiment, activated pericytes are associated with neovascularization in vivo. In one embodiment, activated pericytes are involved in angiogenesis. In another embodiment, angiogenesis is important for survival of tumors. In another embodiment, pericytes in tumor angiogenic vasculature are associated with neovascularization in vivo. In another embodiment, activated pericytes are important cells in vascular development, stabilization, maturation and remodeling. Therefore, in one embodiment, besides its role as a tumor-associated antigen, HMW-MAA is also a potential universal target for anti-angiogenesis using an immunotherapeutic approach. As described herein (Example 8), results obtained using an Lm-based vaccine against this antigen has supported this possibility.

In another embodiment, one of the antigens of the methods and compositions provided herein is expressed in activated pericytes. In another embodiment, at least one of the antigens is expressed in activated pericytes.

The HMW-MAA protein from which HMW-MAA fragments as provided herein are derived is, in another embodiment, a human HMW-MAA protein. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is a mouse protein. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is a rat protein. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is a primate protein. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is from any other species known in the art. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is melanoma chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (MCSP). In another embodiment, an AN2 protein is used in methods and compositions as provided herein. In another embodiment, an NG2 protein is used in methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein of methods and compositions as provided herein has the sequence:

MQSGRGPPLPAPGLALALTLTMLARLASAASFFGENHLEVPVATALTDIDLQL QFSTSQPEALLLLAAGPADHLLLQLYSGRLQVRLVLGQEELRLQTPAETLLSDSIPHTVV LTVVEGWATLSVDGFLNASSAVPGAPLEVPYGLFVGGTGTLGLPYLRGTSRPLRGCLHA ATLNGRSLLRPLTPDVHEGCAEEFSASDDVALGFSGPHSLAAFPAWGTQDEGTLEFTLT TQSRQAPLAFQAGGRRGDFIYVDIFEGHLRAVVEKGQGTVLLHNSVPVADGQPHEVSV HINAHRLEISVDQYPTHTSNRGVLSYLEPRGSLLLGGLDAEASRHLQEHRLGLTPEATNA SLLGCMEDLSVNGQRRGLREALLTRNMAAGCRLEEEEYEDDAYGHYEAFSTLAPEAWP AMELPEPCVPEPGLPPVFANFTQLLTISPLVVAEGGTAWLEWRHVQPTLDLMEAELRKS QVLFSVTRGARHGELELDIPGAQARKMFTLLDVVNRKARFIHDGSEDTSDQLVLEVSVT ARVPMPSCLRRGQTYLLPIQVNPVNDPPHIIFPHGSLMVILEHTQKPLGPEVFQAYDPDS ACEGLTFQVLGTSSGLPVERRDQPGEPATEFSCRELEAGSLVYVHRGGPAQDLTFRVSD GLQASPPATLKVVAIRPAIQIHRSTGLRLAQGSAMPILPANLSVETNAVGQDVSVLERVT GALQFGELQKQGAGGVEGAEWWATQAFHQRDVEQGRVRYLSTDPQHHAYDTVENLA LEVQVGQEILSNLSFPVTIQRATVWMLRLEPLHTQNTQQETLTTAHLEATLEEAGPSPPT FHYEVVQAPRKGNLQLQGTRLSDGQGFTQDDIQAGRVTYGATARASEAVEDTFRFRVT APPYFSPLYTFPIHIGGDPDAPVLTNVLLVVPEGGEGVLSADHLFVKSLNSASYLYEVME RPRHGRLAWRGTQDKTTMVTSFTNEDLLRGRLVYQHDDSETTEDDIPFVATRQGESSG DMAWEEVRGVFRVAIQPVNDHAPVQTISRIFHVARGGRRLLTTDDVAFSDADSGFADA QLVLTRKDLLFGSIVAVDEPTRPIYRFTQEDLRKRRVLFVHSGADRGWIQLQVSDGQHQ ATALLEVQASEPYLRVANGSSLVVPQGGQGTIDTAVLHLDTNLDIRSGDEVHYHVTAGP RWGQLVRAGQPATAFSQQDLLDGAVLYSHNGSLSPRDTMAFSVEAGPVHTDATLQVTI ALEGPLAPLKLVRHKKIYVFQGEAAEIRRDQLEAAQEAVPPADIVFSVKSPPSAGYLVM VSRGALADEPPSLDPVQSFSQEAVDTGRVLYLHSRPEAWSDAFSLDVASGLGAPLEGVL VELEVLPAAIPLEAQNFSVPEGGSLTLAPPLLRVSGPYFPTLLGLSLQVLEPPQHGALQKE DGPQARTLSAFSWRMVEEQLIRYVHDGSETLTDSFVLMANASEMDRQSHPVAFTVTVL PVNDQPPILTTNTGLQMWEGATAPIPAEALRSTDGDSGSEDLVYTIEQPSNGRVVLRGAP GTEVRSFTQAQLDGGLVLFSHRGTLDGGFRFRLSDGEHTSPGHFFRVTAQKQVLLSLKG SQTLTVCPGSVQPLSSQTLRASSSAGTDPQLLLYRVVRGPQLGRLFHAQQDSTGEALVN FTQAEVYAGNILYEHEMPPEPFWEAHDTLELQLSSPPARDVAATLAVAVSFEAACPQRP SHLWKNKGLWVPEGQRARITVAALDASNLLASVPSPQRSEHDVLFQVTQFPSRGQLLVS EEPLHAGQPHFLQSQLAAGQLVYAHGGGGTQQDGFHFRAHLQGPAGASVAGPQTSEAF AITVRDVNERPPQPQASVPLRLTRGSRAPISRAQLSVVDPDSAPGEIEYEVQRAPHNGFLS LVGGGLGPVTRFTQADVDSGRLAFVANGSSVAGIFQLSMSDGASPPLPMSLAVDILPSAI EVQLRAPLEVPQALGRSSLSQQQLRVVSDREEPEAAYRLIQGPQYGHLLVGGRPTSAFS QFQIDQGEVVFAFTNFSSSHDHFRVLALARGVNASAVVNVTVRALLHVWAGGPWPQG ATLRLDPTVLDAGELANRTGSVPRFRLLEGPRHGRVVRVPRARTEPGGSQLVEQFTQQD LEDGRLGLEVGRPEGRAPGPAGDSLTLELWAQGVPPAVASLDFATEPYNAARPYSVAL LSVPEAARTEAGKPESSTPTGEPGPMASSPEPAVAKGGFLSFLEANMFSVIIPMCLVLLLL ALILPLLFYLRKRNKTGKHDVQVLTAKPRNGLAGDTETFRKVEPGQAIPLTAVPGQGPP PGGQPDPELLQFCRTPNPALKNGQYWV (SEQ ID No: 19). In another embodiment, an HMW-MAA AA sequence of methods and compositions as provided herein comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID No: 19. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA AA sequence is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 19. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA AA sequence is a variant of SEQ ID No: 19. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA AA sequence is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 19. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA AA sequence is an isoform of SEQ ID No: 19. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein of methods and compositions as provided herein is encoded by the sequence:

atgcagtccggccgcggccccccacttccagcccccggcctggccttggctttgaccctgactatgttggccagacttgcatc cgcggcttccttcttcggtgagaaccacctggaggtgcctgtggccacggctctgaccgacatagacctgcagctgcagttctccacgtccc agcccgaagccctccttctcctggcagcaggcccagctgaccacctcctgctgcagctctactctggacgcctgcaggtcagacttgttctg ggccaggaggagctgaggctgcagactccagcagagacgctgctgagtgactccatcccccacactgtggtgctgactgtcgtagaggg ctgggccacgttgtcagtcgatgggtttctgaacgcctcctcagcagtcccaggagcccccctagaggtcccctatgggctctttgttgggg gcactgggacccttggcctgccctacctgaggggaaccagccgacccctgaggggttgcctccatgcagccaccctcaatggccgcagc ctcctccggcctctgacccccgatgtgcatgagggctgtgctgaagagttnctgccagtgatgatgtggccctgggcnctctgggccccac tctctggctgccttccctgcctggggcactcaggacgaaggaaccctagagtttacactcaccacacagagccggcaggcacccttggcct tccaggcagggggccggcgtggggacttcatctatgtggacatatttgagggccacctgcgggccgtggtggagaagggccagggtacc gtattgctccacaacagtgtgcctgtggccgatgggcagccccatgaggtcagtgtccacatcaatgctcaccggctggaaatctccgtgga ccagtaccctacgcatacttcgaaccgaggagtcctcagctacctggagccacggggcagtctccttctcggggggctggatgcagaggc ctctcgtcacctccaggaacaccgcctgggcctgacaccagaggccaccaatgcctccctgctgggctgcatggaagacctcagtgtcaat ggccagaggcgggggctgcgggaagctttgctgacgcgcaacatggcagccggctgcaggctggaggaggaggagtatgaggacga tgcctatggacattatgaagctttctccaccctggcccctgaggcttggccagccatggagctgcctgagccatgcgtgcctgagccaggg ctgcctcctgtctttgccaatttcacccagctgctgactatcagcccactggtggtggccgaggggggcacagcctggcttgagtggaggca tgtgcagcccacgctggacctgatggaggctgagctgcgcaaatcccaggtgctgttcagcgtgacccgaggggcacgccatggcgagc tcgagctggacatcccgggagcccaggcacgaaaaatgttcaccctcctggacgtggtgaaccgcaaggcccgcttcatccacgatggct ctgaggacacctccgaccagctggtgctggaggtgtcggtgacggctcgggtgcccatgccctcatgccttcggaggggccaaacatacc tcctgcccatccaggtcaaccctgtcaatgacccaccccacatcatcttcccacatggcagcctcatggtgatcctggaacacacgcagaag ccgctggggcctgaggttttccaggcctatgacccggactctgcctgtgagggcctcaccttccaggtccttggcacctcctctggcctccc cgtggagcgccgagaccagcctggggagccggcgaccgagttctcctgccgggagttggaggccggcagcctagtctatgtccaccgc ggtggtcctgcacaggacttgacgttccgggtcagcgatggactgcaggccagccccccggccacgctgaaggtggtggccatccggcc ggccatacagatccaccgcagcacagggttgcgactggcccaaggctctgccatgcccatcttgcccgccaacctgtcggtggagaccaa tgccgttggggcaggatgtgagcgtgctgttccgcgtcactggggcctgcagttggggagctgcagaagcagggggcaggtggggtg gaggtgctgagtggtgggccacacaggcgttccaccagcggggatgtggagcagggccgcgtgaggtacctgagcactgacccacag caccacgcttacgacaccgtggagaaccttggccctggaggtgcaggtgggccaggagatcctgagcaatctgtccttccagtgaccatc cagagagccactgtgtggatgctgcggctggagccactgcacactcagaacacccagcaggagaccctcaccacagccacctggagg ccaccctggaggaggcaggcccaagcccccaaccttccattatgaggtggttcaggctccaggaaaggcaaccttcaactacagggc acaaggctgtcagatggccagggcttcacccaggatgacatacaggctggccgggtgacctatggggccacagcagtgcctcagagg cagtcgaggacaccttccgttccgtgcacagctccaccatattctcccactctatcacccatccacattggtggtgaccagatgcg cctgtcctcaccaatgtcctcctcgtggtgcctgagggtggtgagggtgtcctctctgctgaccaccttgtcaagagtctcaacagtgcca tctacctctatgaggtcatggagcggccccgccatgggaggttggcttggcgtgggacacaggacaagaccatatggtgacatcattca ccaatgaagacctgttgcgtggccggctggtctaccagcatgatgactccgagaccacagaagatgatatccattgttgctaccgccag ggcgagagcagtggtgacatggcctgggaggaggtacggggtcttccgagtggccattccagcccgtgaatgaccacgccctgtga gaccatcagccggatcttccatgtggccggggtgggcggcggctgctgactacagacgacgtggcttcagcgatgctgactcggctt tgctgacgccagctggtgcttaccgcaaggacctctcttggagtacgtggccgtagatgagccacgcggccatctaccgcttca ccaggaggacctcaggaagaggcgagtactgttcgtgcactcaggggctgaccgtggctggatccagctgcggtgtccgacgggca acaccaggccactgcgctgctggaggtgcaggcctcggaacctactccgtgtggccaaggctccaagccttgtggtccctcaagggg gccaggcaccatcgacacggccgtgctccacctggacaccaactcgactccgcagtggggatgaggtccataccagtcacagct ggccctcgctggggacagctagtccgggctggtcagccagccacagccttctcccagcggacctgctggatggggccgttctatagc cacaatggcagcctcgccccgcgacaccatggccttctccgtggaaggcagggccagtgcacacggatgccaccctacaagtgaccat tgccctagagggccactggcccactgaagctggtccggcacaagaagatctacgtcttccagggagaggcagctgagatcagaaggg accagctggaggcagcccaggaggcagtgccacctgcagatcgtattctcagtgaagagccaccgagtgccggctacctggtgatg gtgtcgcgtggcgccttggcagatgagccaccagcctggaccctgtgcagagcttctcccaggaggcagtggacacaggcagggtcct gtacctgcactcccgccctgaggcctggagcgatgccttctcgctggatgtggcctcaggcctgggtgctcccctcgagggcgtccttgtg gagctggaggtgctgcccgctgccatcccactagaggcgcaaaacttcagcgtccctgagggtggcagcctcaccctggcccctccactg ctccgtgtctccgggccctacttccccactctcctgggcctcagcctgcaggtgctggagccaccccagcatggagccctgcagaaggag gacggacctcaagccagggaccctcagcgccttctcctggagaatggtggaagagcagctgatccgctacgtgcatgacgggagcgagac actgacagacagtttgtcctgatggctaatgcctccgagatggatcgccagagccatcctgtggccttcactgtcactgccgcctgtcaat gaccaacccccatcctcactacaaacacaggcctgcagatgtgggaggggccatgcgccatccctgcggaggctctgaggagca cggacggcgactctgggtctgaggatctggtctacaccatgagcagcccagcaagggcgggtagtgctgcgggggcgccgggca ctgaggtgcgcagcttcacgcaggcccagctggacggcgggctcgtgctgttctcacacagaggaaccctggatggaggcttccgcttcc gcctctctgacggcgagcacacttccccggacacttcttccgagtgacggcccagaagcaagtgctcctctcgctgaagggcagccaga cactgactgtctgcccagggtccgtccagccactcagcagtcagaccctcagggccagctccagcgcaggcactgaccccagctcctg ctctaccgtgtggtgcggggcccccagctaggccggctgttccacgcccagcaggacagcaaggggaggccctggtgaacttcactca ggcagaggtctacgctgggaatattctgtatgagcatgagatgccccccgagccttttgggaggcccatgataccctagagctccagctgt cctcgccgcctgcccgggacgtggccgccacccttgctgtggctgtgtcttttgaggctgcctgtcccagcgcccagccacctctggaa gaacaaaggtctctgggtccccgagggccagcgggccaggatcaccgtggctgctctggatgcctccaatctcttggccagcgttccatca ccccagcgctcagagcatgatgtgctcttccaggtcacacagttccccagccggggccagctgttggtgtccgaggagcccctccatgctg ggcagccccacttcctgcagtcccagctggctgcagggcagctagtgtatgcccacggcggtgggggcacccagcaggatggcttccac tttcgtgcccacctccaggggccagcaggggcctccgtggctggaccccaaacctcagaggcctttgccatcacggtgagggatgtaaat gagcggccccctcagccacaggcctctgtcccactccggctcacccgaggctctcgtgcccccatctcccgggcccagctgagtgtggtg gacccagactcagctcctggggagattgagtacgaggtccagcgggcaccccacaacggcttcctcagcctggtgggtggtggcctggg gcccgtgacccgcttcacgcaagccgatgtggattcagggcggctggccttcgtggccaacgggagcagcgtggcaggcatcttccagc tgagcatgtctgatggggccagcccacccctgcccatgtccctggctgtggacatcctaccatccgccatcgaggtgcagctgcgggcac ccctggaggtgccccaagctttggggcgctcctcactgagccagcagcagctccgggtggtttcagatcgggaggagccagaggcagca taccgcctcatccagggaccccagtatgggcatctcctggtgggcgggcggcccacctcggccttcagccaattccagatagaccagggc gaggtggtctttgccttcaccaacttctcctcctctcatgaccacttcagagtcctggcactggctaggggtgtcaatgcatcagccgtagtga acgtcactgtgagggctctgctgcatgtgtgggcaggtgggccatggccccagggtgccaccctgcgcctggaccccaccgtcctagatg ctggcgagctggccaaccgcacaggcagtgtgccgcgcttccgcctcctggagggaccccggcatggccgcgtggtccgcgtgccccg agccaggacggagcccgggggcagccagctggtggagcagttcactcagcaggaccttgaggacgggaggctggggctggaggtgg gcaggccagaggggagggcccccggccccgcaggtgacagtctcactctggagctgtgggcacagggcgtcccgcctgctgtggcctc cctggactttgccactgagccttacaatgctgcccggccctacagcgtggccctgctcagtgtccccgaggccgcccggacggaagcagg gaagccagagagcagcacccccacaggcgagccaggccccatggcatccagccctgagcccgctgtggccaagggaggcttcctgag cttccttgaggccaacatgttcagcgtcatcatccccatgtgcctggtacttctgctcctggcgctcatcctgcccctgctcttctacctccgaaa acgcaacaagacgggcaagcatgacgtccaggtcctgactgccaagccccgcaacggcctggctggtgacaccgagacattcgcaag gtggagccaggccaggccatcccgctcacagctgtgcctggccaggggccccctccaggaggccagcctgacccagagctgctgcagt tctgccggacacccaaccctgcccttaagaatggccagtactgggtgtgaggcctggcctgggcccagatgctgatcgggccagggaca ggc (SEQ ID No: 20). In another embodiment, the recombinant nucleotide has the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 20. In another embodiment, an HMW-MAA-encoding nucleotide of methods and compositions as provided herein comprises the sequence set forth in SEQ ID No: 20. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA-encoding nucleotide is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 20. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA-encoding nucleotide is a variant of SEQ ID No: 20. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA-encoding nucleotide is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 20. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA-encoding nucleotide is an isoform of SEQ ID No: 20. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein of methods and compositions as provided herein has an AA sequence set forth in a GenBank entry having an Accession Numbers selected from NM001897 and X96753. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is encoded by a nucleotide sequence set forth in one of the above GenBank entries. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein comprises a sequence set forth in one of the above GenBank entries. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is a homologue of a sequence set forth in one of the above GenBank entries. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is a variant of a sequence set forth in one of the above GenBank entries. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is a fragment of a sequence set forth in one of the above GenBank entries. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA protein is an isoform of a sequence set forth in one of the above GenBank entries. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

The HMW-MAA fragment utilized in the present invention comprises, in another embodiment, AA 360-554. In another embodiment, the fragment consists essentially of AA 360-554. In another embodiment, the fragment consists of AA 360-554. In another embodiment, the fragment comprises AA 701-1130. In another embodiment, the fragment consists essentially of AA 701-1130. In another embodiment, the fragment consists of AA 701-1130. In another embodiment, the fragment comprises AA 2160-2258. In another embodiment, the fragment consists essentially of 2160-2258. In another embodiment, the fragment consists of 2160-2258. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria of the compositions and methods as provided herein comprise a plasmid that encodes a recombinant polypeptide that is, in one embodiment, angiogenic, and in another embodiment, antigenic. In one embodiment, the polypeptide is HMW-MAA, and in another embodiment, the polypeptide is a HMW-MAA fragment. In another embodiment, the plasmid further encodes a non-HMW-MAA peptide. In one embodiment, the non-HMW-MAA peptide enhances the immunogenicity of the polypeptide. In one embodiment, the HMW-MAA fragment of methods and compositions as provided herein is fused to the non-HMW-MAA AA sequence. In another embodiment, the HMW-MAA fragment is embedded within the non-HMW-MAA AA sequence. In another embodiment, an HMW-MAA-derived peptide is incorporated into an LLO fragment, ActA protein or fragment, or PEST-like sequence. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

The non-HMW-MAA peptide is, in one embodiment, a listeriolysin (LLO) oligopeptide. In another embodiment, the non-HMW-MAA peptide is an ActA oligopeptide. In another embodiment, the non-HMW-MAA peptide is a PEST-like oligopeptide. In one embodiment, fusion to LLO, ActA, PEST-like sequences and fragments thereof enhances the cell-mediated immunogenicity of antigens. In one embodiment, fusion to LLO, ActA, PEST-like sequences and fragments thereof enhances the cell-mediated immunogenicity of antigens in a variety of expression systems. In another embodiment, the non-HMW-MAA peptide is any other immunogenic non-HMW-MAA peptide known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain of the compositions and methods as provided herein express a heterologous antigenic polypeptide that is expressed by a tumor cell. In one embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain of the compositions and methods as provided herein comprise a first or second nucleic acid molecule that encodes a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which in one embodiment, is a marker for prostate cancer that is highly expressed by prostate tumors, which in one embodiment is the most frequent type of cancer in American men and, in another embodiment, is the second cause of cancer related death in American men. In one embodiment, PSA is a kallikrein serine protease (KLK3) secreted by prostatic epithelial cells, which in one embodiment, is widely used as a marker for prostate cancer.

In one embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain as provided herein comprises a nucleic acid molecule encoding KLK3 protein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence:

MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGG VLVHPQWVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFL RPGDDSSHDLMLLRLSEPAELTDAVKVMDLPTQEPALGTTCYASGWGSIEPEEFLTPKK LQCVDLHVISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLVCNGVLQGITS WGSEPCALPERPSLYTKVVHYRKWIKDTIVANP (SEQ ID No: 21; GenBank Accession No. CAA32915). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 21. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 21. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 21. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 21. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence:

IVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQWVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLG RHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSSHDLMLLRLSEPAELTDA VKVMDLPTQEPALGTTCYASGWGSIEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLHVISNDVCAQVHPQKVTK FMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLVCYGVLQGITSWGSEPCALPERPSLYTKVVHYRKW IKDTIVANP (SEQ ID No: 22). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 22. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 22. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 22. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 22. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: IVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQWVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFH PEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSSHDLMLLRLSEPAELTDAVKVMDL PTQEPALGTTCYASGWGSIEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLHVISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAG RWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLVCNGVLQGITSWGSEPCALPERPSLYTKVVHYRKWIKDTIVA NP (SEQ ID No: 23; GenBank Accession No. AAA59995.1). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 23. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 23. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 23. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 23. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a nucleotide molecule having the sequence: ggtgtcttaggcacactggtcttggagtgcaaaggatctaggcacgtgaggctttgtatgaagaatcggggatcgtacccaccccctgtttct gtttcatcctgggcatgtctcctctgcctttgtcccctagatgaagtctccatgagctacaagggcctggtgcatccagggtgatctagtaattg cagaacagcaagtgctagctctccctccccttccacagctctgggtgtgggagggggttgtccagcctccagcagcatggggagggcctt ggtcagcctctgggtgccagcagggcaggggcggagtcctggggaatgaaggttttatagggctcctgggggaggctccccagcccca agcttaccacctgcacccggagagctgtgtcaccatgtgggtcccggttgtcttcctcaccctgtccgtgacgtggattggtgagaggggcc atggttggggggatgcaggagagggagccagccctgactgtcaagctgaggctctttcccccccaacccagcaccccagcccagacag ggagctgggctatttctgtctctcccagccccacttcaagcccatacccccagtcccctccatattgcaacagtcctcactcccacaccaggt ccccgctccctcccacttaccccagaactttcttcccatttgcccagccagctccctgctcccagctgctttactaaaggggaagttcctgggc atctccgtgtttctctttgtggggctcaaaacctccaaggacctctctcaatgccattggttccttggaccgtatcactggtccatctcctgagcc cctcaatcctatcacagtctactgacttttcccattcagctgtgagtgtccaaccctatcccagagaccttgatgcttggcctcccaatcttgccc taggatacccagatgccaaccagacacctccttattcctagccaggctatctggcctgagacaacaaatgggtccctcagtctggcaatgg gactctgagaactcctcattccctgactcttagccccagactatcattcagtggcccacattaccttaggaaaaacatgagcatccccagcca caactgccagctctctgagtccccaaatctgcatccattcaaaacctaaaaacaaaaagaaaaacaaataaaacaaaaccaactcagacca gaactgattctcaacctgggacttcctaaactaccaaaaccacctatccagcaactgaacctcgccataaggcacttatccctggacctag caccccttatcccctcagaatccacaacttgtaccaagtaccatctcccagtccaagaccccaaatcaccacaaaggacccaatccccaga ctcaagatatggtctgggcgctgtcagtgtctcctaccctgatccctgggttcaactctgctcccagagcatgaagcctctccaccagcacca gccaccaacctgcaaacctagggaagattgacagaattcccagccatcccagctccccctgcccatgtcccaggactcccagccaggttc tctgcccccgtgtatttcaaacccacatcctaaatccatctcctatccgagtcccccagaccccctgtcaaccctgattcccctgatctagcac cccctctgcaggcgctgcgcccctcatcctgtctcggattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaagcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtg gcctctcgtggcagggcagtctgcggcggtgactggtgcacccccagtgggtcctcacagctgcccactgcatcaggaagtgagtaggg gcctggggtctggggagcaggtgtctgtgtcccagaggaataacagctgggcattaccccaggataacctctaaggccagccagggact gggggagagagggaaagttctggttcaggtcacatggggaggcagggttggggctggaccaccctccccatggctgcctgggtctccat ctgtgtccctctatgtctctagtgtcgattcattatgtctcaggtaactggcttcggagtgtctctccgtgtgactattagactctctctccctctc actctgtcttcagtctccatatctccccctctctctgtccactctggtccctctctagccagtgtgtctcaccctgtatctctctgccaggctctgtc tctcggtctctgtctcacctgtgccactccctactgaacacacgcacgggatgggcctgggggaccctgagaaaaggaagggctaggctg ggcgcggtggctcacacctgtaatcccagcactttgggaggccaaggcaggtagatcacctgaggtcaggagttcgagaccagcctggc caactggtgaaaccccatctctactaaaaatacaaaaaattagccaggcgtggtggcgcatgcctgtagtcccagctactcaggagctgag ggaggagaattgcattgaacctggaggagaggagcagtgagccgagaccgtgccactgcactccagcctgggtgacagagtgagactc cgcctcaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagaaaagaaaagaaaagaaaaggaagtgttttatccctgatgtgtgtgggtatga gggtatgagagggcccctctcactccattccactccaggacatccctccactcagggagacacagagaagggctggaccagctggagct gggaggggcaattgagggaggaggaaggagaagggggaaggaaaacagggtatgggggaaaggaccctggggagcgaagtggag gatacaaccagggcctgcaggcaggctacctacccacttggaaacccacgccaaagccgcatctacagctgagccactctgaggcctcc cctccccggcggtccccactcagctccaaagtctctctccatactctcccacactttatcatcccccggattcctctctacttggactcattctt cattgacttcctgatccctactcattcatctgatctcactactgcctggattgacttctctctctcatctctggcccatgtctgatctctatgatc tgtatactactcatcctgtgtattacggctcaccagtagtcactgactcccctctgccattcattctctctgccatttaccctatccattccctt ggactctcagactgtatctgccatcaccctctcacactgctgatcccaactcgagtctgtattaggcctgaactgtgtatcccaaccctgtg ttactcactgatattactataggagcctcctccttgctcctctgtccatctctattccttatcatcctcgctcctcattcctgcgtctgcttcctc cccagcaaaagcgtgatcttgctgggtcggcacagcctgatcatcctgaagacacaggccaggtatttcaggtcagccacagatcccaca cccgctctacgatatgagcctcctgaagaatcgattcctcaggccaggtgatgactccagccacgacctcatgctgctccgcctgtcagagc ctgccgagctcacggatgctgtgaaggtcatggacctgcccacccaggagccagcactggggaccacctgctacgcctcaggctggggc agcattgaaccagaggagtgtacgcctgggccagatggtgcagccgggagcccagatgcctgggtctgagggaggaggggacaggac tcctgggtctgagggaggagggccaaggaaccaggtggggtccagcccacaacagtgatttgcctggcccgtagtcttgaccccaaaga aacttcagtgtgtggacctccatgttataccaatgacgtgtgtgcgcaagttcaccctcagaaggtgaccaagttcatgctgtgtgctggacg ctggacagggggcaaaagcacctgctcggtgagtcatccctactcccaagatcttgagggaaaggtgagtgggaccttaattctgggctgg ggtctagaagccaacaaggcgtctgcctcccctgctccccagctgtagccatgccacctccccgtgtctcatctcattccctccaccctcact ttgactccctcaaggcaataggttattcttacagcacaactcatctgttcctgcgttcagcacacggttactaggcacctgctatgcacccagca ctgccctagagcctgggacatagcagtgaacagacagagagcagcccctcccttctgtagcccccaagccagtgaggggcacaggcag gaacagggaccacaacacagaaaagctggagggtgtcaggaggtgatcaggctctcggggagggagaaggggtggggagtgtgactg ggaggagacatcctgcagaaggtgggagtgagcaaacacctgcgcaggggaggggagggcctgcggcacctgggggagcagaggg aacagcatctggccaggcctgggaggaggggcctagagggcgtcaggagcagagaggaggdgcctggctggagtgaaggatcggg gcagggtgcgagagggaacaaaggacccctcctgcagggcctcacctgggccacaggaggacactgcttttcctctgaggagtcagga actgtggatggtgctggacagaagcaggacagggcctggctcaggtgtccagaggctgcgctggcctcctatgggatcagactgcaggg agggagggcagcagggatgtggagggagtgatgatggggctgacctgggggtggctccaggcattgtccccacctgggcccttaccca gcctccctcacaggctcctggccctcagtctctcccctccactccattctccacctacccacagtgggtcattctgatcaccgaactgaccatg ccagccctgccgatggtcctccatggctccctagtgccctggagaggaggtgtctagtcagagagtagtcctggaaggtggcctctgtgag gagccacggggacagcatcctgcagatggtcctggcccttgtcccaccgacctgtctacaaggactgtcctcgtggaccctcccctctgca caggagctggaccctgaagtcccttcctaccggccaggactggagcccctacccctctgttggaatccctgcccaccttcttctggaagtcg gctctggagacatttctctcttcttccaaagctgggaactgctatctgttatctgcctgtccaggtctgaaagataggattgcccaggcagaaac tgggactgacctatctcactctctccctgcttttacccttagggtgattctgggggcccacttgtctgtaatggtgtgcttcaaggtatcacgtcat ggggcagtgaaccatgtgccctgcccgaaaggccttccctgtacaccaaggtggtgcattaccggaagtggatcaaggacaccatcgtgg ccaacccctgagcacccctatcaagtccctattgtagtaaacttggaacchggaaatgaccaggccaagactcaagcctccccagttctact gacctttgtccttaggtgtgaggtccagggttgctaggaaaagaaatcagcagacacaggtgtagaccagagtgtttcttaaatggtgtaattt tgtcctctctgtgtcctggggaatactggccatgcctggagacatatcactcaatttctctgaggacacagttaggatggggtgtctgtgttattt gtgggatacagagatgaaagaggggtgggatcc (SEQ ID No: 22; GenBank Accession No. X14810). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by residues 401 . . . 446, 1688 . . . 1847, 3477 . . . 3763, 3907 . . . 4043, and 5413 . . . 5568 of SEQ ID No: 24. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a homologue of SEQ ID No: 24. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variant of SEQ ID No: 24. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by an isomer of SEQ ID No: 24. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a fragment of SEQ ID No: 24. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSS HDLMLLRLSEPAELTDAVKVMDLPTQEPALGTTCYASGWGSIEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLH VISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSWVILITELTMPALPMVLHGSLVPWR GGV (SEQ ID No: 25; GenBank Accession No. NP001025218) In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 25. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 25. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 25. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 25. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a nucleotide molecule having the sequence: agccccaagcttaccacctgcacccggagagctgtgtcaccatgtgggtcccggttgtcttcctcaccctgtccgtgacgtggattggtgctg cacccctcatcctgtctcggattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaagcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtggcctctcgtggcagggc agtctgcggcggtgttctggtgcacccccagtgggtcctcacagctgcccactgcatcaggaacaaaagcgtgatcttgctgggtcggcac agcctgtttcatcctgaagacacaggccaggtatttcaggtcagccacagcttcccacacccgctctacgatatgagcctcctgaagaatcg attcctcaggccaggtgatgactccagccacgacctcatgctgctccgcctgtcagagcctgccgagctcacggatgctgtgaaggtcatg gacctgcccacccaggagccagcactggggaccacctgctacgcctcaggctggggcagcattgaaccagaggagttcttgaccccaaa gaaacttcagtgtgtggacctccatgttatttccaatgacgtgtgtgcgcaagttcaccctcagaaggtgaccaagttcatgctgtgtgctgga cgctggacagggggcaaaagcacctgctcgtgggtcattctgatcaccgaactgaccatgccagccctgccgatggtcctccatggctccc tagtgccctggagaggaggtgtctagtcagagagtagtcctggaaggtggcctctgtgaggagccacggggacagcatcctgcagatggt cctggcccttgtcccaccgacctgtctacaaggactgtcctcgtggaccctcccctctgcacaggagctggaccctgaagtcccttccccac cggccaggactggagcccctacccctctgttggaatccctgcccaccttcttctggaagtcggctctggagacatttctctcttcttccaaagct gggaactgctatctgttatctgcctgtccaggtctgaaagataggattgcccaggcagaaactgggactgacctatctcactctctccctgcttt tacccttagggtgattctgggggcccacttgtctgtaatggtgtgcttcaaggtatcacgtcatggggcagtgaaccatgtgccctgcccgaa aggccttccctgtacaccaaggtggtgcattaccggaagtggatcaaggacaccatcgtggccaacccctgagcacccctatcaaccccct attgtagtaaacttggaaccttggaaatgaccaggccaagactcaagcctccccagttctactgacctttgtccttaggtgtgaggtccagggt tgctaggaaaagaaatcagcagacacaggtgtagaccagagtgtttcttaaatggtgtaattttgtcctctctgtgtcctggggaatactggcc atgcctggagacatatcactcaatttctctgaggacacagataggatggggtgtctgtgttatttgtggggtacagagatgaaagaggggtgg gatccacactgagagagtggagagtgacatgtgctggacactgtccatgaagcactgagcagaagctggaggcacaacgcaccagaca ctcacagcaaggatggagctgaaaacataacccactctgtcctggaggcactgggaagcctagagaaggctgtgagccaaggagggag ggtcttcctttggcatgggatggggatgaagtaaggagagggactggaccccctggaagctgattcactatggggggaggtgtattgaagt cctccagacaaccctcagatttgatgatttcctagtagaactcacagaaataaagagctgttatactgtg (SEQ ID No: 26; GenBank Accession No. NM001030047). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by residues 42-758 of SEQ ID No: 26. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a homologue of SEQ ID No: 26. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variant of SEQ ID No: 26. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by an isomer of SEQ ID No: 26. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a fragment of SEQ ID No: 26. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRK (SEQ ID No: 27; GenBank Accession No. NP001025221). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 27. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 27. In another embodiment, the sequence of the KLK3 protein comprises SEQ ID No: 27. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 27. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 27. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a nucleotide molecule having the sequence: agccccaagcttaccacctgcacccggagagctgtgtcaccatgtgggtcccggttgtcttcctcacccttccgtgacgtggattggtgctgc acccctcatcctgtctcggattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaagcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtggcctctcgtggcagggca gtctgcggcggtgttctggtgcacccccagtgggtcctcacagctgcccactgcatcaggaagtgagtaggggcctggggtctggggagc aggtgtctgtgtcccagaggaataacagctgggcattttccccaggataacctctaaggccagccttgggactgggggagagagggaaag ttctggttcaggtcacatggggaggcagggttggggctggaccaccctccccatggctgcctgggtctccatctgtgttcctctatgtctctttg tgtcgctttcattatgtctcttggtaactggcttcggttgtgtctctccgtgtgactattttgttctctctctccctctcttctctgtcttcagt (SEQ ID No: 28; GenBank Accession No. NM001030050). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by residues 42-758 of SEQ ID No: 28. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a homologue of SEQ ID No: 28. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variant of SEQ ID No: 28. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by an isomer of SEQ ID No: 28. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a fragment of SEQ ID No: 28. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein that is the source of the KLK3 peptide has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSS IEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLHVISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLV CNGVLQGITSWGSEPCALPERPSLYTKVVHYRKWIKDTIVANP (SEQ ID No: 29; GenBank Accession No. NP001025220). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 29. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 29. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 29. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 29. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a nucleotide molecule having the sequence: agccccaagcttaccacctgcacccggagagctgtgtcaccatgtgggtcccggttgtcttcctcaccctgtccgtgacgtggattggtgctg cacccctcatcctgtctcggattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaagcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtggcctctcgtggcagggc agtctgcggcggtgttctggtgcacccccagtgggtcctcacagctgcccactgcatcaggaacaaaagcgtgatcttgctgggtcggcac agcctgtttcatcctgaagacacaggccaggtatttcaggtcagccacagcttcccacacccgctctacgatatgagcctcctgaagaatcg attcctcaggccaggtgatgactccagcattgaaccagaggagttcttgaccccaaagaaacttcagtgtgtggacctccatgttatttccaat gacgtgtgtgcgcaagttcaccctcagaaggtgaccaagttcatgctgtgtgctggacgctggacagggggcaaaagcacctgctcgggt gattctgggggcccacttgtctgtaatggtgtgcttcaaggtatcacgtcatggggcagtgaaccatgtgccctgcccgaaaggccttccctg tacaccaaggtggtgcattaccggaagtggatcaaggacaccatcgtggccaacccctgagcacccctatcaaccccctattgtagtaaact tggaaccttggaaatgaccaggccaagactcaagcctccccagttctactgacctttgtccttaggtgtgaggtccagggttgctaggaaaa gaaatcagcagacacaggtgtagaccagagtgtttcttaaatggtgtaattttgtcctctctgtgtcctggggaatactggccatgcctggaga catatcactcaatttctctgaggacacagataggatggggtgtctgtgttatttgtggggtacagagatgaaagaggggtgggatccacactg agagagtggagagtgacatgtgctggacactgtccatgaagcactgagcagaagctggaggcacaacgcaccagacactcacagcaag gatggagctgaaaacataacccactctgtcctggaggcactgggaagcctagagaaggctgtgagccaaggagggagggtcttcctttgg catgggatggggatgaagtaaggagagggactggaccccctggaagctgattcactatggggggaggtgtattgaagtcctccagacaac cctcagatttgatgatttcctagtagaactcacagaaataaagagctgttatactgtg (SEQ ID No: 30; GenBank Accession No. NM001030049). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by residues 42-758 of SEQ ID No: 30. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a homologue of SEQ ID No: 30. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variant of SEQ ID No: 30. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by an isomer of SEQ ID No: 30. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a fragment of SEQ ID No: 30. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRKPGDDSSHDLMLLRLSEPAELTDAVKVMDLPTQEPALGTTCYASGWGS IEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLHVISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLV CNGVLQGITSWGSEPCALPERPSLYTKVVHYRKWIKDTIVANP (SEQ ID No: 31; GenBank Accession No. NP001025219). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 31. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 31. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 31. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 31. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a nucleotide molecule having the sequence: agccccaagcttaccacctgcacccggagagctgtgtcaccatgtgggtcccggttgtcttcctcaccctgtccgtgacgtggattggtgctg cacccctcatcctgtctcggattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaagcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtggcctctcgtggcagggc agtctgcggcggtgttctggtgcacccccagtgggtcctcacagctgcccactgcatcaggaagccaggtgatgactccagccacgacct catgctgctccgcctgtcagagcctgccgagctcacggatgctgtgaaggtcatggacctgcccacccaggagccagcactggggacca cctgctacgcctcaggctggggcagcattgaaccagaggagttcttgaccccaaagaaacttcagtgtgtggacctccatgttatttccaatg acgtgtgtgcgcaagttcaccctcagaaggtgaccaagttcatgctgtgtgctggacgctggacagggggcaaaagcacctgctcgggtg attctgggggcccacttgtctgtaatggtgtgcttcaaggtatcacgtcatggggcagtgaaccatgtgccctgcccgaaaggccttccctgt acaccaaggtggtgcattacccaaggacaccatcgtggccaacccctgagcacccctatcaaccccctattgtagtaaacttggaaccttgg aaatgaccaggccaagactcaagcctccccagttctactgacctttgtccttaggtgtgaggtccagggttgctaggaaaagaaatcagcag acacaggtgtagaccagagtgatcttaaatggtgtaattngtcctctctgtgtcctggggaatactggccatgcctggagacatatcactcaat ttctctgaggacacagataggatggggtgtctgtgttatttgtggggtacagagatgaaagaggggtgggatccacactgagagagtggag agtgacatgtgctggacactgtccatgaagcactgagcagaagctggaggcacaacgcaccagacactcacagcaaggatggagctgaa aacataacccactctgtcctggaggcactgggaagcctagagaaggctgtgagccaaggagggagggtcttcctttggcatgggatgggg atgaagtaaggagagggactggaccccctggaagctgattcactatggggggaggtgtattgaagtcctccagacaaccctcagatttgat gatttcctagtagaactcacagaaataaagagctgttatactgtg (SEQ ID No: 32; GenBank Accession No. NM001030048). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by residues 42-758 of SEQ ID No: 32. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a homologue of SEQ ID No: 32. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variant of SEQ ID No: 32. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by an isomer of SEQ ID No: 32. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a fragment of SEQ ID No: 32. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSS HDLMLLRLSEPAELTDAVKVMDLPTQEPALGTTCYASGWGSIEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLH VISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLVCNGVLQGITSWGSEPCA LPERPSLYTKVVHYRKWIKDTIVANP (SEQ ID No: 33; GenBank Accession No. NP001639). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 33. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 33. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 33. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 33. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a nucleotide molecule having the sequence: agccccaagcttaccacctgcacccggagagctgtgtcaccatgtgggtcccggttgtcttcctcaccctgtccgtgacgtggattggtgctg cacccctcatcctgtctcggattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaagcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtggcctctcgtggcagggc agtctgcggcggtgttctggtgcacccccagtgggtcctcacagctgcccactgcatcaggaacaaaagcgtgatcttgctgggtcggcac agcctgtttcatcctgaagacacaggccaggtatttcaggtcagccacagcttcccacacccgctctacgatatgagcctcctgaagaatcg attcctcaggccaggtgatgactccagccacgacctcatgctgctccgcctgtcagagcctgccgagctcacggatgctgtgaaggtcatg gacctgcccacccaggagccagcactggggaccacctgctacgcctcaggctggggcagcattgaaccagaggagttcttgaccccaaa gaaacttcagtgtgtggacctccatgttatttccaatgacgtgtgtgcgcaagttcaccctcagaaggtgaccaagttcatgctgtgtgctgga cgctggacagggggcaaaagcacctgctcgggtgattctgggggcccacttgtctgtaatggtgtgcttcaaggtatcacgtcatggggca gtgaaccatgtgccctgcccgaaaggccttccctgtacaccaaggtggtgcattaccggaagtggatcaaggacaccatcgtggccaacc cctgagcacccctatcaaccccctattgtagtaaacttggaaccttggaaatgaccaggccaagactcaagcctccccagttctactgaccttt gtccttaggtgtgaggtccagggttgctaggaaaagaaatcagcagacacaggtgtagaccagagtgtttcttaaatggtgtaattttgtcctc tctgtgtcctggggaatactggccatgcctggagacatatcactcaatttctctgaggacacagataggatggggtgtctgtgttatttgtggg gtacagagatgaaagaggggtgggatccacactgagagagtggagagtgacatgtgctggacactgtccatgaagcactgagcagaagc tggaggcacaacgcaccagacactcacagcaaggatggagctgaaaacataacccactctgtcctggaggcactgggaagcctagaga aggctgtgagccaaggagggagggtcttcctttggcatgggatggggatgaagtaaggagagggactggaccccctggaagctgattca ctatggggggaggtgtattgaagtcctccagacaaccctcagatttgatgatttcctagtagaactcacagaaataaagagctgttatactgtg (SEQ ID No: 34; GenBank Accession No. NM001648). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by residues 42-827 of SEQ ID No: 34. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a homologue of SEQ ID No: 34. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variant of SEQ ID No: 34. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by an isomer of SEQ ID No: 34. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a fragment of SEQ ID No: 34. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSS HDLMLLRLSEPAELTDAVKVMDLPTQEPALGTTCYASGWGSIEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLH VISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLVCNGVLQGITSWGSEPCA LPERPSLYTKVVHYRKWIKDTIVANP (SEQ ID No: 35 GenBank Accession No. AAX29407.1). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 35. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 35. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 35. In another embodiment, the sequence of the KLK3 protein comprises SEQ ID No: 35. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 35. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a nucleotide molecule having the sequence: gggggagccccaagcttaccacctgcacccggagagctgtgtcaccatgtgggtcccggttgtcttcctcaccctgtccgtgacgtggattg gtgctgcacccctcatcctgtctcggattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaagcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtggcctctcgtggc agggcagtctgcggcggtgttctggtgcacccccagtgggtcctcacagctgcccactgcatcaggaacaaaagcgtgatcttgctgggtc ggcacagcctgtttcatcctgaagacacaggccaggtatttcaggtcagccacagcttcccacacccgctctacgatatgagcctcctgaag aatcgattcctcaggccaggtgatgactccagccacgacctcatgctgctccgcctgtcagagcctgccgagctcacggatgctgtgaagg tcatggacctgcccacccaggagccagcactggggaccacctgctacgcctcaggctggggcagcattgaaccagaggagttcttgacc ccaaagaaacttcagtgtgtggacctccatgttatttccaatgacgtgtgtgcgcaagttcaccctcagaaggtgaccaagttcatgctgtgtg ctggacgctggacagggggcaaaagcacctgctcgggtgattctgggggcccacttgtctgtaatggtgtgcttcaaggtatcacgtcatgg ggcagtgaaccatgtgccctgcccgaaaggccttccctgtacaccaaggtggtgcattaccggaagtggatcaaggacaccatcgtggcc aacccctgagcacccctatcaactccctattgtagtaaacttggaaccttggaaatgaccaggccaagactcaggcctccccagttctactga cctttgtccttaggtgtgaggtccagggttgctaggaaaagaaatcagcagacacaggtgtagaccagagtgtttcttaaatggtgtaattttgt cctctctgtgtcctggggaatactggccatgcctggagacatatcactcaatttctctgaggacacagataggatggggtgtctgtgttatttgt ggggtacagagatgaaagaggggtgggatccacactgagagagtggagagtgacatgtgctggacactgtccatgaagcactgagcag aagctggaggcacaacgcaccagacactcacagcaaggatggagctgaaaacataacccactctgtcctggaggcactgggaagccta gagaaggctgtgagccaaggagggagggtcttcattggcatgggatggggatgaagtagggagagggactggaccccctggaagctg attcactatggggggaggtgtattgaagtcctccagacaaccctcagatttgatgatttcctagtagaactcacagaaataaagagctgttata ctgcgaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (SEQ ID No: 36; GenBank Accession No. BCO56665). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by residues 47-832 of SEQ ID No: 36. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a homologue of SEQ ID No: 36. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variant of SEQ ID No: 36. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by an isomer of SEQ ID No: 36. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a fragment of SEQ ID No: 36. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSS IEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLHVISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLV CNGVLQGITSWGSEPCALPERPSLYTKVVHYRKWIKDTIVA (SEQ ID No: 37; GenBank Accession No. AJ459782). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 37. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 37. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 37. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 37. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSS HDLMLLRLSEPAELTDAVKVMDLPTQEPALGTTCYASGWGSIEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLH VISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSVSHPYSQDLEGKGEWGP (SEQ ID No: 38, GenBank Accession No. AJ512346). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 38. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 38. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 38. In another embodiment, the sequence of the KLK3 protein comprises SEQ ID No: 38. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 38. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGERGHGWGDAGEGASPDCQAEALSPPTQHPSPDRELGSFLSLPA PLQAHTPSPSILQQSSLPHQVPAPSHLPQNFLPIAQPAPCSQLLY (SEQ ID No: 39 GenBank Accession No. AJ459784). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 39. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 39. In another embodiment, the sequence of the KLK3 protein comprises SEQ ID No: 39. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 39. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 39. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence: MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSRIVGGWECEKHSQPWQVLVASRGRAVCGGVLVHPQ WVLTAAHCIRNKSVILLGRHSLFHPEDTGQVFQVSHSFPHPLYDMSLLKNRFLRPGDDSS HDLMLLRLSEPAELTDAVKVMDLPTQEPALGTTCYASGWGSIEPEEFLTPKKLQCVDLH VISNDVCAQVHPQKVTKFMLCAGRWTGGKSTCSGDSGGPLVCNGVLQGITSWGSEPCA LPERPSLYTKVVHYRKWIKDTIVANP (SEQ ID No: 40 GenBank Accession No. AJ459783). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a homologue of SEQ ID No: 40. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 40. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 40. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 40. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a nucleotide molecule having the sequence: aagtttcccttctcccagtccaagaccccaaatcaccacaaaggacccaatccccagactcaagatatggtctgggcgctgtcttgtgtctcct accctgatccctgggttcaactctgctcccagagcatgaagcctctccaccagcaccagccaccaacctgcaaacctagggaagattgaca gaattcccagcctttcccagctccccctgcccatgtcccaggactcccagccttggttctctgcccccgtgtcttttcaaacccacatcctaaat ccatctcctatccgagtcccccagttcctcctgtcaaccctgattcccctgatctagcaccccctctgcaggtgctgcacccctcatcctgtctc ggattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaagcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtagcctctcgtggcagggcagtctgcggcggtgttct ggtgcacccccagtgggtcctcacagctacccactgcatcaggaacaaaagcgtgatcttgctgggtcggcacagcctgtttcatcctgaa gacacaggccaggtatttcaggtcagccacagcttcccacacccgctctacgatatgagcctcctgaagaatcgattcctcaggccaggtg atgactccagccacgacctcatgctgctccgcctgtcagagcctgccgagctcacggatgctatgaaggtcatggacctgcccacccagg agccagcactggggaccacctgctacgcctcaggctggggcagcattgaaccagaggagttcttgaccccaaagaaacttcagtgtgtgg acctccatgttatttccaatgacgtgtgtgcgcaagttcaccctcagaaggtgaccaagttcatgctgtgtgctggacgctggacagggggca aaagcacctgctcgggtgattctgggggcccacttgtctgtaatggtgtgcttcaaggtatcacgtcatggggcagtgaaccatgtgccctgc ccgaaaggccttccctgtacaccaaggtggtgcattaccggaagtggatcaaggacaccatcgtggccaacccctgagcacccctatcaa ctccctattgtagtaaacttggaaccttggaaatgaccaggccaagactcaggcctccccagttctactgacctttgtccttaggtgtgaggtc cagggttgctaggaaaagaaatcagcagacacaggtgtagaccagagtgtttcttaaatggtgtaattttgtcctctctgtgtcctggggaata ctggccatgcctggagacatatcactcaatttctctgaggacacagataggatggggtgtctgtgttatttgtggggtacagagatgaaagag gggtgggatccacactgagagagtggagagtgacatgtgctggacactgtccatgaagcactgagcagaagctggaggcacaacgcac cagacactcacagcaaggatggagctgaaaacataacccactctgtcctggaggcactgggaagcctagagaaggctgtgaaccaagga gggagggtatcctttggcatgggatggggatgaagtaaggagagggactgaccccctggaagctgattcactatggggggaggtgtatt gaagtectccagacaaccctcagatttgatgatttcctagtagaactcacagaaataaagagctgttatactgtgaa (SEQ ID No: 41; GenBank Accession No. X07730). In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by residues 67-1088 of SEQ ID No: 41. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a homologue of SEQ ID No: 41. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variant of SEQ ID No: 41. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by an isomer of SEQ ID No: 41. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a fragment of SEQ ID No: 41. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a sequence set forth in one of the following GenBank Accession Numbers: BC005307, AJ310938, AJ310937, AF335478, AF335477, M27274, and M26663. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a sequence set forth in one of the above GenBank Accession Numbers. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a sequence set forth in one of the following GenBank Accession Numbers: NM001030050, NM001030049, NM001030048, NM001030047, NM001648, AJ459782, AJ512346, or AJ459784. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein. In one embodiment, the KLK3 protein is encoded by a variation of any of the sequences described herein wherein the sequence lacks MWVPVVFLTLSVTWIGAAPLILSR (SEQ ID NO: 42).

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein has the sequence that comprises a sequence set forth in one of the following GenBank Accession Numbers: X13943, X13942, X13940, X13941, and X13944. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is any other KLK3 protein known in the art. Each KLK3 protein represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 peptide is any other KLK3 peptide known in the art. In another embodiment, the KLK3 peptide is a fragment of any other KLK3 peptide known in the art. Each type of KLK3 peptide represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

“KLK3 peptide” refers, in another embodiment, to a full-length KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the term refers to a fragment of a KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the term refers to a fragment of a KLK3 protein that is lacking the KLK3 signal peptide. In another embodiment, the term refers to a KLK3 protein that contains the entire KLK3 sequence except the KLK3 signal peptide. “KLK3 signal sequence” refers, in another embodiment, to any signal sequence found in nature on a KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, a KLK3 protein of methods and compositions as provided herein does not contain any signal sequence. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the kallikrein-related peptidase 3 (KLK3 protein) that is the source of a KLK3 peptide for use in the methods and compositions as provided herein is a PSA protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a P-30 antigen protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a gamma-seminoprotein protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a kallikrein 3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a semenogelase protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a seminin protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is any other type of KLK3 protein that is known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a splice variant 1 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a splice variant 2 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a splice variant 3 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a transcript variant 1 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a transcript variant 2 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a transcript variant 3 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a transcript variant 4 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a transcript variant 5 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a transcript variant 6 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a splice variant RP5 KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is any other splice variant KLK3 protein known in the art. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is any other transcript variant KLK3 protein known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a mature KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a pro-KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the leader sequence has been removed from a mature KLK3 protein of methods and compositions as provided herein. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein that is the source of a KLK3 peptide of methods and compositions as provided herein is a human KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a primate KLK3 protein. In another embodiment, the KLK3 protein is a KLK3 protein of any other species known in the art. In another embodiment, one of the above KLK3 proteins is referred to in the art as a “KLK3 protein.” Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the antigen of interest is a KLK9 polypeptide.

In another embodiment, the antigen of interest is HPV-E7. In another embodiment, the antigen is HPV-E6. In another embodiment, the antigen is Her-2/neu. In another embodiment, the antigen is NY-ESO-1. In another embodiment, the antigen is telomerase (TERT). In another embodiment, the antigen is SCCE. In another embodiment, the antigen is CEA. In another embodiment, the antigen is LMP-1. In another embodiment, the antigen is p53. In another embodiment, the antigen is carboxic anhydrase IX (CAIX). In another embodiment, the antigen is PSMA. In another embodiment, the antigen is prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA). In another embodiment, the antigen is HMW-MAA. In another embodiment, the antigen is WT-1. In another embodiment, the antigen is HIV-1 Gag. In another embodiment, the antigen is Proteinase 3. In another embodiment, the antigen is Tyrosinase related protein 2. In another embodiment, the antigen is PSA (prostate-specific antigen). In another embodiment, the antigen is selected from HPV-E7, HPV-E6, Her-2, NY-ESO-1, telomerase (TERT), SCCE, HMW-MAA, WT-1, HIV-1 Gag, CEA, LMP-1, p53, PSMA, PSCA, Proteinase 3, Tyrosinase related protein 2, Muc 1, PSA (prostate-specific antigen), or a combination thereof.

In another embodiment, the antigen is a tumor-associated antigen, which in one embodiment, is one of the following tumor antigens: a MAGE (Melanoma-Associated Antigen E) protein, e.g. MAGE 1, MAGE 2, MAGE 3, MAGE 4, a tyrosinase; a mutant ras protein; a mutant p53 protein; p97 melanoma antigen, a ras peptide or p53 peptide associated with advanced cancers; the HPV 16/18 antigens associated with cervical cancers, KLH antigen associated with breast carcinoma, CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) associated with colorectal cancer, gp100, a MART1 antigen associated with melanoma, or the PSA antigen associated with prostate cancer. In another embodiment, the antigen for the compositions and methods as provided herein are melanoma-associated antigens, which in one embodiment are TRP-2, MAGE-1, MAGE-3, gp-100, tyrosinase, HSP-70, beta-HCG, or a combination thereof.

In one embodiment, the first and second nucleic acids may encode two separate antigens that serve as tumor targets, which in one embodiment are Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and Prostate Cancer Stem Cell (PSCA) antigen. In one embodiment, the polypeptide encoded by the second nucleic acid may complement or synergize the immune response to the first nucleic acid encoding an antigenic polypeptide. In another embodiment, the polypeptide encoded by the second nucleic acid affects vascular growth. In one embodiment, the first and second nucleic acid may encode two polypeptides that affect vascular growth, which in one embodiment, work via distinct mechanisms to affect vascular growth. In one embodiment, such polypeptides are EGFR-III, HMW-MAA, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, a polypeptide may serve as both a tumor antigen an angiogenic factor. In one embodiment, the first nucleic acid may encode a tumor antigen, and the second nucleic acid may encode a polypeptide that is an inhibitor of the function or expression of ARG-1 or NOS or combination. In one embodiment, an inhibitor of NOS is NG-mono-methyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), 7-NI, L-NIL, or L-NIO. In one embodiment, N-omega-nitro-L-arginine a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor and L-arginine competitive inhibitor may be encoded by the nucleic acid. In one embodiment, the second nucleic acid may encode an mRNA that inhibits function or expression of ARG-1 or NOS.

In one embodiment, a polypeptide expressed by the Listeria of the present invention may be a neuropeptide growth factor antagonist, which in one embodiment is [D-Arg 1, D-Phe5, D-Trp7,9, Leu11] substance P, [Arg6, D-Trp7,9, NmePhe8]substance P(6-11). These and related embodiments embodiments are understood by one of skill in the art.

In another embodiment, the antigen is an infectious disease antigen. In one embodiment, the antigen is an auto antigen or a self-antigen.

In other embodiments, the antigen is derived from a fungal pathogen, bacteria, parasite, helminth, or viruses. In other embodiments, the antigen is selected from tetanus toxoid, hemagglutinin molecules from influenza virus, diphtheria toxoid, HIV gp120, HIV gag protein, IgA protease, insulin peptide B, Spongospora subterranea antigen, vibriose antigens, Salmonella antigens, pneumococcus antigens, respiratory syncytial virus antigens, Haemophilus influenza outer membrane proteins, Helicobacter pylori urease, Neisseria meningitidis pilins, N. gonorrhoeae pilins, human papilloma virus antigens E1 and E2 from type HPV-16, -18, -31, -33, -35 or -45 human papilloma viruses, or a combination thereof.

In other embodiments, the antigen is associated with one of the following diseases; cholera, diphtheria, Haemophilus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, small pox, pneumococcal pneumonia, polio, rabies, rubella, tetanus, tuberculosis, typhoid, Varicella-zoster, whooping cough3 yellow fever, the immunogens and antigens from Addison's disease, allergies, anaphylaxis, Bruton's syndrome, cancer, including solid and blood borne tumors, eczema, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, transplant rejection, such as kidney, heart, pancreas, lung, bone, and liver transplants, Graves' disease, polyendocrine autoimmune disease, hepatitis, microscopic polyarteritis, polyarteritis nodosa, pemphigus, primary biliary cirrhosis, pernicious anemia, coeliac disease, antibody-mediated nephritis, glomerulonephritis, rheumatic diseases, systemic lupus erthematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, seronegative spondylarthritides, rhinitis, sjogren's syndrome, systemic sclerosis, sclerosing cholangitis, Wegener's granulomatosis, dermatitis herpetiformis, psoriasis, vitiligo, multiple sclerosis, encephalomyelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, Lambert-Eaton syndrome, sclera, episclera, uveitis, chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, urticaria, transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy, myeloma, X-linked hyper IgM syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, ataxia telangiectasia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, autoimmune thrombocytopenia, autoimmune neutropenia, Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, amyloidosis, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, malarial circumsporozite protein, microbial antigens, viral antigens, autoantigens, and lesteriosis. Each antigen represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

The immune response induced by methods and compositions as provided herein is, in another embodiment, a T cell response. In another embodiment, the immune response comprises a T cell response. In another embodiment, the response is a CD8+ T cell response. In another embodiment, the response comprises a CD8+ T cell response. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In one embodiment, a recombinant Listeria of the compositions and methods as provided herein comprise an angiogenic polypeptide. In another embodiment, anti-angiogenic approaches to cancer therapy are very promising, and in one embodiment, one type of such anti-angiogenic therapy targets pericytes. In another embodiment, molecular targets on vascular endothelial cells and pericytes are important targets for antitumor therapies. In another embodiment, the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGF-B/PDGFR-(3) signaling is important to recruit pericytes to newly formed blood vessels. Thus, in one embodiment, angiogenic polypeptides as provided herein inhibit molecules involved in pericyte signaling, which in one embodiment, is PDGFR-β.

In one embodiment, the compositions of the present invention comprise an angiogenic factor, or an immunogenic fragment thereof, where in one embodiment, the immunogenic fragment comprises one or more epitopes recognized by the host immune system. In one embodiment, an angiogenic factor is a molecule involved in the formation of new blood vessels. In one embodiment, the angiogenic factor is VEGFR2. In another embodiment, an angiogenic factor of the present invention is Angiogenin; Angiopoietin-1; Del-1; Fibroblast growth factors: acidic (aFGF) and basic (bFGF); Follistatin; Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF); Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/scatter factor (SF); Interleukin-8 (IL-8); Leptin; Midkine; Placental growth factor; Platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor (PD-ECGF); Platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB); Pleiotrophin (PTN); Progranulin; Proliferin; Transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha); Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta); Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha); Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/vascular permeability factor (VPF). In another embodiment, an angiogenic factor is an angiogenic protein. In one embodiment, a growth factor is an angiogenic protein. In one embodiment, an angiogenic protein for use in the compositions and methods of the present invention is Fibroblast growth factors (FGF); VEGF; VEGFR and Neuropilin 1 (NRP-1); Angiopoietin 1 (Ang1) and Tie2; Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF; BB-homodimer) and PDGFR; Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), endoglin and TGF-β receptors; monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1); Integrins αVβ3, αVβ5 and α5β1; VE-cadherin and CD31; ephrin; plasminogen activators; plasminogen activator inhibitor-1; Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and COX-2; AC133; or Id1/Id3. In one embodiment, an angiogenic protein for use in the compositions and methods of the present invention is an angiopoietin, which in one embodiment, is Angiopoietin 1, Angiopoietin 3, Angiopoietin 4 or Angiopoietin 6. In one embodiment, endoglin is also known as CD105; EDG; HHT1; ORW; or ORW1. In one embodiment, endoglin is a TGFbeta co-receptor.

In one embodiment, cancer vaccines as provided herein generate effector T cells that are able to infiltrate the tumor, destroy tumor cells and eradicate the disease. In one embodiment, naturally occurring tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are associated with better prognosis in several tumors, such as colon, ovarian and melanoma. In colon cancer, tumors without signs of micrometastasis have an increased infiltration of immune cells and a Th1 expression profile, which correlate with an improved survival of patients. Moreover, the infiltration of the tumor by T cells has been associated with success of immunotherapeutic approaches in both pre-clinical and human trials. In one embodiment, the infiltration of lymphocytes into the tumor site is dependent on the up-regulation of adhesion molecules in the endothelial cells of the tumor vasculature, generally by proinflammatory cytokines, such as IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-1. Several adhesion molecules have been implicated in the process of lymphocyte infiltration into tumors, including intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (V-CAM-1), vascular adhesion protein 1 (VAP-1) and E-selectin. However, these cell-adhesion molecules are commonly down-regulated in the tumor vasculature. Thus, in one embodiment, cancer vaccines as provided herein increase TILs, up-regulate adhesion molecules (in one embodiment, ICAM-1, V-CAM-1, VAP-1, E-selectin, or a combination thereof), up-regulate proinflammatory cytokines (in one embodiment, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-1, or a combination thereof), or a combination thereof.

In one embodiment, the compositions and methods as provided herein provide anti-angiogenesis therapy, which in one embodiment, may improve immunotherapy strategies. In one embodiment, the compositions and methods as provided herein circumvent endothelial cell anergy in vivo by up-regulating adhesion molecules in tumor vessels and enhancing leukocyte-vessel interactions, which increases the number of tumor infiltrating leukocytes, such as CD8+ T cells. Interestingly, enhanced anti-tumor protection correlates with an increased number of activated CD4+ and CDS+ tumor-infiltrating T cells and a pronounced decrease in the number of regulatory T cells in the tumor upon VEGF blockade.

In one embodiment, delivery of anti-angiogenic antigen simultaneously with a tumor-associated antigen to a host afflicted by a tumor as described herein, will have a synergistic effect in impacting tumor growth and a more potent therapeutic efficacy.

In another embodiment, targeting pericytes through vaccination will lead to cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) infiltration, destruction of pericytes, blood vessel destabilization and vascular inflammation, which in another embodiment is associated with up-regulation of adhesion molecules in the endothelial cells that are important for lymphocyte adherence and transmigration, ultimately improving the ability of lymphocytes to infiltrate the tumor tissue. In another embodiment, concomitant delivery of a tumor-specific antigen generate lymphocytes able to invade the tumor site and kill tumor cells.

In one embodiment, the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGF-B/PDGFR-β) signaling is important to recruit pericytes to newly formed blood vessels. In another embodiment, inhibition of VEGFR-2 and PDGFR-β concomitantly induces endothelial cell apoptosis and regression of tumor blood vessels, in one embodiment, approximately 40% of tumor blood vessels.

In another embodiment, said recombinant Listeria strain is an auxotrophic Listeria strain. In another embodiment, said auxotrophic Listeria strain is a dal/dat mutant. In another embodiment, the nucleic acid molecule is stably maintained in the recombinant bacterial strain in the absence of antibiotic selection.

In one embodiment, auxotrophic mutants useful as vaccine vectors may be generated in a number of ways. In another embodiment, D-alanine auxotrophic mutants can be generated, in one embodiment, via the disruption of both the dal gene and the dat gene to generate an attenuated auxotrophic strain of Listeria which requires exogenously added D-alanine for growth.

In one embodiment, the generation of AA strains of Listeria deficient in D-alanine, for example, may be accomplished in a number of ways that are well known to those of skill in the art, including deletion mutagenesis, insertion mutagenesis, and mutagenesis which results in the generation of frameshift mutations, mutations which cause premature termination of a protein, or mutation of regulatory sequences which affect gene expression. In another embodiment, mutagenesis can be accomplished using recombinant DNA techniques or using traditional mutagenesis technology using mutagenic chemicals or radiation and subsequent selection of mutants. In another embodiment, deletion mutants are preferred because of the accompanying low probability of reversion of the auxotrophic phenotype. In another embodiment, mutants of D-alanine which are generated according to the protocols presented herein may be tested for the ability to grow in the absence of D-alanine in a simple laboratory culture assay. In another embodiment, those mutants which are unable to grow in the absence of this compound are selected for further study.

In another embodiment, in addition to the aforementioned D-alanine associated genes, other genes involved in synthesis of a metabolic enzyme, as provided herein, may be used as targets for mutagenesis of Listeria.

In one embodiment, said auxotrophic Listeria strain comprises an episomal expression vector comprising a metabolic enzyme that complements the auxotrophy of said auxotrophic Listeria strain. In another embodiment, the construct is contained in the Listeria strain in an episomal fashion. In another embodiment, the foreign antigen is expressed from a vector harbored by the recombinant Listeria strain. In another embodiment, said episomal expression vector lacks an antibiotic resistance marker. In one embodiment, an antigen of the methods and compositions as provided herein is genetically fused to an oligopeptide comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, said endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence is LLO. In another embodiment, said endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence is ActA. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme complements an endogenous metabolic gene that is lacking in the remainder of the chromosome of the recombinant bacterial strain. In one embodiment, the endogenous metabolic gene is mutated in the chromosome. In another embodiment, the endogenous metabolic gene is deleted from the chromosome. In another embodiment, said metabolic enzyme is an amino acid metabolism enzyme. In another embodiment, said metabolic enzyme catalyzes a formation of an amino acid used for a cell wall synthesis in said recombinant Listeria strain. In another embodiment, said metabolic enzyme is an alanine racemase enzyme. In another embodiment, said metabolic enzyme is a D-amino acid transferase enzyme. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme catalyzes the formation of an amino acid (AA) used in cell wall synthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme catalyzes synthesis of an AA used in cell wall synthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is involved in synthesis of an AA used in cell wall synthesis. In another embodiment, the AA is used in cell wall biogenesis. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is a synthetic enzyme for D-glutamic acid, a cell wall component.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by an alanine racemase gene (dal) gene. In another embodiment, the dal gene encodes alanine racemase, which catalyzes the reaction L-alanine⇄D-alanine.

The dal gene of methods and compositions of the methods and compositions as provided herein is encoded, in another embodiment, by the sequence:

atggtgacaggctggcatcgtccaacatggattgaaatagaccgcgcagcaattcgcgaaaatataaaaaatgaacaaaata aactcccggaaagtgtcgacttatgggcagtagtcaaagctaatgcatatggtcacggaattatcgaagttgctaggacggcgaaagaagct ggagcaaaaggtttctgcgtagccattttagatgaggcactggctcttagagaagctggatttcaagatgactttattcttgtgcttggtgcaac cagaaaagaagatgctaatctggcagccaaaaaccacatttcacttactgtttttagagaagattggctagagaatctaacgctagaagcaac acttcgaattcatttaaaagtagatagcggtatggggcgtctcggtattcgtacgactgaagaagcacggcgaattgaagcaaccagtactaa tgatcaccaattacaactggaaggtatttacacgcattttgcaacagccgaccagctagaaactagttattttgaacaacaattagctaagttcc aaacgattttaacgagtttaaaaaaacgaccaacttatgttcatacagccaattcagctgcttcattgttacagccacaaatcgggtttgatgcg attcgctttggtatttcgatgtatggattaactccctccacagaaatcaaaactagcttgccgtttgagcttaaacctgcacttgcactctataccg agatggttcatgtgaaagaacttgcaccaggcgatagcgttagctacggagcaacttatacagcaacagagcgagaatgggttgcgacatt accaattggctatgcggatggattgattcgtcattacagtggtttccatgttttagtagacggtgaaccagctccaatcattggtcgagtttgtatg gatcaaaccatcataaaactaccacgtgaatttcaaactggttcaaaagtaacgataattggcaaagatcatggtaacacggtaacagcagat gatgccgctcaatatttagatacaattaattatgaggtaacttgtttgttaaatgagcgcatacctagaaaatacatccattag (SEQ ID No: 42; GenBank Accession No: AF038438). In another embodiment, the nucleotide encoding dal is homologous to SEQ ID No: 42. In another embodiment, the nucleotide encoding dal is a variant of SEQ ID No: 42. In another embodiment, the nucleotide encoding dal is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 42. In another embodiment, the dal protein is encoded by any other dal gene known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the dal protein has the sequence:

MVTGWHRPTWIEIDRAAIRENIKNEQNKLPESVDLWAVVKANAYGHGIIEVAR TAKEAGAKGFCVAILDEALALREAGFQDDFILVLGATRKEDANLAAKNHISLTVFREDW LENLTLEATLRIHLKVDSGMGRLGIRTTEEARRIEATSTNDHQLQLEGIYTHFATADQLE TSYFEQQLAKFQTILTSLKKRPTYVHTANSAASLLQPQIGFDAIRFGISMYGLTPSTEIKTS LPFELKPALALYTEMVHVKELAPGDSVSYGATYTATEREWVATLPIGYADGLIRHYSGF HVLVDGEPAPIIGRVCMDQTIIKLPREFQTGSKVTIIGKDHGNTVTADDAAQYLDTINYE VTCLLNERIPRKYIH (SEQ ID No: 43; GenBank Accession No: AF038428). In another embodiment, the dal protein is homologous to SEQ ID No: 43. In another embodiment, the dal protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 43. In another embodiment, the dal protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 43. In another embodiment, the dal protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 43. In another embodiment, the dal protein is a fragment of a homologue of SEQ ID No: 43. In another embodiment, the dal protein is a fragment of a variant of SEQ ID No: 43. In another embodiment, the dal protein is a fragment of an isomer of SEQ ID No: 43.

In another embodiment, the dal protein is any other Listeria dal protein known in the art. In another embodiment, the dal protein is any other gram-positive dal protein known in the art. In another embodiment, the dal protein is any other dal protein known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the dal protein of methods and compositions as provided herein retains its enzymatic activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 90% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 80% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 70% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 60% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 50% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 40% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 30% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 20% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 10% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dal protein retains 5% of wild-type activity. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by a D-amino acid aminotransferase gene (dat). D-glutamic acid synthesis is controlled in part by the dat gene, which is involved in the conversion of D-glu+pyr to alpha-ketoglutarate+D-ala, and the reverse reaction.

In another embodiment, a dat gene utilized in the present invention has the sequence set forth in GenBank Accession Number AF038439. In another embodiment, the dat gene is any another dat gene known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

The dat gene of methods and compositions of the methods and compositions as provided herein is encoded, in another embodiment, by the sequence:

atgaaagtattagtaaataaccatttagttgaaagagaagatgccacagttgacattgaagaccgcggatatcagtttggtgatg gtgtatatgaagtagttcgtctatataatggaaaattctttacttataatgaacacattgatcgcttatatgctagtgcagcaaaaattgacttagtta ttccttattccaaagaagagctacgtgaattacttgaaaaattagttgccgaaaataatatcaatacagggaatgtctatttacaagtgactcgtg gtgttcaaaacccacgtaatcatgtaatccctgatgatttccctctagaaggcgttttaacagcagcagctcgtgaagtacctagaaacgagc gtcaattcgttgaaggtggaacggcgattacagaagaagatgtgcgctggttacgctgtgatattaagagataaaccttttaggaaatattcta gcaaaaaataaagcacatcaacaaaatgattggaagctattttacatcgcggggaacaagtaacagaatgttctgatcaaacgtttctattat taaagatggtgtattatggacgcatgcggcagataacttaatcttaaatggtatcactcgtcaagttatcattgatgttgcgaaaaagaatggca ttectgttaaagaageggatttcactttaacagaccttcgtgaagcggatgaagtgttcatttcaagtacaactattgaaattacacctattacgc atattgacggagttcaagtagctgacggaaaacgtggaccaattacagcgcaacttcatcaatattttgtagaagaaatcactcgtgcatgtgg cgaattagagtttgcaaaataa (SEQ ID No: 44; GenBank Accession No: AF038439). In another embodiment, the nucleotide encoding dat is homologous to SEQ ID No: 44. In another embodiment, the nucleotide encoding dat is a variant of SEQ ID No: 44. In another embodiment, the nucleotide encoding dat is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 44. In another embodiment, the dat protein is encoded by any other dat gene known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the dat protein has the sequence:

MKVLVNNHLVEREDATVDIEDRGYQFGDGVYEVVRLYNGKFFTYNEHIDRLY ASAAKIDLVIPYSKEELRELLEKLVAENNINTGNVYLQVTRGVQNPRNHVIPDDFPLEGV LTAAAREVPRNERQFVEGGTAITEEDVRWLRCDIKSLNLLGNILAKNKAHQQNALEAIL HRGEQVTECSASNVSIIKDGVLWTHAADNLILNGITRQVIIDVAKKNGIPVKEADFTLTD LREADEVFISSTTIEITPITHIDGVQVADGKRGPITAQLHQYFVEEITRACGELEFAK (SEQ ID No: 45; GenBank Accession No: AF038439). In another embodiment, the dat protein is homologous to SEQ ID No: 45. In another embodiment, the dat protein is a variant of SEQ ID No: 45. In another embodiment, the dat protein is an isomer of SEQ ID No: 45. In another embodiment, the dat protein is a fragment of SEQ ID No: 45. In another embodiment, the dat protein is a fragment of a homologue of SEQ ID No: 45. In another embodiment, the dat protein is a fragment of a variant of SEQ ID No: 45. In another embodiment, the dat protein is a fragment of an isomer of SEQ ID No: 45.

In another embodiment, the dat protein is any other Listeria dat protein known in the art. In another embodiment, the dat protein is any other gram-positive dat protein known in the art. In another embodiment, the dat protein is any other dat protein known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the dat protein of methods and compositions of the methods and compositions as provided herein retains its enzymatic activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 90% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 80% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 70% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 60% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 50% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 40% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 30% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 20% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 10% of wild-type activity. In another embodiment, the dat protein retains 5% of wild-type activity. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by dga. D-glutamic acid synthesis is also controlled in part by the dga gene, and an auxotrophic mutant for D-glutamic acid synthesis will not grow in the absence of D-glutamic acid (Pucci et al, 1995, J Bacteriol. 177: 336-342). In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria is auxotrophic for D-glutamic acid. A further example includes a gene involved in the synthesis of diaminopimelic acid. Such synthesis genes encode beta-semialdehyde dehydrogenase, and when inactivated, renders a mutant auxotrophic for this synthesis pathway (Sizemore et al, 1995, Science 270: 299-302). In another embodiment, the dga protein is any other Listeria dga protein known in the art. In another embodiment, the dga protein is any other gram-positive dga protein known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by an alr (alanine racemase) gene. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is any other enzyme known in the art that is involved in alanine synthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is any other enzyme known in the art that is involved in L-alanine synthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is any other enzyme known in the art that is involved in D-alanine synthesis. In another rembodiment, the recombinant Listeria is auxotrophic for D-alanine. Bacteria auxotrophic for alanine synthesis are well known in the art, and are described in, for example, E. coli (Strych et al, 2002, J. Bacteriol. 184:4321-4325), Corynebacterium glutamicum (Tauch et al, 2002, J. Biotechnol 99:79-91), and Listeria monocytogenes (Frankel et al, U.S. Pat. No. 6,099,848)), Lactococcus species, and Lactobacillus species, (Bron et al, 2002, Appl Environ Microbiol, 68: 5663-70). In another embodiment, any D-alanine synthesis gene known in the art is inactivated. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is an amino acid aminotransferase.

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by serC, a phosphoserine aminotransferase. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by asd (aspartate beta-semialdehyde dehydrogenase), involved in synthesis of the cell wall constituent diaminopimelic acid. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by gsaB-glutamate-1-semialdehyde aminotransferase, which catalyzes the formation of 5-aminolevulinate from (S)-4-amino-5-oxopentanoate. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by HemL, which catalyzes the formation of 5-aminolevulinate from (S)-4-amino-5-oxopentanoate. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by aspB, an aspartate aminotransferase that catalyzes the formation of oxalozcetate and L-glutamate from L-aspartate and 2-oxoglutarate. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by argF-1, involved in arginine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by aroE, involved in amino acid biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by aroB, involved in 3-dehydroquinate biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by aroD, involved in amino acid biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by aroC, involved in amino acid biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by hisB, involved in histidine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by hisD, involved in histidine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by hisG, involved in histidine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by metX, involved in methionine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by proB, involved in proline biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by argR, involved in arginine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by argJ, involved in arginine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by thil, involved in thiamine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by LMOf23651652, involved in tryptophan biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by aroA, involved in tryptophan biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by ilvD, involved in valine and isoleucine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by ilvC, involved in valine and isoleucine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by leuA, involved in leucine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by dapF, involved in lysine biosynthesis. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by thrB, involved in threonine biosynthesis (all GenBank Accession No. NC002973).

In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is a tRNA synthetase. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is encoded by the trpS gene, encoding tryptophanyltRNA synthetase. In another embodiment, the metabolic enzyme is any other tRNA synthetase known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, a recombinant Listeria strain as provided herein has been passaged through an animal host. In another embodiment, the passaging maximizes efficacy of the strain as a vaccine vector. In another embodiment, the passaging stabilizes the immunogenicity of the Listeria strain. In another embodiment, the passaging stabilizes the virulence of the Listeria strain. In another embodiment, the passaging increases the immunogenicity of the Listeria strain. In another embodiment, the passaging increases the virulence of the Listeria strain. In another embodiment, the passaging removes unstable sub-strains of the Listeria strain. In another embodiment, the passaging reduces the prevalence of unstable sub-strains of the Listeria strain. In another embodiment, the passaging attenuates the strain, or in another embodiment, makes the strain less virulent. Methods for passaging a recombinant Listeria strain through an animal host are well known in the art, and are described, for example, in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/541,614. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

The recombinant Listeria strain of the methods and compositions as provided herein is, in another embodiment, a recombinant Listeria monocytogenes strain. In another embodiment, the Listeria strain is a recombinant Listeria seeligeri strain. In another embodiment, the Listeria strain is a recombinant Listeria grayi strain. In another embodiment, the Listeria strain is a recombinant Listeria ivanovii strain. In another embodiment, the Listeria strain is a recombinant Listeria murrayi strain. In another embodiment, the Listeria strain is a recombinant Listeria welshimeri strain. In another embodiment, the Listeria strain is a recombinant strain of any other Listeria species known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein. In another embodiment, the sequences of Listeria proteins for use in the methods and compositions as provided herein are from any of the above-described strains.

In one embodiment, a Listeria monocytogenes strain as provided herein is the EGD strain, the 10403S strain, the NICPBP 54002 strain, the S3 strain, the NCTC 5348 strain, the NICPBP 54006 strain, the M7 strain, the S19 strain, or another strain of Listeria monocytogenes which is known in the art.

In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain is a vaccine strain, which in one embodiment, is a bacterial vaccine strain.

In one embodiment, a vaccine is a composition which elicits an immune response to an antigen or polypeptide in the composition as a result of exposure to the composition. In another embodiment, the vaccine additionally comprises an adjuvant, cytokine, chemokine, or combination thereof. In another embodiment, the vaccine or composition additionally comprises antigen presenting cells (APCs), which in one embodiment are autologous, while in another embodiment, they are allogeneic to the subject.

In one embodiment, a “vaccine” is a composition which elicits an immune response in a host to an antigen or polypeptide in the composition as a result of exposure to the composition. In one embodiment, the immune response is to a particular antigen or to a particular epitope on the antigen. In one embodiment, the vaccine may be a peptide vaccine, in another embodiment, a DNA vaccine. In another embodiment, the vaccine may be contained within and, in another embodiment, delivered by, a cell, which in one embodiment is a bacterial cell, which in one embodiment, is a Listeria. In one embodiment, a vaccine may prevent a subject from contracting or developing a disease or condition, wherein in another embodiment, a vaccine may be therapeutic to a subject having a disease or condition. In one embodiment, a vaccine of the present invention comprises a composition of the present invention and an adjuvant, cytokine, chemokine, or combination thereof.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides an immunogenic composition comprising a recombinant Listeria of the present invention. In another embodiment, the immunogenic composition of methods and compositions of the present invention comprises a recombinant vaccine vector of the present invention. In another embodiment, the immunogenic composition comprises a plasmid of the present invention. In another embodiment, the immunogenic composition comprises an adjuvant. In one embodiment, a vector of the present invention may be administered as part of a vaccine composition. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the present invention.

In another embodiment, a vaccine of the present invention is delivered with an adjuvant. In one embodiment, the adjuvant favors a predominantly Th1-mediated immune response. In another embodiment, the adjuvant favors a Th1-type immune response. In another embodiment, the adjuvant favors a Th1-mediated immune response. In another embodiment, the adjuvant favors a cell-mediated immune response over an antibody-mediated response. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is any other type of adjuvant known in the art. In another embodiment, the immunogenic composition induces the formation of a T cell immune response against the target protein.

In another embodiment, the adjuvant is MPL. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is QS21. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is a TLR agonist. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is a TLR4 agonist. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is a TLR9 agonist. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is Resiquimod®. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is imiquimod. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is a CpG oligonucleotide. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is a cytokine or a nucleic acid encoding same. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is a chemokine or a nucleic acid encoding same. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is IL-12 or a nucleic acid encoding same. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is IL-6 or a nucleic acid encoding same. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is a lipopolysaccharide. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is as described in Fundamental Immunology, 5th ed (August 2003): William E. Paul (Editor); Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Publishers; Chapter 43: Vaccines, GJV Nossal, which is hereby incorporated by reference. In another embodiment, the adjuvant is any other adjuvant known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of inducing an immune response to an antigen in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of inducing an anti-angiogenic immune response to an antigen in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In another embodiment, said recombinant Listeria strain comprises a first and second nucleic acid molecule. In another embodiment, each said nucleic acid molecule encodes a heterologous antigen. In yet another embodiment, said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of treating, suppressing, or inhibiting at least one cancer in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In another embodiment, said recombinant Listeria strain comprises a first and second nucleic acid molecule. In another embodiment, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigen. In yet another embodiment, said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with a nucleic acid sequence encoding an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, at least one of said antigens is expressed by at least one cell of said cancer cells.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of delaying the onset to a cancer in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of delaying the progression to a cancer in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of extending the remission to a cancer in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of decreasing the size of an existing tumor in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of preventing the growth of an existing tumor in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of preventing the growth of new or additional tumors in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject.

In one embodiment, cancer or tumors may be prevented in specific populations known to be susceptible to a particular cancer or tumor. In one embodiment, such susceptibilty may be due to environmental factors, such as smoking, which in one embodiment, may cause a population to be subject to lung cancer, while in another embodiment, such susceptbility may be due to genetic factors, for example a population with BRCA1/2 mutations may be susceptible, in one embodiment, to breast cancer, and in another embodiment, to ovarian cancer. In another embodiment, one or more mutations on chromosome 8q24, chromosome 17q12, and chromosome 17q24.3 may increase susceptibility to prostate cancer, as is known in the art. Other genetic and environmental factors contributing to cancer susceptibility are known in the art.

In another embodiment, a method of present invention further comprises the step of boosting the human subject with a recombinant Listeria strain as provided herein. In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria strain used in the booster inoculation is the same as the strain used in the initial “priming” inoculation. In another embodiment, the booster strain is different from the priming strain. In another embodiment, the same doses are used in the priming and boosting inoculations. In another embodiment, a larger dose is used in the booster. In another embodiment, a smaller dose is used in the booster. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes a prostate specific antigen (PSA) and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing prostate cancer. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes PSA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing ovarian cancer. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes PSA and the method is treating, inhibiting, or suppressing metastasis of prostate cancer, which in one embodiment, comprises metastasis to bone, and in another embodiment, comprises metastasis to other organs. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes PSA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing metastasis of prostate cancer to bones. In yet another embodiment the method is for treating, inhibiting, or suppressing metastatis of prostate cancer to other organs. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes PSA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing breast cancer. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes PSA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing both ovarian and breast cancer.

In one embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes a High Molecular Weight-Melanoma Associated Antigen (HMW-MAA) and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing melanoma. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes HMW-MAA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing breast cancer. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes HMW-MAA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing ovarian cancer. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes HMW-MAA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing benign nevi lesions. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes HMW-MAA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing basal cell carcinoma. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes HMW-MAA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing a tumor of neural crest origin, which in one embodiment, is an astrocytoma, glioma, neuroblastoma, sarcoma, or combination thereof. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes HMW-MAA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing a childhood leukemia, which in one embodiment, is Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and in another embodiment, is Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia (which in one embodiment, is acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, or acute non-lymphocytic leukemia) and in another embodiment, is acute lymphocytic leukemia (which in one embodiment, is called acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and in another embodiment, is acute myelogenous leukemia (also called acute myeloid leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, or acute non-lymphocytic leukemia) and in another embodiment, is Hybrid or mixed lineage leukemia. In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes HMW-MAA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing Chronic myelogenous leukemia or Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML). In another embodiment, the first or second nucleic acid molecule encodes HMW-MAA and the method is for treating, inhibiting or suppressing lobular breast carcinoma lesions.

The cancer that is the target of methods and compositions as provided herein is, in another embodiment, a melanoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is a sarcoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is a carcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is a mesothelioma (e.g. malignant mesothelioma). In another embodiment, the cancer is a glioma. In another embodiment, the cancer is a germ cell tumor. In another embodiment, the cancer is a choriocarcinoma.

In another embodiment, the cancer is pancreatic cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is ovarian cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is gastric cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a carcinomatous lesion of the pancreas. In another embodiment, the cancer is pulmonary adenocarcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is colorectal adenocarcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is pulmonary squamous adenocarcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is gastric adenocarcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is an ovarian surface epithelial neoplasm (e.g. a benign, proliferative or malignant variety thereof). In another embodiment, the cancer is an oral squamous cell carcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is non small-cell lung carcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is an endometrial carcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is a bladder cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a head and neck cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a prostate carcinoma.

In another embodiment, the cancer is a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In another embodiment, the cancer is a colon cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a lung cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is an ovarian cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a uterine cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a thyroid cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a hepatocellular carcinoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is a thyroid cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a liver cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a renal cancer. In another embodiment, the cancer is a kaposis. In another embodiment, the cancer is a sarcoma. In another embodiment, the cancer is another carcinoma or sarcoma. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the compositions and methods as provided herein can be used to treat solid tumors related to or resulting from any of the cancers as described hereinabove. In another embodiment, the tumor is a Wilms' tumor. In another embodiment, the tumor is a desmoplastic small round cell tumor.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of impeding angiogenesis of a solid tumor in a subject, comprising administering to the subject a composition comprising a recombinant Listeria encoding a heterologous antigen. In another embodiment, the antigen is HMW-MAA. In another embodiment, the antigen is fibroblast growth factor (FGF). In another embodiment, the antigen is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In another embodiment, the antigen is any other antigen known in the art to be involved in angiogenesis. In another embodiment, the methods and compositions of impeding angiogenesis of a solid tumor in a subject, as provided herein, comprise administering to the subject a composition comprising a recombinant Listeria encoding two heterologous antigens. In another embodiment, one of the two heterologous antigens is HMW-MAA. In another embodiment, the antigen is any other antigen known in the art to be involved in angiogenesis. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

Methods for assessing efficacy of prostate cancer vaccines are well known in the art, and are described, for example, in Dzojic H et al (Adenovirus-mediated CD40 ligand therapy induces tumor cell apoptosis and systemic immunity in the TRAMP-C2 mouse prostate cancer model. Prostate. 2006 Jun. 1; 66(8):831-8), Naruishi K et al (Adenoviral vector-mediated RTVP-1 gene-modified tumor cell-based vaccine suppresses the development of experimental prostate cancer. Cancer Gene Ther. 2006 July; 13(7):658-63), Sehgal I et al (Cancer Cell Int. 2006 Aug. 23; 6:21), and Heinrich J E et al (Vaccination against prostate cancer using a live tissue factor deficient cell line in Lobund-Wistar rats. Cancer Immunol Immunother 2007; 56(5):725-30). Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the prostate cancer model used to test methods and compositions as provided herein is the TPSA23 (derived from TRAMP-C1 cell line stably expressing PSA) mouse model. In another embodiment, the prostate cancer model is a 178-2 BMA cell model. In another embodiment, the prostate cancer model is a PAIII adenocarcinoma cells model. In another embodiment, the prostate cancer model is a PC-3M model. In another embodiment, the prostate cancer model is any other prostate cancer model known in the art. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the vaccine is tested in human subjects, and efficacy is monitored using methods well known in the art, e.g. directly measuring CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses, or measuring disease progression, e.g. by determining the number or size of tumor metastases, or monitoring disease symptoms (cough, chest pain, weight loss, etc). Methods for assessing the efficacy of a prostate cancer vaccine in human subjects are well known in the art, and are described, for example, in Uenaka A et al (T cell immunomonitoring and tumor responses in patients immunized with a complex of cholesterol-bearing hydrophobized pullulan (CHP) and NY-ESO-1 protein. Cancer Immun. 2007 Apr. 19; 7:9) and Thomas-Kaskel A K et al (Vaccination of advanced prostate cancer patients with PSCA and PSA peptide-loaded dendritic cells induces DTH responses that correlate with superior overall survival. Int J Cancer. 2006 Nov. 15; 119(10):2428-34). Each method represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of treating benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) in a subject. In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of treating Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN) in a subject

In one embodiment, provided herein is a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a nucleic acid molecule operably integrated into the Listeria genome. In another embodiment said nucleic acid molecule encodes (a) an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence and (b) a polypeptide comprising an antigen in an open reading frame.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of treating, suppressing, or inhibiting at least one tumor in a subject, comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject. In another embodiment, said recombinant Listeria strain comprises a first and second nucleic acid molecule. In another embodiment, each said nucleic acid molecule encodes a heterologous antigen. In another embodiment, said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with a native polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence and wherein said antigen is expressed by at least one cell of said tumor.

In one embodiment, “antigen” is used herein to refer to a substance that when placed in contact with an organism, results in a detectable immune response from the organism. An antigen may be a lipid, peptide, protein, carbohydrate, nucleic acid, or combinations and variations thereof.

In one embodiment, “variant” refers to an amino acid or nucleic acid sequence (or in other embodiments, an organism or tissue) that is different from the majority of the population but is still sufficiently similar to the common mode to be considered to be one of them, for example splice variants.

In one embodiment, “isoform” refers to a version of a molecule, for example, a protein, with only slight differences compared to another isoform, or version, of the same protein. In one embodiment, isoforms may be produced from different but related genes, or in another embodiment, may arise from the same gene by alternative splicing. In another embodiment, isoforms are caused by single nucleotide polymorphisms.

In one embodiment, “fragment” refers to a protein or polypeptide that is shorter or comprises fewer amino acids than the full length protein or polypeptide. In another embodiment, fragment refers to a nucleic acid that is shorter or comprises fewer nucleotides than the full length nucleic acid. In another embodiment, the fragment is an N-terminal fragment. In another embodiment, the fragment is a C-terminal fragment. In one embodiment, the fragment is an intrasequential section of the protein, peptide, or nucleic acid. In one embodiment, the fragment is a functional fragment. In another embodiment, the fragment is an immunogenic fragment. In one embodiment, a fragment has 10-20 nucleic or amino acids, while in another embodiment, a fragment has more than 5 nucleic or amino acids, while in another embodiment, a fragment has 100-200 nucleic or amino acids, while in another embodiment, a fragment has 100-500 nucleic or amino acids, while in another embodiment, a fragment has 50-200 nucleic or amino acids, while in another embodiment, a fragment has 10-250 nucleic or amino acids.

In one embodiment, “immunogenicity” or “immunogenic” is used herein to refer to the innate ability of a protein, peptide, nucleic acid, antigen or organism to elicit an immune response in an animal when the protein, peptide, nucleic acid, antigen or organism is administered to the animal. Thus, “enhancing the immunogenicity” in one embodiment, refers to increasing the ability of a protein, peptide, nucleic acid, antigen or organism to elicit an immune response in an animal when the protein, peptide, nucleic acid, antigen or organism is administered to an animal. The increased ability of a protein, peptide, nucleic acid, antigen or organism to elicit an immune response can be measured by, in one embodiment, a greater number of antibodies to a protein, peptide, nucleic acid, antigen or organism, a greater diversity of antibodies to an antigen or organism, a greater number of T-cells specific for a protein, peptide, nucleic acid, antigen or organism, a greater cytotoxic or helper T-cell response to a protein, peptide, nucleic acid, antigen or organism, and the like.

In one embodiment, a “homologue” refers to a nucleic acid or amino acid sequence which shares a certain percentage of sequence identity with a particular nucleic acid or amino acid sequence. In one embodiment, a sequence useful in the composition and methods as provided herein may be a homologue of a particular LLO sequence or N-terminal fragment thereof, ActA sequence or N-terminal fragment thereof, or PEST-like sequence described herein or known in the art. In one embodiment, such a homolog maintains In another embodiment, a sequence useful in the composition and methods as provided herein may be a homologue of an antigenic polypeptide, which in one embodiment, is KLK3 or HMW-MAA or a functional fragment thereof. In one embodiment, a homolog of a polypeptide and, in one embodiment, the nucleic acid encoding such a homolog, of the present invention maintains the functional characteristics of the parent polypeptide. For example, in one embodiment, a homolog of an antigenic polypeptide of the present invention maintains the antigenic characteristic of the parent polypeptide. In another embodiment, a sequence useful in the composition and methods as provided herein may be a homologue of any sequence described herein. In one embodiment, a homologue shares at least 70% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 72% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 75% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 78% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 80% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 82% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 83% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 85% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 87% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 88% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 90% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 92% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 93% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 95% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 96% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 97% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 98% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares at least 99% identity with a particular sequence. In another embodiment, a homologue shares 100% identity with a particular sequence. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

In one embodiment, it is to be understood that a homolog of any of the sequences as provided herein and/or as described herein is considered to be a part of the invention.

In one embodiment, “functional” within the meaning of the invention, is used herein to refer to the innate ability of a protein, peptide, nucleic acid, fragment or a variant thereof to exhibit a biological activity or function. In one embodiment, such a biological function is its binding property to an interaction partner, e.g., a membrane-associated receptor, and in another embodiment, its trimerization property. In the case of functional fragments and the functional variants of the invention, these biological functions may in fact be changed, e.g., with respect to their specificity or selectivity, but with retention of the basic biological function.

In one embodiment, “treating” refers to both therapeutic treatment and prophylactic or preventative measures, wherein the object is to prevent or lessen the targeted pathologic condition or disorder as described herein. Thus, in one embodiment, treating may include directly affecting or curing, suppressing, inhibiting, preventing, reducing the severity of, delaying the onset of, reducing symptoms associated with the disease, disorder or condition, or a combination thereof. Thus, in one embodiment, “treating” refers inter alia to delaying progression, expediting remission, inducing remission, augmenting remission, speeding recovery, increasing efficacy of or decreasing resistance to alternative therapeutics, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, “preventing” or “impeding” refers, inter alia, to delaying the onset of symptoms, preventing relapse to a disease, decreasing the number or frequency of relapse episodes, increasing latency between symptomatic episodes, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, “suppressing” or “inhibiting”, refers inter alia to reducing the severity of symptoms, reducing the severity of an acute episode, reducing the number of symptoms, reducing the incidence of disease-related symptoms, reducing the latency of symptoms, ameliorating symptoms, reducing secondary symptoms, reducing secondary infections, prolonging patient survival, or a combination thereof.

In one embodiment, symptoms are primary, while in another embodiment, symptoms are secondary. In one embodiment, “primary” refers to a symptom that is a direct result of a particular disease or disorder, while in one embodiment, “secondary” refers to a symptom that is derived from or consequent to a primary cause. In one embodiment, the compounds for use in the present invention treat primary or secondary symptoms or secondary complications. In another embodiment, “symptoms” may be any manifestation of a disease or pathological condition.

In some embodiments, the term “comprising” refers to the inclusion of other recombinant polypeptides, amino acid sequences, or nucleic acid sequences, as well as inclusion of other polypeptides, amino acid sequences, or nucleic acid sequences, that may be known in the art, which in one embodiment may comprise antigens or Listeria polypeptides, amino acid sequences, or nucleic acid sequences. In some embodiments, the term “consisting essentially of” refers to a composition for use in the methods as provided herein, which has the specific recombinant polypeptide, amino acid sequence, or nucleic acid sequence, or fragment thereof. However, other polypeptides, amino acid sequences, or nucleic acid sequences may be included that are not involved directly in the utility of the recombinant polypeptide(s). In some embodiments, the term “consisting” refers to a composition for use in the methods as provided herein having a particular recombinant polypeptide, amino acid sequence, or nucleic acid sequence, or fragment or combination of recombinant polypeptides, amino acid sequences, or nucleic acid sequences or fragments as provided herein, in any form or embodiment as described herein.

In one embodiment, the compositions for use in the methods as provided herein are administered intravenously. In another embodiment, the vaccine is administered orally, whereas in another embodiment, the vaccine is administered parenterally (e.g., subcutaneously, intramuscularly, and the like).

Further, in another embodiment, the compositions or vaccines are administered as a suppository, for example a rectal suppository or a urethral suppository. Further, in another embodiment, the pharmaceutical compositions are administered by subcutaneous implantation of a pellet. In a further embodiment, the pellet provides for controlled release of an agent over a period of time. In yet another embodiment, the pharmaceutical compositions are administered in the form of a capsule.

In one embodiment, the route of administration may be parenteral. In another embodiment, the route may be intra-ocular, conjunctival, topical, transdermal, intradermal, subcutaneous, intraperitoneal, intravenous, intra-arterial, vaginal, rectal, intratumoral, parcanceral, transmucosal, intramuscular, intravascular, intraventricular, intracranial, inhalation (aerosol), nasal aspiration (spray), intranasal (drops), sublingual, oral, aerosol or suppository or a combination thereof. For intranasal administration or application by inhalation, solutions or suspensions of the compounds mixed and aerosolized or nebulized in the presence of the appropriate carrier suitable. Such an aerosol may comprise any agent described herein. In one embodiment, the compositions as set forth herein may be in a form suitable for intracranial administration, which in one embodiment, is intrathecal and intracerebroventricular administration. In one embodiment, the regimen of administration will be determined by skilled clinicians, based on factors such as exact nature of the condition being treated, the severity of the condition, the age and general physical condition of the patient, body weight, and response of the individual patient, etc.

In one embodiment, parenteral application, particularly suitable are injectable, sterile solutions, preferably oily or aqueous solutions, as well as suspensions, emulsions, or implants, including suppositories and enemas. Ampoules are convenient unit dosages. Such a suppository may comprise any agent described herein.

In one embodiment, sustained or directed release compositions can be formulated, e.g., liposomes or those wherein the active compound is protected with differentially degradable coatings, e.g., by microencapsulation, multiple coatings, etc. Such compositions may be formulated for immediate or slow release. It is also possible to freeze-dry the new compounds and use the lyophilisates obtained, for example, for the preparation of products for injection.

In one embodiment, for liquid formulations, pharmaceutically acceptable carriers may be aqueous or non-aqueous solutions, suspensions, emulsions or oils. Examples of non-aqueous solvents are propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, and injectable organic esters such as ethyl oleate. Aqueous carriers include water, alcoholic/aqueous solutions, emulsions or suspensions, including saline and buffered media. Examples of oils are those of petroleum, animal, vegetable, or synthetic origin, for example, peanut oil, soybean oil, mineral oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and fish-liver oil.

In one embodiment, compositions of this invention are pharmaceutically acceptable. In one embodiment, the term “pharmaceutically acceptable” refers to any formulation which is safe, and provides the appropriate delivery for the desired route of administration of an effective amount of at least one compound for use in the present invention. This term refers to the use of buffered formulations as well, wherein the pH is maintained at a particular desired value, ranging from pH 4.0 to pH 9.0, in accordance with the stability of the compounds and route of administration.

In one embodiment, a composition of or used in the methods of this invention may be administered alone or within a composition. In another embodiment, compositions of this invention admixture with conventional excipients, i.e., pharmaceutically acceptable organic or inorganic carrier substances suitable for parenteral, enteral (e.g., oral) or topical application which do not deleteriously react with the active compounds may be used. In one embodiment, suitable pharmaceutically acceptable carriers include but are not limited to water, salt solutions, alcohols, gum arabic, vegetable oils, benzyl alcohols, polyethylene glycols, gelatine, carbohydrates such as lactose, amylose or starch, magnesium stearate, talc, silicic acid, viscous paraffin, white paraffin, glycerol, alginates, hyaluronic acid, collagen, perfume oil, fatty acid monoglycerides and diglycerides, pentaerythritol fatty acid esters, hydroxy methylcellulose, polyvinyl pyrrolidone, etc. In another embodiment, the pharmaceutical preparations can be sterilized and if desired mixed with auxiliary agents, e.g., lubricants, preservatives, stabilizers, wetting agents, emulsifiers, salts for influencing osmotic pressure, buffers, coloring, flavoring and/or aromatic substances and the like which do not deleteriously react with the active compounds. In another embodiment, they can also be combined where desired with other active agents, e.g., vitamins.

In one embodiment, the compositions for use of the methods and compositions as provided herein may be administered with a carrier/diluent. Solid carriers/diluents include, but are not limited to, a gum, a starch (e.g., corn starch, pregeletanized starch), a sugar (e.g., lactose, mannitol, sucrose, dextrose), a cellulosic material (e.g., microcrystalline cellulose), an acrylate (e.g., polymethylacrylate), calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, talc, or mixtures thereof.

In one embodiment, the compositions of the methods and compositions as provided herein may comprise the composition of this invention and one or more additional compounds effective in preventing or treating cancer. In some embodiments, the additional compound may comprise a compound useful in chemotherapy, which in one embodiment, is Cisplatin. In another embodiment, Ifosfamide, Fluorouracilor5-FU, Irinotecan, Paclitaxel (Taxol), Docetaxel, Gemcitabine, Topotecan or a combination thereof, may be administered with a composition as provided herein for use in the methods as provided herein. In another embodiment, Amsacrine, Bleomycin, Busulfan, Capecitabine, Carboplatin, Carmustine, Chlorambucil, Cisplatin, Cladribine, Clofarabine, Crisantaspase, Cyclophosphamide, Cytarabine, Dacarbazine, Dactinomycin, Daunorubicin, Docetaxel, Doxorubicin, Epirubicin, Etoposide, Fludarabine, Fluorouracil, Gemcitabine, Gliadelimplants, Hydroxycarbamide, Idarubicin, Ifosfamide, Irinotecan, Leucovorin, Liposomaldoxorubicin, Liposomaldaunorubicin, Lomustine, Melphalan, Mercaptopurine, Mesna, Methotrexate, Mitomycin, Mitoxantrone, Oxaliplatin, Paclitaxel, Pemetrexed, Pentostatin, Procarbazine, Raltitrexed, Satraplatin, Streptozocin, Tegafur-uracil, Temozolomide, Teniposide, Thiotepa, Tioguanine, Topotecan, Treosulfan, Vinblastine, Vincristine, Vindesine, Vinorelbine, or a combination thereof, may be administered with a composition as provided herein for use in the methods as provided herein.

In another embodiment, fusion proteins as provided herein are prepared by a process comprising subcloning of appropriate sequences, followed by expression of the resulting nucleotide. In another embodiment, subsequences are cloned and the appropriate subsequences cleaved using appropriate restriction enzymes. The fragments are then ligated, in another embodiment, to produce the desired DNA sequence. In another embodiment, DNA encoding the fusion protein is produced using DNA amplification methods, for example polymerase chain reaction (PCR). First, the segments of the native DNA on either side of the new terminus are amplified separately. The 5′ end of the one amplified sequence encodes the peptide linker, while the 3′ end of the other amplified sequence also encodes the peptide linker. Since the 5′ end of the first fragment is complementary to the 3′ end of the second fragment, the two fragments (after partial purification, e.g. on LMP agarose) can be used as an overlapping template in a third PCR reaction. The amplified sequence will contain codons, the segment on the carboxy side of the opening site (now forming the amino sequence), the linker, and the sequence on the amino side of the opening site (now forming the carboxyl sequence). The insert is then ligated into a plasmid. In another embodiment, a similar strategy is used to produce a protein wherein an HMW-MAA fragment is embedded within a heterologous peptide.

In one embodiment, the present invention also provides a recombinant Listeria comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a recombinant Listeria capable of expressing and secreting two distinct heterologous antigens comprising a first antigen that is operably integrated in the genome as an open reading frame with a first polypeptide or fragment thereof comprising a PEST sequence and a second antigen that is operably integrated in the genome as an open reading frame with a second polypeptide or fragment thereof comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, said first or second polypeptide or fragment thereof is ActA, or LLO. In another embodiment, said first or second antigen is prostate tumor-associated antigen (PSA), or High Molecular Weight-Melanoma Associated Antigen (HMWMAA). In another embodiment, said fragment is an immunogenic fragment. In yet another embodiment, said episomal expression vector lacks an antibiotic resistance marker.

In another embodiment, the first and second antigen are distinct. In another embodiment, said first and second antigens are concomitantly expressed. In another embodiment, said first or second antigen are expressed at the same level. In another embodiment, said first or second antigen are differentially expressed. In another embodiment, gene or protein expression is determined by methods that are well known in the art which in another embodiment comprise real-time PCR, northern blotting, immunoblotting, etc. In another embodiment, said first or second antigen's expression is controlled by an inducible system, while in another embodiment, said first or second antigen's expression is controlled by a constitutive promoter. In another embodiment, inducible expression systems are well known in the art.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of preparing a recombinant Listeria capable of expressing and secreting two distinct heterologous antigens that target tumor cells and angiogenesis concomitantly. In another embodiment, said method of preparing said recombinant Listeria comprises the steps of genetically fusing a first antigen into the genome that is operably linked to an open reading frame encoding a first polypeptide or fragment thereof comprising a PEST sequence and transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector encoding a second antigen that is operably linked to an open reading frame encoding a second polypeptide or fragment thereof comprising a PEST sequence. In another embodiment, said method of preparing said recombinant Listeria comprises the steps of genetically fusing a first antigen into the genome that is operably linked to an open reading frame encoding a first polypeptide or fragment thereof comprising a PEST sequence and genetically fusing a second antigen that is operably linked to an open reading frame encoding a second polypeptide or fragment thereof comprising a PEST sequence.

Methods for transforming bacteria are well known in the art, and include calcium-chloride competent cell-based methods, electroporation methods, bacteriophage-mediated transduction, chemical, and physical transformation techniques (de Boer et al, 1989, Cell 56:641-649; Miller et al, 1995, FASEB J., 9:190-199; Sambrook et al. 1989, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York; Ausubel et al., 1997, Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons, New York; Gerhardt et al., eds., 1994, Methods for General and Molecular Bacteriology, American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C.; Miller, 1992, A Short Course in Bacterial Genetics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) In another embodiment, the Listeria vaccine strain as provided herein is transformed by electroporation. Each method represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of inducing an immune response to an antigen in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain to said subject, wherein said recombinant Listeria strain comprises a first and second nucleic acid molecule, each said nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said first nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome as an open reading frame with a nucleic acid encoding an endogenous polypeptide comprising a PEST sequence.

In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of inhibiting the onset of cancer, said method comprising the step of administering a recombinant Listeria composition that expresses two distinct heterologous antigens specifically expressed in said cancer.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of treating a first and a second tumor in a subject, said method comprising the step of administering a recombinant Listeria composition that expresses two distinct heterologous antigens specifically expressed on said first and second tumor.

In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of ameliorating symptoms that are associated with a cancer in a subject, said method comprising the step of administering a recombinant Listeria composition that expresses two distinct heterologous antigens specifically expressed in said cancer.

In one embodiment, provided herein is a method of protecting a subject from cancer, said method comprising the step of administering a recombinant Listeria composition that expresses two distinct heterologous antigens specifically expressed in said cancer

In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of delaying onset of cancer, said method comprising the step of administering a recombinant Listeria composition that expresses two distinct heterologous antigens specifically expressed in said cancer. In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of treating metastatic cancer, said method comprising the step of administering a recombinant Listeria composition that expresses two distinct heterologous antigens specifically expressed in said cancer. In another embodiment, provided herein is a method of preventing metastatic canceror micrometastatis, said method comprising the step of administering a recombinant Listeria composition that expresses two distinct heterologous antigens specifically expressed in said cancer. In another embodiment, the recombinant Listeria composition is administered orally or parenterally.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides a method of producing a recombinant Listeria strain expressing two antigens, the method comprising: (a) genetically fusing a first nucleic acid encoding a first antigen into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene; (b) transforming said recombinant Listeria with an episomal expression vector comprising a second nucleic acid encoding a second antigen; and (c) expressing said first and second antigens under conditions conducive to antigenic expression in said recombinant Listeria strain. In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of producing a recombinant Listeria strain expressing two antigens, the method comprising: (a) genetically fusing a first nucleic acid encoding a first antigen and a second nucleic acid encoding a second antigen into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene; and (b) expressing said first and second antigens under conditions conducive to antigenic expression in said recombinant Listeria strain. In one embodiment, genetic fusion is via homologous recombination, as described herein. In one embodiment, conditions conducive to antigenic expression are known in the art.

In another embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein, “nucleic acids” or “nucleotide” refers to a string of at least two base-sugar-phosphate combinations. The term includes, in one embodiment, DNA and RNA. “Nucleotides” refers, in one embodiment, to the monomeric units of nucleic acid polymers. RNA may be, in one embodiment, in the form of a tRNA (transfer RNA), snRNA (small nuclear RNA), rRNA (ribosomal RNA), mRNA (messenger RNA), anti-sense RNA, small inhibitory RNA (siRNA), micro RNA (miRNA) and ribozymes. The use of siRNA and miRNA has been described (Caudy A A et al, Genes & Devel 16: 2491-96 and references cited therein). DNA may be in form of plasmid DNA, viral DNA, linear DNA, or chromosomal DNA or derivatives of these groups. In addition, these forms of DNA and RNA may be single, double, triple, or quadruple stranded. The term also includes, in another embodiment, artificial nucleic acids that may contain other types of backbones but the same bases. In one embodiment, the artificial nucleic acid is a PNA (peptide nucleic acid). PNA contain peptide backbones and nucleotide bases and are able to bind, in one embodiment, to both DNA and RNA molecules. In another embodiment, the nucleotide is oxetane modified. In another embodiment, the nucleotide is modified by replacement of one or more phosphodiester bonds with a phosphorothioate bond. In another embodiment, the artificial nucleic acid contains any other variant of the phosphate backbone of native nucleic acids known in the art. The use of phosphothiorate nucleic acids and PNA are known to those skilled in the art, and are described in, for example, Neilsen P E, Curr Opin Struct Biol 9:353-57; and Raz N K et al Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 297:1075-84. The production and use of nucleic acids is known to those skilled in art and is described, for example, in Molecular Cloning, (2001), Sambrook and Russell, eds. and Methods in Enzymology: Methods for molecular cloning in eukaryotic cells (2003) Purchio and G. C. Fareed. Each nucleic acid derivative represents a separate embodiment as provided herein.

The terms “polypeptide,” “peptide” and “recombinant peptide” refer, in another embodiment, to a peptide or polypeptide of any length. In another embodiment, a peptide or recombinant peptide as provided herein has one of the lengths enumerated above for an HMW-MAA fragment. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein. In one embodiment, the term “peptide” refers to native peptides (either degradation products, synthetically synthesized peptides or recombinant peptides) and/or peptidomimetics (typically, synthetically synthesized peptides), such as peptoids and semipeptoids which are peptide analogs, which may have, for example, modifications rendering the peptides more stable while in a body or more capable of penetrating into cells. Such modifications include, but are not limited to N terminus modification, C terminus modification, peptide bond modification, including, but not limited to, CH2-NH, CH2-S, CH2-S═O, O═C—NH, CH2-O, CH2-CH2, S═C—NH, CH═CH or CF═CH, backbone modifications, and residue modification. Methods for preparing peptidomimetic compounds are well known in the art and are specified, for example, in Quantitative Drug Design, C. A. Ramsden Gd., Chapter 17.2, F. Choplin Pergamon Press (1992), which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein. Further details in this respect are provided hereinunder.

In one embodiment, “antigenic polypeptide” is used herein to refer to a polypeptide, peptide or recombinant peptide as described hereinabove that is foreign to a host and leads to the mounting of an immune response when present in, or, in another embodiment, detected by, the host.

Peptide bonds (—CO—NH—) within the peptide may be substituted, for example, by N-methylated bonds (—N(CH3)-CO—), ester bonds (—C(R)H—C—O—O—C(R)—N—), ketomethylen bonds (—CO—CH2-), *-aza bonds (—NH—N(R)—CO—), wherein R is any alkyl, e.g., methyl, carba bonds (—CH2-NH—), hydroxyethylene bonds (—CH(OH)—CH2-), thioamide bonds (—CS—NH—), olefinic double bonds (—CH═CH—), retro amide bonds (—NH—CO—), peptide derivatives (—N(R)—CH2-CO—), wherein R is the “normal” side chain, naturally presented on the carbon atom.

These modifications can occur at any of the bonds along the peptide chain and even at several (2-3) at the same time. Natural aromatic amino acids, Trp, Tyr and Phe, may be substituted for synthetic non-natural acid such as TIC, naphthylelanine (Nol), ring-methylated derivatives of Phe, halogenated derivatives of Phe or o-methyl-Tyr.

In addition to the above, the peptides as provided herein may also include one or more modified amino acids or one or more non-amino acid monomers (e.g. fatty acids, complex carbohydrates etc).

In one embodiment, the term “oligonucleotide” is interchangeable with the term “nucleic acid”, and may refer to a molecule, which may include, but is not limited to, prokaryotic sequences, eukaryotic mRNA, cDNA from eukaryotic mRNA, genomic DNA sequences from eukaryotic (e.g., mammalian) DNA, and even synthetic DNA sequences. The term also refers to sequences that include any of the known base analogs of DNA and RNA.

“Stably maintained” refers, in another embodiment, to maintenance of a nucleic acid molecule or plasmid in the absence of selection (e.g. antibiotic selection) for 10 generations, without detectable loss. In another embodiment, the period is 15 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 20 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 25 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 30 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 40 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 50 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 60 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 80 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 100 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 150 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 200 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 300 generations. In another embodiment, the period is 500 generations. In another embodiment, the period is more than 500 generations. In another embodiment, the nucleic acid molecule or plasmid is maintained stably in vitro (e.g. in culture). In another embodiment, the nucleic acid molecule or plasmid is maintained stably in vivo. In another embodiment, the nucleic acid molecule or plasmid is maintained stably both in vitro and in vitro. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the term “amino acid” or “amino acids” is understood to include the 20 naturally occurring amino acids; those amino acids often modified post-translationally in vivo, including, for example, hydroxyproline, phosphoserine and phosphothreonine; and other unusual amino acids including, but not limited to, 2-aminoadipic acid, hydroxylysine, isodesmosine, nor-valine, nor-leucine and ornithine. Furthermore, the term “amino acid” may include both D- and L-amino acids.

The term “nucleic acid” or “nucleic acid sequence” refers to a deoxyribonucleotide or ribonucleotide oligonucleotide in either single- or double-stranded form. The term encompasses nucleic acids, i.e., oligonucleotides, containing known analogues of natural nucleotides which have similar or improved binding properties, for the purposes desired, as the reference nucleic acid. The term also includes nucleic acids which are metabolized in a manner similar to naturally occurring nucleotides or at rates that are improved thereover for the purposes desired. The term also encompasses nucleic-acid-like structures with synthetic backbones. DNA backbone analogues provided by the invention include phosphodiester, phosphorothioate, phosphorodithioate, methylphosphonate, phosphoramidate, alkyl phosphotriester, sulfamate, 3′-thioacetal, methylene(methylimino), 3′-N-carbamate, morpholino carbamate, and peptide nucleic acids (PNAs); see, e.g., Oligonucleotides and Analogues, a Practical Approach, edited by F. Eckstein, IRL Press at Oxford University Press (1991); Antisense Strategies, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 600, Eds. Baserga and Denhardt (NYAS 1992); Mulligan (1993) J. Med. Chem. 36:1923-1937; Antisense Research and Applications (1993, CRC Press). PNAs contain non-ionic backbones, such as N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine units. Phosphorothioate linkages are described, e.g., in WO 97/03211; WO 96/39154; Mata (1997) Toxicol. Appi. Pharmacol. 144:189-197. Other synthetic backbones encompasses by the term include methyl-phosphonate linkages or alternating methyiphosphonate and phosphodiester linkages (Strauss-Soukup (1997) Biochemistry 36:8692-8698), and benzylphosphonate linkages (Samstag (1996) Antisense Nucleic Acid Drug Dev. 6:153-156). The term nucleic acid is used interchangeably with gene, cDNA, mRNA, oligonucleotide primer, probe and amplification product.

In one embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein, the term “recombination site” or “site-specific recombination site” refers to a sequence of bases in a nucleic acid molecule that is recognized by a recombinase (along with associated proteins, in some cases) that mediates exchange or excision of the nucleic acid segments flanking the recombination sites. The recombinases and associated proteins are collectively referred to as “recombination proteins” see, e.g., Landy, A., (Current Opinion in Genetics & Development) 3:699-707; 1993).

A “phage expression vector” or “phagemid” refers to any phage-based recombinant expression system for the purpose of expressing a nucleic acid sequence of the methods and compositions as provided herein in vitro or in vivo, constitutively or inducibly, in any cell, including prokaryotic, yeast, fungal, plant, insect or mammalian cell. A phage expression vector typically can both reproduce in a bacterial cell and, under proper conditions, produce phage particles. The term includes linear or circular expression systems and encompasses both phage-based expression vectors that remain episomal or integrate into the host cell genome.

In one embodiment, the term “operably linked” as used herein means that the transcriptional and translational regulatory nucleic acid, is positioned relative to any coding sequences in such a manner that transcription is initiated. Generally, this will mean that the promoter and transcriptional initiation or start sequences are positioned 5′ to the coding region.

In one embodiment, an “open reading frame” or “ORF” is a portion of an organism's genome which contains a sequence of bases that could potentially encode a protein. In another embodiment, the start and stop ends of the ORF are not equivalent to the ends of the mRNA, but they are usually contained within the mRNA. In one embodiment, ORFs are located between the start-code sequence (initiation codon) and the stop-codon sequence (termination codon) of a gene. Thus, in one embodiment, a nucleic acid molecule operably integrated into a genome as an open reading frame with an endogenous polypeptide is a nucleic acid molecule that has integrated into a genome in the same open reading frame as an endogenous polypeptide.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides a fusion polypeptide comprising a linker sequence. In one embodiment, a “linker sequence” refers to an amino acid sequence that joins two heterologous polypeptides, or fragments or domains thereof. In general, as used herein, a linker is an amino acid sequence that covalently links the polypeptides to form a fusion polypeptide. A linker typically includes the amino acids translated from the remaining recombination signal after removal of a reporter gene from a display vector to create a fusion protein comprising an amino acid sequence encoded by an open reading frame and the display protein. As appreciated by one of skill in the art, the linker can comprise additional amino acids, such as glycine and other small neutral amino acids.

In one embodiment, “endogenous” as used herein describes an item that has developed or originated within the reference organism or arisen from causes within the reference organism. In another embodiment, endogenous refers to native.

In one embodiment, “heterologous” as used herein describes a nucleic acid, amino acid, peptide, polypeptide, or protein derived from a different species than the reference species. Thus, for example, a Listeria strain expressing a heterologous polypeptide, in one embodiment, would express a polypeptide that is not native or endogenous to the Listeria strain, or in another embodiment, a polypeptide that is not normally expressed by the Listeria strain, or in another embodiment, a polypeptide from a source other than the Listeria strain. In another embodiment, heterologous may be used to describe something derived from a different organism within the same species. In another embodiment, the heterologous antigen is expressed by a recombinant strain of Listeria, and is processed and presented to cytotoxic T-cells upon infection of mammalian cells by the recombinant strain. In another embodiment, the heterologous antigen expressed by Listeria species need not precisely match the corresponding unmodified antigen or protein in the tumor cell or infectious agent so long as it results in a T-cell response that recognizes the unmodified antigen or protein which is naturally expressed in the mammal.

In one embodiment, an “episomal expression vector” as described herein refers to a nucleic acid vector which may be linear or circular, and which is usually double-stranded in form. In one embodiemnt, an episomal expression vector comprises a gene of interest. In another embodiment, the inserted gene of interest is not interrupted or subjected to regulatory constraints which often occur from integration into cellular DNA. In another embodiment, the presence of the inserted heterologous gene does not lead to rearrangement or interruption of the cell's own important regions. In another embodiment, episomal vectors persist in multiple copies in the bacterial cytoplasm, resulting in amplification of the gene of interest, and, in another embodiment, viral trans-acting factors are supplied when necessary. In another embodiment, in stable transfection procedures, the use of episomal vectors often results in higher transfection efficiency than the use of chromosome-integrating plasmids (Belt, P. B. G. M., et al (1991) Efficient cDNA cloning by direct phenotypic correction of a mutant human cell line (HPRT2) using an Epstein-Barr virus-derived cDNA expression vector. Nucleic Acids Res. 19, 4861-4866; Mazda, O., et al. (1997) Extremely efficient gene transfection into lympho-hematopoietic cell lines by Epstein-Barr virus-based vectors. J. Immunol. Methods 204, 143-151). In one embodiment, the episomal expression vectors of the methods and compositions as provided herein may be delivered to cells in vivo, ex vivo, or in vitro by any of a variety of the methods employed to deliver DNA molecules to cells. The vectors may also be delivered alone or in the form of a pharmaceutical composition that enhances delivery to cells of a subject.

In one embodiment, “fused” refers to linkage by covalent bonding.

“Transforming,” in one embodiment, refers to engineering a bacterial cell to take up a plasmid or other heterologous DNA molecule. In another embodiment, “transforming” refers to engineering a bacterial cell to express a gene of a plasmid or other heterologous DNA molecule. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In another embodiment, conjugation is used to introduce genetic material and/or plasmids into bacteria. Methods for conjugation are well known in the art, and are described, for example, in Nikodinovic J et al (A second generation snp-derived Escherichia coli-Streptomyces shuttle expression vector that is generally transferable by conjugation. Plasmid. 2006 November; 56(3):223-7) and Auchtung J M et al (Regulation of a Bacillus subtilis mobile genetic element by intercellular signaling and the global DNA damage response. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005 Aug. 30; 102(35):12554-9). Each method represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

“Metabolic enzyme” refers, in another embodiment, to an enzyme involved in synthesis of a nutrient required by the host bacteria. In another embodiment, the term refers to an enzyme required for synthesis of a nutrient required by the host bacteria. In another embodiment, the term refers to an enzyme involved in synthesis of a nutrient utilized by the host bacteria. In another embodiment, the term refers to an enzyme involved in synthesis of a nutrient required for sustained growth of the host bacteria. In another embodiment, the enzyme is required for synthesis of the nutrient. Each possibility represents a separate embodiment of the methods and compositions as provided herein.

In one embodiment, the term “attenuation,” as used herein, is meant a diminution in the ability of the bacterium to cause disease in an animal. In other words, the pathogenic characteristics of the attenuated Listeria strain have been lessened compared with wild-type Listeria, although the attenuated Listeria is capable of growth and maintenance in culture. Using as an example the intravenous inoculation of Balb/c mice with an attenuated Listeria, the lethal dose at which 50% of inoculated animals survive (LD50) is preferably increased above the LD50 of wild-type Listeria by at least about 10-fold, more preferably by at least about 100-fold, more preferably at least about 1,000 fold, even more preferably at least about 10,000 fold, and most preferably at least about 100,000-fold. An attenuated strain of Listeria is thus one which does not kill an animal to which it is administered, or is one which kills the animal only when the number of bacteria administered is vastly greater than the number of wild type non-attenuated bacteria which would be required to kill the same animal. An attenuated bacterium should also be construed to mean one which is incapable of replication in the general environment because the nutrient required for its growth is not present therein. Thus, the bacterium is limited to replication in a controlled environment wherein the required nutrient is provided. The attenuated strains of the present invention are therefore environmentally safe in that they are incapable of uncontrolled replication.

The term “about” as used herein means in quantitative terms plus or minus 5%, or in another embodiment plus or minus 10%, or in another embodiment plus or minus 15%, or in another embodiment plus or minus 20%.

The term “subject” refers in one embodiment to a mammal including a human in need of therapy for, or susceptible to, a condition or its sequelae. The subject may include dogs, cats, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, horses, rats, and mice and humans. In one embodiment, the term “subject” does not exclude an individual that is healthy in all respects and does not have or show signs of disease or disorder.

In one embodiment, the Listeria as provided herein expresses a heterologous polypeptide, as described herein, in another embodiment, the Listeria as provided herein secretes a heterologous polypeptide, as described herein, and in another embodiment, the Listeria as provided herein expresses and secretes a heterologous polypeptide, as described herein. In another embodiment, the Listeria as provided herein comprises a heterologous polypeptide, and in another embodiment, comprises a nucleic acid that encodes a heterologous polypeptide.

In one embodiment, Listeria strains as provided herein may be used in the preparation of vaccines. In one embodiment, Listeria strains as provided herein may be used in the preparation of peptide vaccines. Methods for preparing peptide vaccines are well known in the art and are described, for example, in EP1408048, United States Patent Application Number 20070154953, and OGASAWARA et al (Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 89, pp. 8995-8999, October 1992). In one embodiment, peptide evolution techniques are used to create an antigen with higher immunogenicity. Techniques for peptide evolution are well known in the art and are described, for example in U.S. Pat. No. 6,773,900.

In one embodiment, the vaccines of the methods and compositions as provided herein may be administered to a host vertebrate animal, preferably a mammal, and more preferably a human, either alone or in combination with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. In another embodiment, the vaccine is administered in an amount effective to induce an immune response to the Listeria strain itself or to a heterologous antigen which the Listeria species has been modified to express. In another embodiment, the amount of vaccine to be administered may be routinely determined by one of skill in the art when in possession of the present disclosure. In another embodiment, a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier may include, but is not limited to, sterile distilled water, saline, phosphate buffered solutions or bicarbonate buffered solutions. In another embodiment, the pharmaceutically acceptable carrier selected and the amount of carrier to be used will depend upon several factors including the mode of administration, the strain of Listeria and the age and disease state of the vaccinee. In another embodiment, administration of the vaccine may be by an oral route, or it may be parenteral, intranasal, intramuscular, intravascular, intrarectal, intraperitoneal, or any one of a variety of well-known routes of administration. In another embodiment, the route of administration may be selected in accordance with the type of infectious agent or tumor to be treated.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of inducing an immune response to an antigen in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of treating, suppressing, or inhibiting a cancer in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of treating, suppressing, or inhibiting at least one tumor in a subject comprising administering a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method of producing a recombinant Listeria strain expressing an antigen, the method comprising genetically fusing a first nucleic acid encoding an antigen into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene; and expressing said antigen under conditions conducive to antigenic expression in said recombinant Listeria strain.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides any of the methods described hereinabove using a recombinant Listeria strain comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding a heterologous antigenic polypeptide or fragment thereof, wherein said nucleic acid molecule is operably integrated into the Listeria genome in an open reading frame with an endogenous PEST-containing gene.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a kit for conveniently practicing the methods as provided herein comprising one or more Listeria strains as provided herein, an applicator, and instructional material that describes how to use the kit components in practicing the methods as provided herein.

The following examples are presented in order to more fully illustrate the preferred embodiments of the invention. They should in no way be construed, however, as limiting the broad scope of the invention.

EXAMPLES

We developed a recombinant Lm that secretes PSA fused to tLLO (Lm-LLO-PSA), which elicits a potent PSA-specific immune response associated with regression of tumors in a mouse model for prostate cancer, wherein the expression of tLLO-PSA is derived from a plasmid based on pGG55 (Table 1), which confers antibiotic resistance to the vector. We recently developed a new strain for the PSA vaccine based on the pADV142 plasmid, which has no antibiotic resistance markers, and referred as LmddA-142 (Table 1). This new strain is 10 times more attenuated than Lm-LLO-PSA. In addition, LmddA-142 was slightly more immunogenic and significantly more efficacious in regressing PSA expressing tumors than the Lm-LLO-PSA.

TABLE 1
Plasmids and strains
PlasmidsFeatures
pGG55pAM401/pGB354 shuttle plasmid with gram(−) and
gram(+) cm resistance, LLO-E7 expression
cassette and a copy of Lm prfA gene
pTV3Derived from pGG55 by deleting cm genes and
inserting the Lm dal gene
pADV119Derived from pTV3 by deleting the prfA gene
pADV134Derived from pADV119 by replacing the Lm dal gene
by the Bacillus dal gene
pADV142Derived from pADV134 by replacing HPV16 e7
with klk3
pADV168Derived from pADV134 by replacing HPV16 e7
with hmw-maa2160-2258
StrainsGenotype
10403SWild-type Listeria monocytogenes:: str
XFL-710403S prfA(−)
Lmdd10403S dal(−) dat(−)
LmddA10403S dal(−) dat(−) actA(−)
LmddA-13410403S dal(−) dat(−) actA(−) pADV134
LmddA-14210403S dal(−) dat(−) actA(−) pADV142
Lmdd-14310403S dal(−) dat(−) with klk3 fused to the hly gene in the
chromosome
LmddA-14310403S dal(−) dat(−) actA(−) with klk3 fused to the hly
gene in the chromosome
LmddA-16810403S dal(−) dat(−) actA(−) pADV168
Lmdd-143/134Lmdd-143 pADV134
LmddA-LmddA-143 pADV134
143/134
Lmdd-143/168Lmdd-143 pADV168
LmddA-LmddA-143 pADV168
143/168

The sequence of the plasmid pAdv142 (6523 bp) was as follows:

cggagtgtatactggcttactatgaggcactgatgagggtgtcagtgaagtgcttcatgtggcaggagaaaaaaggctgcac cggtgcgtcagcagaatatgtgatacaggatatattccgatcctcgctcactgactcgctacgctcggtcgttcgactgcggcgagcggaa atggcttacgaacggggcggagatttcctggaagatgccaggaagatacttaacagggaagtgagagggccgcggcaaagccgtttttcc ataggctccgcccccctgacaagcatcacgaaatctgacgctcaaatcagtggtggcgaaacccgacaggactataaagataccaggcgt ttccccctggcggctccctcgtgcgctctcctgttcctgcctttcggtttaccggtgtcattccgctgttatggccgcgtttgtctcattccacgcc tgacactcagttccgggtaggcagttcgctccaagctggactgtatgcacgaaccccccgttcagtccgaccgctgcgccttatccggtaac tatcgtcttgagtccaacccggaaagacatgcaaaagcaccactggcagcagccactggtaattgatttagaggagttagtcttgaagtcatg cgccggttaaggctaaactgaaaggacaagttttggtgactgcgctcctccaagccagttacctcggttcaaagagttggtagctcagagaa ccttcgaaaaaccgccctgcaaggcggttttttcgttttcagagcaagagattacgcgcagaccaaaacgatctcaagaagatcatcttattaa tcagataaaatatttctagccctcctttgattagtatattcctatcttaaagttacttttatgtggaggcattaacatttgttaatgacgtcaaaaggat agcaagactagaataaagctataaagcaagcatataatattgcgtttcatctttagaagcgaatttcgccaatattataattatcaaaagagagg ggtggcaaacggtatttggcattattaggttaaaaaatgtagaaggagagtgaaacccatgaaaaaaataatgctagtttttattacacttatatt agttagtctaccaattgcgcaacaaactgaagcaaaggatgcatctgcattcaataaagaaaattcaatttcatccatggcaccaccagcatct ccgcctgcaagtcctaagacgccaatcgaaaagaaacacgcggatgaaatcgataagtatatacaaggattggattacaataaaaacaatg tattagtataccacggagatgcagtgacaaatgtgccgccaagaaaaggttacaaagatggaaatgaatatattgttgtggagaaaaagaag aaatccatcaatcaaaataatgcagacattcaagagtgaatgcaatttcgagcctaacctatccaggtgctctcgtaaaagcgaattcggaatt agtagaaaatcaaccagatgttctccctgtaaaacgtgattcattaacactcagcattgatttgccaggtatgactaatcaagacaataaaatag ttgtaaaaaatgccactaaatcaaacgttaacaacgcagtaaatacattagtggaaagatggaatgaaaaatatgctcaagcttatccaaatgt aagtgcaaaaattgattatgatgacgaaatggcttacagtgaatcacaattaattgcgaaatttggtacagcatttaaagctgtaaataatagctt gaatgtaaacttcggcgcaatcagtgaagggaaaatgcaagaagaagtcattagttttaaacaaatttactataacgtgaatgttaatgaacct acaagaccttccagatttttcggcaaagctgttactaaagagcagttgcaagcgcttggagtgaatgcagaaaatcctcctgcatatatctcaa gtgtggcgtatggccgtcaagtttatttgaaattatcaactaattcccatagtactaaagtaaaagctgcttttgatgctgccgtaagcggaaaat ctgtctcaggtgatgtagaactaacaaatatcatcaaaaattcttccttcaaagccgtaatttacggaggttccgcaaaagatgaagttcaaatc atcgacggcaacctcggagacttacgcgatattttgaaaaaaggcgctacttttaatcgagaaacaccaggagttcccattgcttatacaaca aacttcctaaaagacaatgaattagctgttattaaaaacaactcagaatatattgaaacaacttcaaaagcttatacagatggaaaaattaacat cgatcactctggaggatacgttgctcaattcaacatttcttgggatgaagtaaattatgatctcgagattgtgggaggctgggagtgcgagaa gcattcccaaccctggcaggtgcttgtggcctctcgtggcagggcagtctgcggcggtgttctggtgcaccccagtgggtcctcacagct gcccactgcatcaggaacaaaagcgtgatcttgctgggtcggcacagcctgtttcatcctgaagacacaggccaggtatttcaggtcagcc acagcttcccacacccgctctacgatatgagcctcctgaagaatcgattcctcaggccaggtgatgactccagccacgacctcatgctgctc cgcctgtcagagcctgccgagctcacggatgctgtgaaggtcatggacctgcccacccaggagccagcactggggaccacctgctacgc ctcaggctggggcagcattgaaccagaggagttcttgaccccaaagaaacttcagtgtgtggacctccatgttatttccaatgacgtgtgtgc gcaagttcaccctcagaaggtgaccaagttcatgctgtgtgctggacgctggacagggggcaaaagcacctgctcgggtgattctggggg cccacttgtctgttatggtgtgcttcaaggtatcacgtcatggggcagtgaaccatgtgccctgcccgaaaggccttccctgtacaccaaggt ggtgcattaccggaagtggatcaaggacaccatcgtggccaaccccTAAcccgggccactaactcaacgctagtagtggatttaatccc aaatgagccaacagaaccagaaccagaaacagaacaagtaacattggagttagaaatggaagaagaaaaaagcaatgatttcgtgtgaat aatgcacgaaatcattgcttatttttttaaaaagcgatatactagatataacgaaacaacgaactgaataaagaatacaaaaaaagagccacga ccagttaaagcctgagaaactttaactgcgagccttaattgattaccaccaatcaattaaagaagtcgagacccaaaatttggtaaagtatttaa ttactttattaatcagatacttaaatatctgtaaacccattatatcgggtttttgaggggatttcaagtctttaagaagataccaggcaatcaattaa gaaaaacttagttgattgccttttttgttgtgattcaactttgatcgtagcttctaactaattaattttcgtaagaaaggagaacagctgaatgaatat cccttttgttgtagaaactgtgcttcatgacggcttgttaaagtacaaatttaaaaatagtaaaattcgctcaatcactaccaagccaggtaaaag taaaggggctatttttgcgtatcgctcaaaaaaaagcatgattggcggacgtggcgttgttctgacttccgaagaagcgattcacgaaaatca agatacatttacgcattggacaccaaacgtttatcgttatggtacgtatgcagacgaaaaccgttcatacactaaaggacattctgaaaacaatt taagacaaatcaataccttctttattgattttgatattcacacggaaaaagaaactatttcagcaagcgatattttaacaacagctattgatttaggt tttatgcctacgttaattatcaaatctgataaaggttatcaagcatattttgttttagaaacgccagtctatgtgacttcaaaatcagaatttaaatct gtcaaagcagccaaaataatctcgcaaaatatccgagaatattttggaaagtcttgccagttgatctaacgtgcaatcattttgggattgctcgt ataccaagaacggacaatgtagaattttttgatcccaattaccgttattctttcaaagaatggcaagattggtctttcaaacaaacagataataag ggctttactcgttcaagtctaacggttttaagcggtacagaaggcaaaaaacaagtagatgaaccctggtttaatctcttattgcacgaaacga aattttcaggagaaaagggtttagtagggcgcaatagcgttatgtttaccctctctttagcctactttagttcaggctattcaatcgaaacgtgcg aatataatatgtttgagtttaataatcgattagatcaacccttagaagaaaaagaagtaatcaaaattgttagaagtgcctattcagaaaactatc aaggggctaatagggaatacattaccattctttgcaaagcttgggtatcaagtgatttaaccagtaaagatttatttgtccgtcaagggtggttta aattcaagaaaaaaagaagcgaacgtcaacgtgttcatttgtcagaatggaaagaagatttaatggcttatattagcgaaaaaagcgatgtat acaagccttatttagcgacgaccaaaaaagagattagagaagtgctaggcattcctgaacggacattagataaattgctgaaggtactgaag gcgaatcaggaaattttctttaagattaaaccaggaagaaatggtggcattcaacttgctagtgttaaatcattgttgctatcgatcattaaattaa aaaaagaagaacgagaaagctatataaaggcgctgacagcttcgtttaatttagaacgtacatttattcaagaaactctaaacaaattggcag aacgccccaaaacggacccacaactcgatttgtttagctacgatacaggctgaaaataaaacccgcactatgccattacatttatatctatgat acgtgtttgtttttctttgctggctagcttaattgcttatatttacctgcaataaaggatttcttacttccattatactcccattttccaaaaacatacgg ggaacacgggaacttattgtacaggccacctcatagttaatggtttcgagccttcctgcaatctcatccatggaaatatattcatccccctgccg gcctattaatgtgacttttgtgcccggcggatattcctgatccagctccaccataaattggtccatgcaaattcggccggcaattttcaggcgttt tcccttcacaaggatgtcggtccctttcaattttcggagccagccgtccgcatagcctacaggcaccgtcccgatccatgtgtctttttccgctg tgtactcggctccgtagctgacgctctcgccttttctgatcagtttgacatgtgacagtgtcgaatgcagggtaaatgccggacgcagctgaa acggtatctcgtccgacatgtcagcagacgggcgaaggccatacatgccgatgccgaatctgactgcattaaaaaagccttttttcagccgg agtccagcggcgctgttcgcgcagtggaccattagattctttaacggcagcggagcaatcagctctttaaagcgctcaaactgcattaagaa atagcctctttctttttcatccgctgtcgcaaaatgggtaaatacccctttgcactttaaacgagggttgcggtcaagaattgccatcacgttctga acttcttcctctgtttttacaccaagtctgttcatccccgtatcgaccttcagatgaaaatgaagagaaccttttttcgtgtggcgggctgcctcct gaagccattcaacagaataacctgttaaggtcacgtcatactcagcagcgattgccacatactccgggggaaccgcgccaagcaccaatat aggcgccttcaatccctttttgcgcagtgaaatcgcttcatccaaaatggccacggccaagcatgaagcacctgcgtcaagagcagcctttg ctgtttctgcatcaccatgcccgtaggcgtttgctttcacaactgccatcaagtggacatgttcaccgatatgttttttcatattgctgacattttcct ttatcgcggacaagtcaatttccgcccacgtatctctgtaaaaaggttttgtgctcatggaaaactcctctcttttttcagaaaatcccagtacgta attaagtatttgagaattaattttatattgattaatactaagtttacccagttttcacctaaaaaacaaatgatgagataatagctccaaaggctaaa gaggactataccaactatttgttaattaa (SEQ ID NO: 46). This plasmid was sequenced at Genewiz facility from the E. coli strain on Feb. 20, 2008.

Example 1

Construction of Attenuated Listeria Strain-LmddΔactA and Insertion of the Human klk3 Gene in Frame to the hly Gene in the Lmdd and Lmdda Strains

The strain Lm dal dat (Lmdd) was attenuated by the irreversible deletion of the virulence factor, ActA. An in-frame deletion of actA in the Lmdaldat (Lmdd) background was constructed to avoid any polar effects on the expression of downstream genes. The Lm dal dat ΔactA contains the first 19 amino acids at the N-terminal and 28 amino acid residues of the C-terminal with a deletion of 591 amino acids of ActA.

The actA deletion mutant was produced by amplifying the chromosomal region corresponding to the upstream (657 bp-oligo's Adv 271/272) and downstream (625 bp- oligo's Adv 273/274) portions of actA and joining by PCR. The sequence of the primers used for this amplification is given in the Table 2. The upstream and downstream DNA regions of actA were cloned in the pNEB 193 at the EcoRI/PstI restriction site and from this plasmid, the EcoRI/PstI was further cloned in the temperature sensitive plasmid pKSV7, resulting in ΔactA/pKSV7 (pAdv120).

TABLE 2
Sequence of primers that was
used for the amplification
of DNA sequences upstream
and downstream of actA
SEQ ID
PrimerSequenceNO:
Adv271-cg GAATTCGGATCCgcgc47
actAF1caaatcattggttgattg
Adv272-gcgaGTCGACgtcggggtt48
actAR1aatcgtaatgcaattggc
Adv273-gcgaGTCGACccatacga49
actAF2cgttaattcttgcaatg
Adv274-gataCTGCAGGGATCCttcc50
actAR2cttctcggtaatcagtcac

The deletion of the gene from its chromosomal location was verified using primers that bind externally to the actA deletion region, which are shown in FIG. 1 as primer 3 (Adv 305-tgggatggccaagaaattc, SEQ ID NO: 51) and primer 4 (Adv304-ctaccatgtcttccgttgcttg; SEQ ID NO: 52). The PCR analysis was performed on the chromosomal DNA isolated from Lmdd and LmddΔactA. The sizes of the DNA fragments after amplification with two different sets of primer pairs 1/2 and 3/4 in Lmdd chromosomal DNA was expected to be 3.0 Kb and 3.4 Kb. On the other hand, the expected sizes of PCR using the primer pairs 1/2 and 3/4 for the LmddΔactA was 1.2 Kb and 1.6 Kb. Thus, PCR analysis in FIG. 1 confirms that the 1.8 kb region of actA was deleted in the LmddΔactA strain. DNA sequencing was also performed on PCR products to confirm the deletion of actA containing region in the strain, LmddΔactA.

Example 2

Construction of the Antibiotic-Independent Episomal Expression System for Antigen Delivery by Lm Vectors

The antibiotic-independent episomal expression system for antigen delivery by Lm vectors (pAdv142) is the next generation of the antibiotic-free plasmid pTV3 (Verch et al., Infect Immun, 2004. 72(11):6418-25, incorporated herein by reference). The gene for virulence gene transcription activator, prfA was deleted from pTV3 since Listeria strain Lmdd contains a copy of prfA gene in the chromosome. Additionally, the cassette for p60-Listeria dal at the NheI/PacI restriction site was replaced by p60-Bacillus subtilis dal resulting in plasmid pAdv134 (FIG. 2A). The similarity of the Listeria and Bacillus dal genes is ˜30%, virtually eliminating the chance of recombination between the plasmid and the remaining fragment of the dal gene in the Lmdd chromosome. The plasmid pAdv134 contained the antigen expression cassette tLLO-E7. The LmddA strain was transformed with the pADV134 plasmid and expression of the LLO-E7 protein from selected clones confirmed by Western blot (FIG. 2B). The Lmdd system derived from the 10403S wild-type strain lacks antibiotic resistance markers, except for the Lmdd streptomycin resistance.

Further, pAdv134 was restricted with XhoI/XmaI to clone human PSA, klk3 resulting in the plasmid, pAdv142. The new plasmid, pAdv142 (FIG. 2C, Table 1) contains Bacillus dal (B-Dal) under the control of Listeria p60 promoter. The shuttle plasmid, pAdv142 complemented the growth of both E. coli ala drx MB2159 as well as Listeria monocytogenes strain Lmdd in the absence of exogenous D-alanine. The antigen expression cassette in the plasmid pAdv142 consists of hly promoter and LLO-PSA fusion protein (FIG. 2C).

The plasmid pAdv142 was transformed to the Listeria background strains, LmddactA strain resulting in Lm-ddA-LLO-PSA. The expression and secretion of LLO-PSA fusion protein by the strain, Lm-ddA-LLO-PSA was confirmed by Western Blot using anti-LLO and anti-PSA antibody (FIG. 2D). There was stable expression and secretion of LLO-PSA fusion protein by the strain, Lm-ddA-LLO-PSA after two in vivo passages.

Example 3

In Vitro and In Vivo Stability of the Strain LmddA-LLO-PSA

The in vitro stability of the plasmid was examined by culturing the LmddA-LLO-PSA Listeria strain in the presence or absence of selective pressure for eight days. The selective pressure for the strain LmddA-LLO-PSA is D-alanine. Therefore, the strain LmddA-LLO-PSA was passaged in Brain-Heart Infusion (BHI) and BHI+100 μg/ml D-alanine. CFUs were determined for each day after plating on selective (BHI) and non-selective (BHI+D-alanine) medium. It was expected that a loss of plasmid will result in higher CFU after plating on non-selective medium (BHI+D-alanine). As depicted in FIG. 3A, there was no difference between the number of CFU in selective and non-selective medium. This suggests that the plasmid pAdv142 was stable for at least 50 generations, when the experiment was terminated.

Plasmid maintenance in vivo was determined by intravenous injection of 5×107 CFU LmddA-LLO-PSA, in C57BL/6 mice. Viable bacteria were isolated from spleens homogenized in PBS at 24 h and 48 h. CFUs for each sample were determined at each time point on BHI plates and BHI+100 μg/ml D-alanine. After plating the splenocytes on selective and non-selective medium, the colonies were recovered after 24 h. Since this strain is highly attenuated, the bacterial load is cleared in vivo in 24 h. No significant differences of CFUs were detected on selective and non-selective plates, indicating the stable presence of the recombinant plasmid in all isolated bacteria (FIG. 3B).

Example 4

In Vivo Passaging, Virulence and Clearance of the Strain LmddA-142 (LmddA-LLO-PSA)

LmddA-142 is a recombinant Listeria strain that secretes the episomally expressed tLLO-PSA fusion protein. To determine a safe dose, mice were immunized with LmddA-LLO-PSA at various doses and toxic effects were determined. LmddA-LLO-PSA caused minimum toxic effects (data not shown). The results suggested that a dose of 108 CFU of LmddA-LLO-PSA was well tolerated by mice. Virulence studies indicate that the strain LmddA-LLO-PSA was highly attenuated.

The in vivo clearance of LmddA-LLO-PSA after administration of the safe dose, 108 CFU intraperitoneally in C57BL/6 mice, was determined There were no detectable colonies in the liver and spleen of mice immunized with LmddA-LLO-PSA after day 2. Since this strain is highly attenuated, it was completely cleared in vivo at 48 h (FIG. 4A).

To determine if the attenuation of LmddA-LLO-PSA attenuated the ability of the strain LmddA-LLO-PSA to infect macrophages and grow intracellularly, we performed a cell infection assay. Mouse macrophage-like cell line such as J774A.1 were infected in vitro with Listeria constructs and intracellular growth was quantified. The positive control strain, wild type Listeria strain 10403S grows intracellularly, and the negative control XFL7, a prfA mutant, cannot escape the phagolysosome and thus does not grow in J774 cells. The intracytoplasmic growth of LmddA-LLO-PSA was slower than 10403S due to the loss of the ability of this strain to spread from cell to cell (FIG. 4B). The results indicate that LmddA-LLO-PSA has the ability to infect macrophages and grow intracytoplasmically.

Example 5

Immunogenicity of the Strain-LmddA-LLO-PSA in C57BL/6 Mice

The PSA-specific immune responses elicited by the construct LmddA-LLO-PSA in C57BL/6 mice were determined using PSA tetramer staining. Mice were immunized twice with LmddA-LLO-PSA at one week intervals and the splenocytes were stained for PSA tetramer on day 6 after the boost. Staining of splenocytes with the PSA-specific tetramer showed that LmddA-LLO-PSA elicited 23% of PSA tetramer+CD8+CD62Llow cells (FIG. 5A).

The functional ability of the PSA-specific T cells to secrete IFN-γ after stimulation with PSA peptide for 5 h was examined using intracellular cytokine staining. There was a 200-fold increase in the percentage of CD8+CD62LlowIFN-γ secreting cells stimulated with PSA peptide in the LmddA-LLO-PSA group compared to the naïve mice (FIG. 5B), indicating that the LmddA-LLO-PSA strain is very immunogenic and primes high levels of functionally active PSA CD8+ T cell responses against PSA in the spleen.

To determine the functional activity of cytotoxic T cells generated against PSA after immunizing mice with LmddA-LLO-PSA, we tested the ability of PSA-specific CTLs to lyse cells EL4 cells pulsed with H-2Db peptide in an in vitro assay. A FACS-based caspase assay (FIG. 5C) and Europium release (FIG. 5D) were used to measure cell lysis. Splenocytes of mice immunized with LmddA-LLO-PSA contained CTLs with high cytolytic activity for the cells that display PSA peptide as a target antigen.

Elispot was performed to determine the functional ability of effector T cells to secrete IFN-γ after 24 h stimulation with antigen. Using ELISpot, we observed there was a 20-fold increase in the number of spots for IFN-γ in splenocytes from mice immunized with LmddA-LLO-PSA stimulated with specific peptide when compared to the splenocytes of the naïve mice (FIG. 5E).

Example 6

Immunization with the LmddA-142 Strains Induces Regression of a Tumor Expressing PSA and Infiltration of the Tumor by PSA-Specific CTLs

The therapeutic efficacy of the construct LmddA-142 (LmddA-LLO-PSA) was determined using a prostrate adenocarcinoma cell line engineered to express PSA (Tramp-C1-PSA (TPSA); Shahabi et al., 2008). Mice were subcutaneously implanted with 2×106 TPSA cells. When tumors reached the palpable size of 4-6 mm, on day 6 after tumor inoculation, mice were immunized three times at one week intervals with 108 CFU LmddA-142, 107 CFU Lm-LLO-PSA (positive control) or left untreated. The naïve mice developed tumors gradually (FIG. 6A). The mice immunized with LmddA-142 were all tumor-free until day 35 and gradually 3 out of 8 mice developed tumors, which grew at a much slower rate as compared to the naive mice (FIG. 6B). Five out of eight mice remained tumor free through day 70. As expected, Lm-LLO-PSA-vaccinated mice had fewer tumors than naive controls and tumors developed more slowly than in controls (FIG. 6C). Thus, the construct LmddA-LLO-PSA could regress 60% of the tumors established by TPSA cell line and slow the growth of tumors in other mice. Cured mice that remained tumor free were rechallenged with TPSA tumors on day 68.

Immunization of mice with the LmddA-142 can control the growth and induce regression of 7-day established Tramp-C1 tumors that were engineered to express PSA in more than 60% of the experimental animals (FIG. 6B), compared to none in the untreated group (FIG. 6A). The LmddA-142 was constructed using a highly attenuated vector (LmddA) and the plasmid pADV142 (Table 1).

Further, the ability of PSA-specific CD8 lymphocytes generated by the LmddA-LLO-PSA construct to infiltrate tumors was investigated. Mice were subcutaneously implanted with a mixture of tumors and matrigel followed by two immunizations at seven day intervals with naiive or control (Lm-LLO-E7) Listeria, or with LmddA-LLO-PSA. Tumors were excised on day 21 and were analyzed for the population of CD8+CD62Llow PSAtetramer+ and CD4+ CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells infiltrating in the tumors.

A very low number of CD8+CD62Llow PSAtetramer+ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) specific for PSA that were present in the both naive and Lm-LLO-E7 control immunized mice was observed. However, there was a 10-30-fold increase in the percentage of PSA-specific CD8+CD62Llow PSAtetramer+ TILs in the mice immunized with LmddA-LLO-PSA (FIG. 7A). Interestingly, the population of CD8+CD62Llow PSAtetramer+ cells in spleen was 7.5 fold less than in tumor (FIG. 7A).

In addition, the presence of CD4+/CD25+/Foxp3+ T regulatory cells (regs) in the tumors of untreated mice and Listeria immunized mice was determined Interestingly, immunization with Listeria resulted in a considerable decrease in the number of CD4+ CD25+FoxP3+ T-regs in tumor but not in spleen (FIG. 7B). However, the construct LmddA-LLO-PSA had a stronger impact in decreasing the frequency of CD4+ CD25+FoxP3+ T-regs in tumors when compared to the naïve and Lm-LLO-E7 immunized group (FIG. 7B).

Thus, the LmddA-142 vaccine can induce PSA-specific CD8+ T cells that are able to infiltrate the tumor site (FIG. 7A). Interestingly, Immunization with LmddA-142 was associated with a decreased number of regulatory T cells in the tumor (FIG. 7B), probably creating a more favorable environment for an efficient anti-tumor CTL activity.

Example 7

Lmdd-143 and LmddA -143 Secretes a Functional LLO Despite the PSA Fusion

The Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 contain the full-length human klk3 gene, which encodes the PSA protein, inserted by homologous recombination downstream and in frame with the hly gene in the chromosome. These constructs were made by homologous recombination using the pKSV7 plasmid (Smith and Youngman, Biochimie 1992; 74 (7-8) p705-711), which has a temperature-sensitive replicon, carrying the hly-klk3-mpl recombination cassette. Because of the plasmid excision after the second recombination event, the antibiotic resistance marker used for integration selection is lost. Additionally, the actA gene is deleted in the LmddA-143 strain (FIG. 8A). The insertion of klk3 in frame with hly into the chromosome was verified by PCR (FIG. 8B) and sequencing (data not shown) in both constructs.

One important aspect of these chromosomal constructs is that the production of LLO-PSA would not completely abolish the function of LLO, which is required for escape of Listeria from the phagosome, cytosol invasion and efficient immunity generated by L. monocytogenes. Western-blot analysis of secreted proteins from Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 culture supernatants revealed an ˜81 kDa band corresponding to the LLO-PSA fusion protein and an ˜60 kDa band, which is the expected size of LLO (FIG. 9A), indicating that LLO is either cleaved from the LLO-PSA fusion or still produced as a single protein by L. monocytogenes, despite the fusion gene in the chromosome. The LLO secreted by Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 retained 50% of the hemolytic activity, as compared to the wild-type L. monocytogenes 10403S (FIG. 9B). In agreement with these results, both Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 were able to replicate intracellularly in the macrophage-like J774 cell line (FIG. 9C).

Example 8

Both Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 Elicit Cell-Mediated Immune Responses Against the PSA Antigen

After showing that both Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 are able to secrete PSA fused to LLO, we investigated if these strains could elicit PSA-specific immune responses in vivo. C57Bl/6 mice were either left untreated or immunized twice with the Lmdd-143, LmddA-143 or LmddA-142. PSA-specific CD8+ T cell responses were measured by stimulating splenocytes with the PSA65-74 peptide and intracellular staining for IFN-γ. As shown in FIG. 10, the immune response induced by the chromosomal and the plasmid-based vectors is similar.

Example 9

A Recombinant Lm Strain Secreting a LLO-HMW-MAA Fusion Protein Results in a Broad Antitumor Response

Three Lm-based vaccines expressing distinct HMW-MAA fragments based on the position of previously mapped and predicted HLA-A2 epitopes were designed (FIG. 11A). The Lin-tLLO-HMW-MMA2160-2258 (also referred as Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C) is based on the avirulent Lm XFL-7 strain and a pGG55-based plasmid. This strain secretes a ˜62 kDa band corresponding to the tLLO-HMW-MAA2160-2258 fusion protein (FIG. 11B). The secretion of tLLO-HMW-MAA2160-2258 is relatively weak likely due to the high hydrophobicity of this fragment, which corresponds to the HMW-MAA transmembrane domain. Using B 16F10 melanoma cells transfected with the full-length HMW-MAA gene, we observed that up to 62.5% of the mice immunized with the Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C could impede the growth of established tumors (FIG. 11C). This result shows that HMW-MAA can be used as a target antigen in vaccination strategies. Interestingly, we also observed that immunization of mice with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C significantly impaired the growth of tumors not engineered to express HMW-MAA, such as B16F10, RENCA and NT-2 (FIG. 11D), which were derived from distinct mouse strains. In the NT-2 tumor model, which is a mammary carcinoma cell line expressing the rat HER-2/neu protein and is derived from the FVB/N transgenic mice, immunization with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C 7 days after tumor inoculation not only impaired tumor growth but also induced regression of the tumor in 1 out of 5 mice (FIG. 11D).

Example 10

Immunization of Mice with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C Induces Infiltration of the Tumor Stroma by CD8+ T Cells and a Significant Reduction in the Pericyte Coverage in the Tumor Vasculature

Although NT-2 cells do not express the HMW-MAA homolog NG2, immunization of FVB/N mice with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C significantly impaired the growth of NT-2 tumors and eventually led to tumor regression (FIG. 11D). This tumor model was used to evaluate CD8+ T cells and pericytes in the tumor site by immunofluorescence. Staining of NT-2 tumor sections for CD8 showed infiltration of CD8+ T cells into the tumors and around blood vessels in mice immunized with the Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C vaccine, but not in mice immunized with the control vaccine (FIG. 12A). Pericytes in NT-2 tumors were also analyzed by double staining with αSMA and NG2 (murine homolog of HMW-MAA) antibodies. Data analysis from three independent NT-2 tumors showed a significant decrease in the number of pericytes in mice immunized with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C, as compared to control (P≦0.05) (FIG. 12B). Similar results were obtained when the analysis was restricted to cells stained for αSMA, which is not targeted by the vaccine (data not shown). Thus, Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C vaccination impacts blood vessel formation in the tumor site by targeting pericytes.

Example 11

Development of a Recombinant L. Monocytogenes Vector with Enhanced Anti-Tumor Activity by Concomitant Expression and Secretion of LLO-PSA and tLLO-HMW-MAA2160-2258 Fusion Proteins, Eliciting Immune Responses to Both Heterologous Antigens

Materials and Methods:

Construction of the pADV168 plasmid. The HMW-MAA-C fragment is excised from a pCR2.1-HMW-MAA2160-2258 plasmid by double digestion with XhoI and XmaI restriction endonucleases. This fragment is cloned in the pADV134 plasmid already digested with XhoI and XmaI to excise the E7 gene. The pADV168 plasmid is electroporated into electrocompetent the dal(−) dat(−) E. coli strain MB2159 and positive clones screened for RFLP and sequence analysis.

Construction of Lmdd-143/168, LmddA-143/168 and the control strains LmddA-168, Lmdd-143/134 and LmddA-143/134. Lmdd, Lmdd-143 and LmddA-143 is transformed with either pADV168 or pADV134 plasmid. Transformants are selected on Brain-Heart Infusion-agar plates supplemented with streptomycin (250 μg/ml) and without D-alanine (BHIs medium). Individual clones are screened for LLO-PSA, tLLO-HMW-MAA2160-2258 and tLLO-E7 secretion in bacterial culture supernatants by Western-blot using an anti-LLO, anti-PSA or anti-E7 antibody. A selected clone from each strain will be evaluated for in vitro and in vivo virulence. Each strain is passaged twice in vivo to select the most stable recombinant clones. Briefly, a selected clone from each construct is grown and injected i.p to a group of 4 mice at 1×108 CFU/mouse. Spleens are harvested on days 1 and 3, homogenized and plated on BHIs-agar plates. After the first passage, one colony from each strain is selected and passaged in vivo for a second time. To prevent further attenuation of the vector, to a level impairing its viability, constructs in two vectors with distinct attenuation levels (Lmdd-143/168, LmddA-143/168) are generated.

In vitro virulence determination by intracellular replication in J774 cells. Uptake of Lm by macrophages, followed by cytosolic invasion and intracellular proliferation are required for successful antigen delivery and presentation by Lm-based vaccines. An in vitro invasion assay, using a macrophage-like J774 cell line is used to test these properties in new recombinant Lm strains. Briefly, J774 cells are infected for 1 hour in medium without antibiotics at MOI of 1:1 with either the control wild-type Lm strain 10403S or the new Lm strains to be tested. Extracellular bacteria are killed by 1 hour incubation in medium 10 μg/ml of gentamicin. Samples are harvested at regular intervals and cells lysed with water. Ten-fold serial dilutions of the lysates are plated in duplicates on BHIs plates and colony-forming units (CFU) counted in each sample.

In vivo virulence studies. Groups of four C57BL/6 mice (7 weeks old) are injected i.p. with two different doses (1×108 and 1×109 CFUs/dose) of Lmdd-143/168, LmddA-143/168, LmddA-168, Lmdd-143/134 or LmddA-143/134 strains. Mice are followed-up for 2 weeks for survival and LD50 estimation. An LD50 of >1×108 constitutes an acceptable value based on previous experience with other Lm-based vaccines.

Results

Once the pADV168 plasmid is successfully constructed, it is sequenced for the presence of the correct HMW-MAA sequence. This plasmid in these new strains express and secrete the LLO fusion proteins specific for each construct. These strains are highly attenuated, with an LD50 of at least 1×108 CFU and likely higher than 1×109 CFU for the actA-deficient (LmddA) strains, which lack the actA gene and consequently the ability of cell-to-cell spread. The construct is tested and the one that has a better balance between attenuation and therapeutic efficacy is selected.

Example 12

Detection of Immune Responses and Anti-Tumor Effects Elicited Upon Immunization with Lmdd-143/168 and LmddA-143/168

Immune responses to PSA and HMW-MAA are studied in mice upon immunization with Lmdd-143/168 and LmddA-143/168 strains using standard methods, such as detection of IFN-γ production and specific CTL activity against these antigens. The therapeutic efficacy of dual-expression vectors are tested in the TPSA23 tumor model.

Intracellular cytokine staining for IFN-γ. C57BL/6 mice (3 mice per treatment group) are immunized twice at 1-week intervals with the Lmdd-143/168 and LmddA-143/168 strains. As controls for this experiment, mice are immunized with Lmdd-143, LmddA-143, LmddA-142, LmddA-168, Lmdd-143/134, LmddA-143/134 or left untreated (naïve group). Spleens are harvested after 7 days and a single cell suspension of splenocytes are prepared. These splenocytes are plated at 2×106 cells/well in a round bottom 96-well plate, in freshly prepared complete RPMI medium with IL-2 (50 U/ml) and stimulated with either the PSA H-2Db peptide, HCIRNKSVIL, (SEQ ID NO: 53), or the HPV16 E7 H-2Db control peptide RAHYNIVTF (SEQ ID NO: 54) at a final concentration of 1 μM. Since HMW-MAA-epitopes have not been mapped in the C57Bl/6 mouse, HMW-MAA-specific immune responses are detected by incubating 2×106 splenocytes with 2×105 EL4-HMW-MAA cells. The cells are incubated for 5 hours in the presence of monensin to retain the intracellular IFN-γ in the cells. After incubation, cells are stained with anti-mouse CD8-FITC, CD3-PerCP, CD62L-APC antibodies. They are then permeabilized and stained for IFNγ-PE and analyzed in a four-color FACS Calibur (BD Biosciences).

Cytotoxicity assay. To investigate the effector activity of the PSA and HMW-MAA specific T cells generated upon vaccinations, isolated splenocytes are incubated for 5 days in complete RPMI medium containing 20 U/ml of mouse IL-2 (Sigma), in the presence of stimulator cells (mitomycin C treated MC57G cells infected with either PSA or HMW-MAA vaccinia). For the cytotoxicity assay, EL4 target cells are labeled for 15 minutes with DDAO-SE (0.6 μM) (Molecular Probes) and washed twice with complete medium. The labeled target cells are pulsed for 1 hour with either the PSA H-2Db peptide, or the HPV16 E7 H-2Db control peptide, at a final concentration of 5 μM. For HMW-MAA-specific cytotoxic responses, the EL4-HMW-MAA cells are used as targets. The cytotoxicity assay is performed for 2 hours by incubating the target cells (T) with effector cells (E) at different E:T ratios for 2-3 hours. Cells are fixed with formalin, permeabilized and stained for cleaved caspase-3 to detect induction of apoptosis in the target cells.

Anti-tumor efficacy. The anti-tumor efficacy of the Lmdd-143/168 and LmddA-143/168 strains are compared to that of LmddA-142 and LmddA-168, using the T-PSA23 tumor model (TrampC-1/PSA). Groups of 8 male C57BL/6 mice (6-8 weeks old) are inoculated s.c. with 2×106 T-PSA23 cells and 7 days later immunized i.p. with 0.1×LD50 dose of Lmdd-143/168, LmddA-143/168, LmddA-142 and LmddA-168. As controls, mice are either left untreated or immunized with an Lm control strain (LmddA-134). Each group receives two additional doses of the vaccines with 7 day intervals. Tumors are monitored for 60 days or until they reach a size of 2 cm, at which point mice are sacrificed.

Results

Immunization of mice with LmddA-168 results in the induction of specific responses against HMW-MAA. Similarly, Lmdd-143/168 and LmddA-143/168 elicits an immune response against PSA and HMW-MAA that is comparable to the immune responses generated by L. monocytogenes vectors expressing each antigen individually Immunization of T-PSA-23-bearing mice with the Lmdd-143/168 and LmddA-143/168 results in a better anti-tumor therapeutic efficacy than the immunization with either LmddA-142 or LmddA-168.

Example 13

Immunization with Either Lmdd-143/168 or LmddA-143/168 Results in Pericyte Destruction, Up-Regulation of Adhesion Molecules in Endothelial Cells and Enhanced Infiltration of TILs Specific for PSA

Characterization of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and endothelial cell-adhesion molecules induced upon immunization with Lmdd-143/168 or LmddA-143/168. The tumors from mice immunized with either Lmdd-143/168 or LmddA-143/168 are analyzed by immunofluorescence to study expression of adhesion molecules by endothelial cells, blood vessel density and pericyte coverage in the tumor vasculature, as well as infiltration of the tumor by immune cells, including CD8 and CD4 T cells. TILs specific for the PSA antigen are characterized by tetramer analysis and functional tests.

Analysis of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). TPSA23 cells embedded in matrigel are inoculated s.c in mice (n=3 per group), which are immunized on days 7 and 14 with either Lmdd-143/168 or LmddA-143/168, depending on which one is the more effective according to results obtained in anti-tumor studies. For comparison, mice are immunized with LmddA-142, LmddA-168, a control Lm vaccine or left untreated. On day 21, the tumors are surgically excised, washed in ice-cold PBS and minced with a scalpel. The tumors are treated with dispase to solubilize the Matrigel and release single cells for analysis. PSA-specific CD8+ T cells are stained with a PSA65-74 H-2Db tetramer-PE and anti-mouse CD8-FITC, CD3-PerCP-Cy5.5 and CD62L-APC antibodies. To analyze regulatory T cell in the tumor, TILs are stained with CD4-FITC, CD3-PerCP-Cy5.5 and CD25-APC and subsequently permeabilized for FoxP3 staining (anti-FoxP3-PE, Milteny Biotec). Cells are analyzed by a FACS Calibur cytometer and CellQuestPro software (BD Biosciences).

Immunofluorescence. On day 21 post tumor inoculation, the TPSA23 tumors embedded in matrigel are surgically excised and a fragment immediately cryopreserved in OCT freezing medium. The tumor fragments are cryosectioned for 8-10 μm thick sections. For immunofluorescence, samples are thawed and fixed using 4% formalin. After blocking, sections are stained with antibodies in blocking solution in a humidified chamber at 37° C. for 1 hour. DAPI (Invitrogen) staining are performed according to manufacturer instructions. For intracellular stains (αSMA), incubation is performed in PBS/0.1% Tween/1% BSA solution. Slides are cover-slipped using a mounting solution (Biomeda) with anti-fading agents, set for 24 hours and kept at 4° C. until imaging using Spot Image Software (2006) and BX51 series Olympus fluorescent microscope. CD8, CD4, FoxP3, αSMA, NG2, CD31, ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and VAP-1 are evaluated by immunofluorescence.

Statistical analysis: Non-parametric Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests are applied to compare tumor sizes among different treatment groups. Tumor sizes are compared at the latest time-point with the highest number of mice in each group (8 mice). A p-value of less than 0.05 is considered statistically significant in these analyses.

Results

Immunization of TPSA23-bearing mice with the Lmdd-143/168 and LmddA-143/168 results in higher numbers of effector TILs specific to PSA and also decreases pericyte coverage of the tumor vasculature. Further, cell-adhesion markers are significantly up-regulated in immunized mice.

Having described preferred embodiments of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the precise embodiments, and that various changes and modifications may be effected therein by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.