We recently reported the enhanced immunogenicity of a peptide epitope when it was presented as a fusion protein with hepatitis B core antigen. In those experiments the fusion protein was expressed in vaccinia virus. We have now refined the system so that large amounts of highly immunogenic particles can be produced using a simple bacterial expression system. We describe the expression of three different viral epitopes as chimeric particles that induce good antibody responses to each epitope after one dose of low amounts of antigen. Finally we demonstrate that the immunogenicity is a reflection of both T helper cell sites within the core protein and also the particulate nature of the immunogens.


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