DNA immunization works, as has been amply demonstrated in a variety of microbial and tumor models. However, the mechanisms which underpin its success remain unclear. Using intramuscular delivery of DNA, we wish to precisely define how DNA-encoded antigens induce CD8+ T-cells (most cytotoxic T-cells; CTL), CD4+ T-cells (mostly helper cells) and antibodies; and to use the accrued knowledge to rationally manipulate DNA vaccines, thus enabling us to optimize each of the above three types of immune response. We consider it likely that different mechanisms operate in each case. We have designed a DNA vaccine which induces CTL, but not antibodies. We will present evidence that CTL are induced by endogenously-synthesized protein, not by protein released from cells; and that in the absence of release of intact protein, antibodies are not induced, while CTL induction remains strong. We have used plasmid-encoded minigenes and have found that these short sequences also induce CTL; this, too, argues that CTL are induced by antigens presented following endogenous synthesis. We are attempting to determine how antigens are released from transfected cells, to interact with B-cells and induce antibodies, and are currently evaluating the CD4 responses induced by DNA vaccines.