MD, 1982, Nanjing Medical College
PhD, 1991, UMass Worcester
Immunogenicity of Protein Antigens
Our main interest is to understand the immunogenicity of proteinantigens. The human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) envelopeproteins (Env) is used as a model system in our lab. Env, a two-subunitprotein, is generated during the posttranslational cleavage processfrom a single precursor polyprotein. Env heterodimers are furtherorganized into an oligomeric complex. Env conformation is criticalfor the interaction of HIV-1 with a number of viral receptors. Our work is to understand the immunogenicity of various Env subunitsfrom different HIV-1 strains and to find the Env structures thatHIV-1 uses to escape from host immune surveillance. Such informationwill be used to design noval HIV-1 vaccines. Direct DNA immunizationusing eukaryotic expression vectors to make proteins in vivo isa unique approach we have been using to study the immunogenicityof protein antigens. We are also working to further improve thisevolving technology by studying the roles of cytokines and adjuvantsin inducing the desired immune responses by direct DNA immunization.