Soluble proteins induce strong CD8 + T cell and antibody responses through electrostatic association with simple cationic or anionic lipopeptides that target TLR2

Brendon Y. Chua, David Pejoski, Stephen J. Turner, Weiguang Zeng, David C. Jackson

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The low immunogenicity exhibited by most soluble proteins is generally due to the absence of molecular signatures that are recognized by the immune system as dangerous. In this study, we show that electrostatic binding of synthetic branched cationic or anionic lipopeptides that contain the TLR-2 agonist Pam 2Cys markedly enhance a protein's immunogenicity. Binding of a charged lipopeptide to oppositely charged protein Ags resulted in the formation of stable complexes and occurs at physiologic pH and salt concentrations. The induction of cell-mediated responses is dependent on the electrostatic binding of lipopeptide to the protein, with no CD8 + T cells being elicited when protein and lipopeptide possessed the same electrical charge. The CD8 + T cells elicited after vaccination with lipopeptide-protein Ag complexes produced proinflammatory cytokines, exhibited in vivo lytic activity, and protected mice from challenge with an infectious chimeric influenza virus containing a single OVA epitope as part of the influenza neuraminidase protein. Induction of a CD8 + T cell response correlated with the ability of lipopeptide to facilitate Ag uptake by DCs followed by trafficking of Ag-bearing cells into draining lymph nodes. Oppositely charged but not similarly charged lipopeptides were more effective in DC uptake and trafficking. Very high protein-specific Ab titers were also achieved by vaccination with complexes composed of oppositely charged lipopeptide and protein, whereas vaccination with similarly charged constituents resulted in significant but lower Ab titers. Regardless of whether similarly or oppositely charged lipopeptides were used in the induction of Ab, vaccination generated dominant IgG1 isotype Abs rather than IgG2a.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1692-1701
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

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