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Introduction of zwitterionic motifs into bacterial polysaccharides generates TLR2 agonists able to activate APCs

, : Introduction of zwitterionic motifs into bacterial polysaccharides generates TLR2 agonists able to activate APCs. Journal of Immunology 179(12): 8208-8215

It was shown previously that bacterial polysaccharides (PS), which naturally contain both positive and negative charges, are able to activate T cells and APCs. However, the vast majority of bacterial PS are anionic and do not have these properties. In this study, we show that chemical introduction of positive charges into naturally anionic bacterial PS confers to the resulting zwitterionic PS (ZPS) the ability to activate pure human monocytes, monocyte-derived dendritic cells, and mouse bone marrow-derived dendritic cells, as do natural bacterial ZPS. Cells are induced to up-regulate MHC class II and costimulatory molecules and to produce cytokines. In mixed monocyte-T cell cocultures, ZPS induce MHC II-dependent T cell proliferation and up-regulation of activation markers. These stimulatory qualities of ZPS disappear when the positive charge is chemically removed from the molecules and thus the zwitterionic motif is destroyed. The ability of natural and chemically derived ZPS to activate APCs can be blocked by anti-TLR2 mAbs, and TLR2 transfectants show reporter gene transcription upon incubation with ZPS. In conclusion, the generation of a zwitterionic motif in bacterial PS confers the ability to activate both APCs and T cells. This finding has important implications for the design of novel polysaccharide vaccines.


PMID: 18056364

DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.179.12.8208

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