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Vaccine. 2009 May 18;27(23):3072-82. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.03.019. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Mechanism for increased immunogenicity of vaccines that form in vivo immune complexes with the natural anti-Gal antibody.

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  • 1University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Anti-Gal constitutes approximately 1% of circulating IgG in humans and interacts specifically with alpha-gal epitopes. We reported previously that expression of alpha-gal epitopes on HIV gp120 and influenza virus vaccines increases immunogenicity by approximately 100-fold. We hypothesize that immunogenicity of any microbial vaccine can be markedly increased by linked alpha-gal epitopes due to in vivo formation of immune complexes with anti-Gal and the effective internalization of such immune complexes by APC, via Fc/FcgammaR interaction. The increased transport to lymph nodes and processing of anti-Gal complexed vaccines internalized by APC, results in effective activation of vaccine specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, and high cellular and humoral immune response. This universal mechanism for anti-Gal mediated increased immunogenicity is demonstrated in alpha1,3galactosyltransferase knockout mice with ovalbumin as a model vaccine.

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