Although current influenza vaccines are effective in general, there is an urgent need for the development of new technologies to improve vaccine production timelines, capacities and immunogenicity. Herein, we describe the development of an influenza vaccine technology which enables recombinant production of highly efficient influenza vaccines in bacterial expression systems. The globular head domain of influenza hemagglutinin, comprising most of the protein's neutralizing epitopes, was expressed in E. coli and covalently conjugated to bacteriophage-derived virus-like particles produced independently in E.coli. Conjugate influenza vaccines produced this way were used to immunize mice and found to elicit immune sera with high antibody titers specific for the native influenza hemagglutinin protein and high hemagglutination-inhibition titers. Moreover vaccination with these vaccines induced full protection against lethal challenges with homologous and highly drifted influenza strains.
Allergen-specific desensitization is the only disease-modifying therapy currently available for the treatment of allergies. These therapies require application of allergen over several years and some may induce life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. An ideal vaccine for desensitization should be highly immunogenic and should alleviate allergic symptoms upon few injections while being nonreactogenic. We describe such a vaccine for the treatment of cat allergy, consisting of the major cat allergen Fel d1 coupled to bacteriophage Qβ-derived virus-like particles (Qβ–Fel d1). Qβ–Fel d1 was highly immunogenic, and a single vaccination was sufficient to induce protection against type I allergic reactions. Allergen-specific immunoglobulin G antibodies were shown to be the critical effector molecules and alleviated symptoms by two distinct mechanisms. Although allergen-induced systemic basophil degranulation was inhibited in an FcγRIIb-dependent manner, inhibition of local mast cell degranulation in tissues occurred independently of FcγRIIb. In addition, treatment with Qβ–Fel d1 abolished IgE memory responses upon antigen recall. Despite high immunogenicity, the vaccine was essentially nonreactogenic and vaccination induced neither local nor systemic anaphylactic reactions in sensitized mice. Moreover, Qβ–Fel d1 did not induce degranulation of basophils derived from human volunteers with cat allergies. These data suggest that vaccination with Qβ–Fel d1 may be a safe and effective treatment for cat allergy.
Humoral immune responses are thought to be enhanced by complement-mediated recruitment of the CD21–CD19–CD81 coreceptor complex into the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) complex, which lowers the threshold of B cell activation and increases the survival and proliferative capacity of responding B cells. To investigate the role of the CD21–CD35 complement receptors in the generation of B cell memory, we analyzed the response against viral particles derived from the bacteriophage Qβ in mice deficient in CD21–CD35 (Cr2−/−). Despite highly efficient induction of early antibody responses and germinal center (GC) reactions to immunization with Qβ, Cr2−/− mice exhibited impaired antibody persistence paralleled by a strongly reduced development of bone marrow plasma cells. Surprisingly, antigen-specific memory B cells were essentially normal in these mice. In the absence of CD21-mediated costimulation, Qβ-specific post-GC B cells failed to induce the transcriptional regulators Blimp-1 and XBP-1 driving plasma cell differentiation, and the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2, which resulted in failure to generate the precursor population of long-lived plasma cells residing in the bone marrow. These results suggest that complement receptors maintain antibody responses by delivery of differentiation and survival signals to precursors of bone marrow plasma cells.
Chronic, non-communicable diseases are the major cause of death and disability worldwide and have replaced infectious diseases as the major burden of society in large parts of the world. Despite the complexity of chronic diseases, relatively few predisposing risk factors have been identified by the World Health Organization. Those include smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as the cause of many of these chronic conditions. Here, we discuss several examples of vaccines that target these risk factors with the aim of preventing the associated diseases and some of the challenges they face.
therapeutic vaccines; chronic diseases; smoking cessation vaccine
Induction of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against minor histocompatibility antigens is dependent upon the presence of T cell help and requires the interaction of CD40 on dendritic cells (DCs) with CD40 ligand on activated T helper cells (Th). This study demonstrates that CD40 is neither involved in Th-dependent nor Th-independent antiviral CTL responses. Moreover, the data show that DC maturation occurs in vivo after viral infection in the absence of CD40 and Th. This maturation did not require viral infection of DCs but was mediated by peptide-specific CD8+ T cells. Surprisingly, naive CD8+ T cells were able to trigger DC maturation within 24 h after activation in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, peptide-activated CD8+ T cells were able to induce maturation in trans, as DCs that failed to present the relevant antigen in vivo also underwent maturation. Upon isolation, the in vivo–stimulated DCs were able to convert a classically Th-dependent CTL response (anti-HY) into a Th-independent response in vitro. Thus, antiviral CD8+ T cells are sufficient for the maturation of DCs in the absence of CD40.
virus; infection; cytotoxic T lymphocyte; dendritic cell
The question of whether enhanced memory T cell responses are simply due to an increased frequency of specific cells or also to an improved response at the single cell level is widely debated. In this study, we analyzed T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic memory T cells and bona fide memory T cells isolated from virally infected normal mice using the tetramer technology. We found that memory T cells are qualitatively different from naive T cells due to a developmentally regulated rearrangement of the topology of the signaling machinery. In naive cytotoxic T cells, only a few CD8 molecules are associated with Lck and the kinase is homogeneously distributed inside the cell. However, in vivo priming of naive T cells induces the targeting of Lck to the CD8 coreceptor in the cell membrane and the consequent organization of a more efficient TCR signaling machinery in effector and memory cells.
memory; virus; costimulation
CD40 ligand (CD40L), a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family member, plays a critical role in antigen-specific T cell responses in vivo. CD40L expressed on activated CD4+ T cells stimulates antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells, resulting in the upregulation of costimulatory molecules and the production of various inflammatory cytokines required for CD4+ T cell priming in vivo. However, CD40L- or CD40-deficient mice challenged with viruses mount protective CD4+ T cell responses that produce normal levels of interferon γ, suggesting a CD40L/CD40-independent mechanism of CD4+ T cell priming that to date has not been elucidated. Here we show that CD4+ T cell responses to viral infection were greatly diminished in CD40-deficient mice by administration of a soluble form of TNF-related activation-induced cytokine receptor (TRANCE-R) to inhibit the function of another TNF family member, TRANCE. Thus, the TRANCE/TRANCE-R interaction provides costimulation required for efficient CD4+ T cell priming during viral infection in the absence of CD40L/CD40. These results also indicate that not even the potent inflammatory microenvironment induced by viral infections is sufficient to elicit efficient CD4+ T cell priming without proper costimulation provided by the TNF family (CD40L or TRANCE). Moreover, the data suggest that TRANCE/TRANCE-R may be a novel and important target for immune intervention.
TRANCE; CD40 ligand; T cell; dendritic cell; virus
The contribution of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling to T cell-dependent (TD) antibody responses was assessed by using mice lacking the TLR signaling adaptor MyD88 in individual cell types. When a soluble TLR9 ligand was used as adjuvant for a protein antigen, MyD88 was required in dendritic cells but not in B cells to enhance the TD antibody response, regardless of the inherent immunogenicity of the antigen. In contrast, a TLR9 ligand contained within a virus-like particle substantially augmented the TD germinal center IgG antibody response, and this augmentation required B cell MyD88. The ability of B cells to discriminate between antigens based the physical form of a TLR ligand likely reflects an adaptation to facilitate strong anti-viral antibody responses.
Toll-like receptor; MyD88; T cell-dependent antibody response; dendritic cells; B cells; virus-like particle; virus
Recombinant proteins and in particular single domains or peptides are often poorly immunogenic unless conjugated to a carrier protein. Virus-like-particles are a very efficient means to confer high immunogenicity to antigens. We report here the development of virus-like-particles (VLPs) derived from the RNA bacteriophage AP205 for epitope-based vaccines.
Peptides of angiotensin II, S.typhi outer membrane protein (D2), CXCR4 receptor, HIV1 Nef, gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), Influenza A M2-protein were fused to either N- or C-terminus of AP205 coat protein. The A205-peptide fusions assembled into VLPs, and peptides displayed on the VLP were highly immunogenic in mice. GnRH fused to the C-terminus of AP205 induced a strong antibody response that inhibited GnRH function in vivo. Exposure of the M2-protein peptide at the N-terminus of AP205 resulted in a strong M2-specific antibody response upon immunization, protecting 100% of mice from a lethal influenza infection.
AP205 VLPs are therefore a very efficient and new vaccine system, suitable for complex and long epitopes, of up to at least 55 amino acid residues in length. AP205 VLPs confer a high immunogenicity to displayed epitopes, as shown by inhibition of endogenous GnRH and protective immunity against influenza infection.
Memory CD8 T cells are a critical component of protective immunity and inducing effective memory T cell responses is a major goal of vaccines against chronic infections and tumors 1-3. Considerable effort has gone into designing vaccine regimens that will increase the magnitude of the memory response but there has been minimal emphasis on developing strategies to improve the functional qualities of memory T cells 4. In this study we show that mTOR, the mammalian target of rapamycin 5, is a major regulator of memory CD8 T cell differentiation and in contrast to what we expected the mTOR specific inhibitor rapamycin, an immunosuppressive drug, had surprising immunostimulatory effects on the generation of memory CD8 T cells. Treatment of mice with rapamycin following acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection enhanced not only the quantity but also the quality of virus specific CD8 T cells. Similar effects were seen after immunization of mice with a non-replicating VLP based vaccine. In addition, rapamycin treatment also enhanced memory T cell responses in non-human primates following vaccination with MVA (modified vaccinia virus - Ankara). Rapamycin was effective during both the expansion and contraction phases of the T cell response; during the expansion phase it increased the number of memory precursors and during the contraction phase (effector to memory transition) it accelerated the memory T cell differentiation program. Experiments using RNAi to inhibit mTOR, raptor or FKBP12 expression in antigen specific CD8 T cells showed that mTOR acts intrinsically through the mTORC1 pathway to regulate memory T cell differentiation. Thus, these studies identify a molecular pathway regulating memory formation and provide an effective strategy for improving the functional qualities of vaccine or infection induced memory T cells.
According to the WHO, more than 1 billion people worldwide are overweight and at risk of developing chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke. Current therapies show limited efficacy and are often associated with unpleasant side-effect profiles, hence there is a medical need for new therapeutic interventions in the field of obesity. Gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP, also known as glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) has recently been postulated to link over-nutrition with obesity. In fact GIP receptor-deficient mice (GIPR−/−) were shown to be completely protected from diet-induced obesity. Thus, disrupting GIP signaling represents a promising novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of obesity.
In order to block GIP signaling we chose an active vaccination approach using GIP peptides covalently attached to virus-like particles (VLP-GIP). Vaccination of mice with VLP-GIP induced high titers of specific antibodies and efficiently reduced body weight gain in animals fed a high fat diet. The reduction in body weight gain could be attributed to reduced accumulation of fat. Moreover, increased weight loss was observed in obese mice vaccinated with VLP-GIP. Importantly, despite the incretin action of GIP, VLP-GIP-treated mice did not show signs of glucose intolerance.
This study shows that vaccination against GIP was safe and effective. Thus active vaccination may represent a novel, long-lasting treatment for obesity. However further preclinical safety/toxicology studies will be required before the therapeutic concept can be addressed in humans.
The interaction between T cell receptors (TCR) and peptide-major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) antigens can lead to varying degrees of agonism (T cell activation), or antagonism. The P14 TCR recognises the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-derived peptide, gp33 residues 33–41 (KAVYNFATC), presented in the context of H-2Db. The cellular responses to various related H-2Db peptide ligands are very well characterised, and P14 TCR-transgenic mice have been used extensively in models of virus infection, autoimmunity and tumour rejection. Here, we analyse the binding of the P14 soluble TCR to a broad panel of related H-2Db-peptide complexes by surface plasmon resonance, and compare this with their diverse cellular responses. P14 TCR binds H-2Db-gp33 with a KD of 3 µM (±0.5 µM), typical of an immunodominant antiviral TCR, but with unusually fast kinetics (koff=1 s−1), corresponding to a half-life of 0.7 s at 25°C, outside the range previously observed for murine agonist TCR/pMHC interactions. The most striking feature of these data is that a very short half-life does not preclude the ability of a TCR/pMHC interaction to induce antiviral immunity, autoimmune disease and tumour rejection.
Biophysics; Protein-protein interactions; TCR
T cell activation by APCs is positively and negatively regulated by members of the B7 family. We have identified a previously unknown function for B7 family–related protein V-set and Ig domain–containing 4 (VSIG4). In vitro experiments using VSIG4-Ig fusion molecules showed that VSIG4 is a strong negative regulator of murine and human T cell proliferation and IL-2 production. Administration to mice of soluble VSIG4-Ig fusion molecules reduced the induction of T cell responses in vivo and inhibited the production of Th cell–dependent IgG responses. Unlike that of B7 family members, surface expression of VSIG4 was restricted to resting tissue macrophages and absent upon activation by LPS or in autoimmune inflammatory foci. The specific expression of VSIG4 on resting macrophages in tissue suggests that this inhibitory ligand may be important for the maintenance of T cell unresponsiveness in healthy tissues.
Interleukin-1α (IL-1α) and IL-1β are proinflammatory cytokines, which induce a plethora of genes and activities by binding to the type 1 IL-1 receptor (IL-1R1). We have investigated the role of IL-1 during pulmonary antiviral immune responses in IL-1R1−/− mice infected with influenza virus. IL-1R1−/− mice showed markedly reduced inflammatory pathology in the lung, primarily due to impaired neutrophil recruitment. Activation of CD4+ T cells in secondary lymphoid organs and subsequent migration to the lung were impaired in the absence of IL-1R1. In contrast, activation of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and killing of virus-infected cells in the lung were intact. Influenza virus-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA antibody responses were intact, while the IgM response was markedly reduced in both serum and mucosal sites in IL-1R1−/− mice. We found significantly increased mortality in the absence of IL-1R1; however, lung viral titers were only moderately increased. Our results demonstrate that IL-1α/β mediate acute pulmonary inflammatory pathology while enhancing survival during influenza virus infection. IL-1α/β appear not to influence killing of virus-infected cells but to enhance IgM antibody responses and recruitment of CD4+ T cells to the site of infection.
Virus-like particles (VLPs) are able to induce cytotoxic T-cell responses in the absence of infection or replication. This makes VLPs promising candidates for the development of recombinant vaccines. However, VLPs are also potent inducers of B-cell responses, and it is generally assumed that such VLP-specific antibodies interfere with the induction of protective immune responses, a phenomenon summarized as carrier suppression. In this study, we investigated the impact of preexisting VLP-specific antibodies on the induction of specific cytotoxic T-cell and Th-cell responses in mice. The data show that VLP-specific antibodies did not measurably reduce antigen presentation in vitro or in vivo. Nevertheless, T-cell priming was slightly reduced by antigen-specific antibodies; however, the overall reduction was limited and vaccination with VLPs in the presence of VLP-specific antibodies still resulted in protective T-cell responses. Thus, carrier suppression is unlikely to be a limiting factor for VLP-based T-cell vaccines.
Oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) with immunomodulatory motifs control a number of microbial infections in animal models, presumably by acting through toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) to induce a number of cytokines (e.g., alpha interferon and tumor necrosis factor alpha). The immunomodulatory motif consists of unmethylated sequences of cytosine and guanosine (CpG motif). ODNs without CpG motifs do not trigger TLR9. We hypothesized that triggering of TLR9 generates a cellular environment unfavorable for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication. We tested this hypothesis in human lymphocyte cultures and found that phosphorothioate-modified ODN CpG2006 (type B ODNs) inhibited HIV replication nearly completely and prevented the loss of CD4+ T cells. ODNs CpG2216 and CpG10 (type A ODNs) were less effective. CpG2006 blocked HIV replication in purified CD4+ T cells and T-cell lines; CpG10 was ineffective in this setting, indicating that type A ODNs may inhibit HIV replication in CD4+ T-cell lines indirectly through a separate cell subset. However, control ODNs without CpG motifs also showed anti-HIV effects, indicating that these effects are nonspecific and not due to TLR9 triggering. The mechanism of action is not clear. CpG2006 and its control ODN blocked syncytium formation in a cell fusion-based assay, but CpG10, CpG2216, and their control ODNs did not. The latter types interfered with the HIV replication cycle during disassembly or reverse transcription. In contrast, CpG2006 and CpG2216 specifically induced cytokines critical to initiation of the innate immune response. In summary, the nonspecific anti-HIV activity of CpG ODNs, their ability to stimulate HIV replication in latently infected cells, potentially resulting in their elimination, and their documented ability to link the innate and adaptive immune responses make them attractive candidates for further study as anti-HIV drugs.
Many human adenovirus (Ad) serotypes use the coxsackie B virus-Ad receptor (CAR). Recently, CD46 was suggested to be a receptor of species B Ad serotype 11 (Ad11), Ad14, Ad16, Ad21, Ad35, and Ad50. Using Sindbis virus-mediated cDNA library expression, we identify here the membrane cofactor protein CD46 as a surface receptor of species B Ad3. All four major CD46 transcripts and one minor CD46 transcript expressed in nucleated human cells were isolated. Rodent BHK cells stably expressing the BC1 form of CD46 bound radiolabeled Ad3 with a dissociation constant of 0.3 nM, identical to that of CD46-positive HeLa cells expressing twice as many Ad3 binding sites. Pull-down experiments with recombinant Ad3 fibers and a soluble form of the CD46 extracellular domain linked to the Fc portion of human immunoglobulin G (CD46ex-Fc) indicated direct interactions of the Ad3 fiber knob with CD46ex-Fc but not CARex-Fc (Fc-linked extracellular domain of CAR). Ad3 colocalized with cell surface CD46 in both rodent and human cells at the light and electron microscopy levels. Anti-CD46 antibodies and CD46ex-Fc inhibited Ad3 binding to CD46-expressing BHK cells more than 10-fold and to human cells 2-fold. In CD46-expressing BHK cells, wild-type Ad3 and a chimeric Ad consisting of the Ad5 capsid and the Ad3 fiber elicited dose-dependent cytopathic effects and transgene expression, albeit less efficiently than in human cells. Together, our results show that all of the major splice forms of CD46 are predominant and functional binding sites of Ad3 on CD46-expressing rodent and human cells but may not be the sole receptor of species B Ads on human cells. These results have implications for understanding viral pathogenesis and therapeutic gene delivery.
Alphaviruses are positive stranded RNA viruses that replicate to extremely high titers. Sindbis and Semliki Forest viral vectors are widely used tools for high-level production of recombinant proteins. Recent studies have broadened their scope to vaccine production, gene therapy, and analysis of cell function. Here we discuss the development of non-cytopathic and inducible expression vectors which can be applied to bioprocess development strategies. Furthermore, a Sindbis-based expression cloning system has been developed that allows for the rapid identification of genes encoding proteins with a selected functional activity.
alphavirus; expression; gene therapy; inducibleexpression; neurobiology; non-cytopathic replicon; screening; vaccine development
It has been shown that certain pathogens can trigger efficient T cell responses in the absence of CD28, a key costimulatory receptor expressed on resting T cells. Inducible costimulator protein (ICOS) is an inducible costimulator structurally and functionally related to CD28. Here, we show that in the absence of CD28 both T helper cell type 1 (Th1) and Th2 responses were impaired but not abrogated after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), and the nematode Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. Inhibition of ICOS in CD28-deficient mice further reduced Th1/Th2 polarization. Blocking of ICOS alone had a limited but significant capacity to downregulate Th subset development. In contrast, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses, which are regulated to a minor and major extent by CD28 after LCMV and VSV infection, respectively, remained unaffected by blocking ICOS. Together, our results demonstrate that ICOS regulates both CD28-dependent and CD28-independent CD4+ subset (Th1 and Th2) responses but not CTL responses in vivo.
ICOS; CD28; Th1/Th2; Nippostrongylus brasiliensis; LCMV
It has been proposed that CD2, which is highly expressed on T cells, serves to enhance T cell–antigen presenting cell (APC) adhesion and costimulate T cell activation. Here we analyzed the role of CD2 using CD2-deficient mice crossed with transgenic mice expressing a T cell receptor specific for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-derived peptide p33. We found that absence of CD2 on T cells shifted the p33-specific dose–response curve in vitro by a factor of 3–10. In comparison, stimulation of T cells in the absence of lymphocyte function–associated antigen (LFA)-1–intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 interaction shifted the dose–response curve by a factor of 10, whereas absence of both CD2–CD48 and LFA-1–ICAM-1 interactions shifted the response by a factor of ∼100. This indicates that CD2 and LFA-1 facilitate T cell activation additively. T cell activation at low antigen density was blocked at its very first steps, as T cell APC conjugate formation, TCR triggering, and Ca2+ fluxes were affected by the absence of CD2. In vivo, LCMV-specific, CD2-deficient T cells proliferated normally upon infection with live virus but responded in a reduced fashion upon cross-priming. Thus, CD2 sets quantitative thresholds and fine-tunes T cell activation both in vitro and in vivo.
adhesion; costimulation; virus; cross-priming; T cell
The protooncogene Vav functions as a GDP/GTP exchange factor (GEF) for Rho-like small GTPases involved in cytoskeletal reorganization and cytokine production in T cells. Gene-targeted mice lacking Vav have a severe defect in positive and negative selection of T cell antigen receptor transgenic thymocytes in vivo, and vav−/− thymocytes are completely resistant to peptide-specific and anti-CD3/anti-CD28–mediated apoptosis. Vav acts upstream of mitochondrial pore opening and caspase activation. Biochemically, Vav regulates peptide-specific Ca2+ mobilization and actin polymerization. Peptide-specific cell death was blocked both by cytochalasin D inhibition of actin polymerization and by inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC). Activation of PKC with phorbol ester restored peptide-specific apoptosis in vav−/− thymocytes. Vav was found to bind constitutively to PKC-θ in thymocytes. Our results indicate that peptide-triggered thymocyte apoptosis is mediated via Vav activation, changes in the actin cytoskeleton, and subsequent activation of a PKC isoform.
Vav; negative selection; actin cytoskeleton; signaling transduction; protein kinase C
Induction and maintenance of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity specific for a primary endogenous tumor was investigated in vivo. The simian virus 40 T antigen (Tag) expressed under the control of the rat insulin promoter (RIP) induced pancreatic β-cell tumors producing insulin, causing progressive hypoglycemia. As an endogenous tumor antigen, the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein (GP) was introduced also under the control of the RIP. No significant spontaneous CTL activation against GP was observed. However, LCMV infection induced an antitumor CTL response which efficiently reduced the tumor mass, resulting in temporarily normalized blood glucose levels and prolonged survival of double transgenic RIP(GP × Tag2) mice (137 ± 18 d) as opposed to control RIP-Tag2 mice (88 ± 8 d). Surprisingly, the tumor-specific CTL response was not sustained despite the facts that the tumor cells continued to express MHC class I and LCMV-GP–specific CTLs were present and not tolerized. Subsequent adoptive transfer of virus activated spleen cells into RIP(GP × Tag2) mice further prolonged survival (168 ± 11 d), demonstrating continued expression of the LCMV-GP tumor antigen and MHC class I. The data show that the tumor did not spontaneously induce or maintain an activated CTL response, revealing a profound lack of immunogenicity in vivo. Therefore, repetitive immunizations are necessary for prolonged antitumor immunotherapy. In addition, the data suggest that the risk for induction of chronic autoimmune diseases is limited, which may encourage immunotherapy against antigens selectively but not exclusively expressed by the tumor.
Antibody responses against antibodies, such as rheumatoid factors, are found in several immunopathological diseases and may play a role in disease pathogenesis. Experience shows that they are usually difficult to induce experimentally. Antibodies specific for immunoglobulin constant regions (anti-allotypic) or for variable regions (anti-idiotypic) have been investigated in animal models; the latter have even been postulated to regulate antibody and T cell responses via network-like interactions. Why and how such anti-antibodies are induced during autoimmune diseases, has remained largely unclear. Because repetitively arranged epitopes in a paracrystalline structure of a viral envelope cross-link B cell receptors efficiently to induce a prompt T-independent IgM response, this study used immune complexes containing viruses or bacteria to evaluate the role of antigen pattern for induction of anti-antibody responses. We present evidence that antibodies bound to strictly ordered, but not to irregularly arranged, antigens dramatically enhance induction of anti-antibodies, already after a single immunization and without using adjuvants. The results indicate a novel link between anti-antibody responses and infectious agents, and suggest a similar role for repetitive self-antigens such as DNA or collagen involved in chronic immunopathological diseases.
Listeria monocytogenes is widely used as a model to study immune responses against intracellular bacteria. It has been shown that neutrophils and macrophages play an important role to restrict bacterial replication in the early phase of primary infection in mice, and that the cytokines interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) are essential for protection. However, the involved signaling pathways and effector mechanisms are still poorly understood. This study investigated mouse strains deficient for the IFN-dependent transcription factors interferon consensus sequence binding protein (ICSBP), interferon regulatory factor (IRF)1 or 2 for their capacity to eliminate Listeria in vivo and in vitro and for production of inducible reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI) or reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) in macrophages. ICSBP−/− and to a lesser degree also IRF2−/− mice were highly susceptible to Listeria infection. This correlated with impaired elimination of Listeria from infected peritoneal macrophage (PEM) cultures stimulated with IFN-γ in vitro; in addition these cultures showed reduced and delayed oxidative burst upon IFN-γ stimulation, whereas nitric oxide production was normal. In contrast, mice deficient for IRF1 were not able to produce nitric oxide, but they efficiently controlled Listeria in vivo and in vitro. These results indicate that (a) the ICSBP/IRF2 complex is essential for IFN-γ–mediated protection against Listeria and that (b) ROI together with additional still unknown effector mechanisms may be responsible for the anti-Listeria activity of macrophages, whereas IRF1-induced RNI are not limiting.