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J Immunol. 2000 Sep 15;165(6):3301-8.

The B subunit of Shiga toxin fused to a tumor antigen elicits CTL and targets dendritic cells to allow MHC class I-restricted presentation of peptides derived from exogenous antigens.

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  • 1Unité d'Immunologie Clinique, Institut de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 255, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Institut Curie, Paris, France.


Immunization with peptide or recombinant proteins generally fails to elicit CTL, which are thought to play a key role in the control of virus-infected cells and tumor growth. In this study we show that the nontoxic B subunit of Shiga toxin fused to a tumor peptide derived from the mouse mastocytoma P815 can induce specific CTL in mice without the use of adjuvant. The Shiga B subunit acts as a vector rather than as an adjuvant, because coinjection of the tumor peptide and the B subunit as separate entities does not lead to CTL induction. We also demonstrated that in vitro the B subunit mediates the delivery of various exogenous CD8 T cell epitopes into the conventional MHC class I-restricted pathway, as this process is inhibited by brefeldin A and lactacystin and requires a functional TAP system. In contrast to other nonviral methods for transport of exogenous Ags into the endogenous MHC class I pathway that involve macropinocytosis or phagocytosis, the Shiga B subunit targets this pathway in a receptor-dependent manner, namely via binding to the glycolipid Gb3. Because this receptor is highly expressed on various dendritic cells, it should allow preferential targeting of the Shiga B subunit to these professional APCs. Therefore, the Shiga B subunit appears to represent an attractive vector for vaccine development due to its ability to target dendritic cells and to induce specific CTL without the need for adjuvant.

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