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Articles by Lijun Rong
Total Records ( 2 ) for Lijun Rong
  Lin Yan , Jin Qiu , Jianbo Chen , Bridgett Ryan-Payseur , Dan Huang , Yunqi Wang , Lijun Rong , Jody A. Melton-Witt , Nancy E. Freitag and Zheng W. Chen
  While recombinant Listeria monocytogenes strains can be explored as vaccine candidates, it is important to develop attenuated but highly immunogenic L. monocytogenes vaccine vectors. Here, prfA* mutations selected on the basis of upregulated expression of L. monocytogenes PrfA-dependent genes and proteins were assessed to determine their abilities to augment expression of foreign immunogens in recombinant L. monocytogenes vectors and therefore enhance vaccine-elicited immune responses (a prfA* mutation is a mutation that results in constitutive overexpression of PrfA and PrfA-dependent virulence genes; the asterisk distinguishes the mutation from inactivation or stop mutations). A total of 63 recombinant L. monocytogenes vaccine vectors expressing seven individual viral or bacterial immunogens each in nine different L. monocytogenes strains carrying wild-type prfA or having prfA* mutations were constructed and investigated. Mutations selected on the basis of increased PrfA activation in recombinant L. monocytogenes prfA* vaccine vectors augmented expression of seven individual protein immunogens remarkably. Consistently, prime and boost vaccination studies with mice indicated that the prfA(G155S) mutation in recombinant L. monocytogenes ΔactA prfA* strains enhanced vaccine-elicited cellular immune responses. Surprisingly, the prfA(G155S) mutation was found to enhance vaccine-elicited humoral immune responses as well. The highly immunogenic recombinant L. monocytogenes ΔactA prfA* vaccine strains were as attenuated as the recombinant parent L. monocytogenes ΔactA vaccine vector. Thus, recombinant attenuated L. monocytogenes ΔactA prfA* vaccine vectors potentially are better antimicrobial and anticancer vaccines.
  Jizhen Wang , Jayita Sen , Lijun Rong and Michael Caffrey
  The importance of the N-terminal region of HIV gp120 conserved domain 1 (gp120-C1) to envelope function has been examined by alanine-scanning mutagenesis and subsequent characterization of the mutagenic effects on viral entry; envelope expression, processing, and incorporation; and gp120 association with gp41. With respect to the wild-type gp120, mutational effects on viral entry fall into two classes: functional, as defined by >20% entry with respect to wild type, and impaired, as defined by <20% entry with respect to wild type. Based on Western blot analyses of cell lysates and virions, the entry impairment of W35A, V38A, Y39A, Y40A, G41A, V42A, and I52A is due primarily to disruption of envelope processing. The entry impairment of P43A and W45A is apparently due to a combination of effects on processing and incorporation into virions. In contrast, the entry impairment of V44A and F53A is primarily due to disruption of the gp120-gp41 interaction, which results in dissociation of gp120 from the virion. We present a model for gp120-C1 interactions with gp120-C5 and the gp41 disulfide loop in unprocessed gp160 and processed gp120/gp41.
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