Research ArticleVaccines

CpG ODN Nanorings Induce IFNα from Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells and Demonstrate Potent Vaccine Adjuvant Activity

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Science Translational Medicine  07 May 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 235, pp. 235ra61
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3007909

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An Adjuvant That Has a Ring to It

Adjuvants are vaccines’ little helpers—they modify the immune response to the vaccine antigen. CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) are short single-stranded synthetic DNA molecules that activate the immune system. Hence, ODN are considered prime candidates for use as adjuvants. Indeed, they’ve been shown to be effective for both preventing and treating infectious disease and cancers in animal models and early clinical trials. Yet, there are limitations to widespread use of ODN as an adjuvant, one of which is structurally optimizing the ODN to induce the desired immune response. Now, Gungor et al. use the HIV-derived peptide Tat(47–57) to multimerize K-type ODN, forming a nanoring.

The authors found that these nanorings targeted the ODN to early endosomes and induced a type I interferon response in human plasmacytoid dendritic cells. The ODN nanorings were then tested in animal models. They induced TH1 immune responses in mice vaccinated with inactivated foot and mouth disease virus, and improved antitumor immunity in a mouse cancer model. These data suggest that these nanorings may be valuable as either antiviral or anticancer agents.