Introduction: The development of Jembrana disease vaccine is an important effort to prevent losses in the Bali cattle industry in Indonesia. This study aims to prepare a Jembrana DNA vaccine encoding the transmembrane portion of the envelope protein in pEGFP-C1 and test the success of its delivery in culture cells using a chitosan-DNA complex.
Material and Methods: Cloning of the DNA vaccine was successfully performed on E. coli DH5α and confirmed by colony PCR, restriction analysis and sequencing. The plasmids were prepared as a chitosan complex using the complex coacervation method and physicochemically characterised using a particle size analyser. A transfection assay was performed in HeLa cells with 4 h exposure, and mRNA expression was assessed at 24 h post transfection.
Results: With a 1:2 (wt./wt.) ratio of DNA and chitosan, the complexes have a mean diameter of 236 nm, zeta potential value of + 17.9 mV, and showed no high toxicity potential in the HeLa cells. This complex successfully delivered the DNA into cells, as shown by the presence of a specific RT-PCR product (336 bp). However, the real-time PCR analysis showed that the delivery with chitosan complex resulted in lower target mRNA expression when compared with a commercial transfecting agent.
Conclusion: pEGFP-env-tm JDV as a candidate vaccine can be delivered as the chitosan-DNA complex and be expressed at the transcription level in vitro. This initial study will be used for further improvement and evaluation in vivo.