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Complement activation and complement receptors on follicular dendritic cells are critical for the function of a targeted adjuvant.

Journal article
Authors Johan Mattsson
Ulf Yrlid
Anneli Stensson
Karin Schön
Mikael C I Karlsson
Jeffrey V Ravetch
Nils Y Lycke
Published in Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
Volume 187
Issue 7
Pages 3641-52
ISSN 1550-6606
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Pages 3641-52
Language en
Keywords Adjuvants, Immunologic, chemical synthesis, pharmacology, Animals, Cell Separation, Cholera Toxin, chemical synthesis, immunology, pharmacology, Complement Activation, immunology, Dendritic Cells, Follicular, immunology, metabolism, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Flow Cytometry, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Germinal Center, immunology, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Receptors, Complement, immunology, Receptors, Complement 3d, immunology, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, chemical synthesis, immunology, pharmacology
Subject categories Immunology in the medical area


A detailed understanding of how activation of innate immunity can be exploited to generate more effective vaccines is critically required. However, little is known about how to target adjuvants to generate safer and better vaccines. In this study, we describe an adjuvant that, through complement activation and binding to follicular dendritic cells (FDC), dramatically enhances germinal center (GC) formation, which results in greatly augmented Ab responses. The nontoxic CTA1-DD adjuvant hosts the ADP-ribosylating CTA1 subunit from cholera toxin and a dimer of the D fragment from Staphylococcus aureus protein A. We found that T cell-dependent, but not -independent, responses were augmented by CTA1-DD. GC reactions and serum Ab titers were both enhanced in a dose-dependent manner. This effect required complement activation, a property of the DD moiety. Deposition of CTA1-DD to the FDC network appeared to occur via the conduit system and was dependent on complement receptors on the FDC. Hence, Cr2(-/-) mice failed to augment GC reactions and exhibited dramatically reduced Ab responses, whereas Ribi adjuvant demonstrated unperturbed adjuvant function in these mice. Noteworthy, the adjuvant effect on priming of specific CD4 T cells was found to be intact in Cr2(-/-) mice, demonstrating that the CTA1-DD host both complement-dependent and -independent adjuvant properties. This is the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of an adjuvant that directly activates complement, enabling binding of the adjuvant to the FDC, which subsequently strongly promoted the GC reaction, leading to augmented serum Ab titers and long-term memory development.

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