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DNA Cell Biol. 2003 Oct;22(10):621-31.

Structural characterization of the inhibitory DNA motif for the type A (D)-CpG-induced cytokine secretion and NK-cell lytic activity in mouse spleen cells.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine and Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, The Iowa City VA Medical Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) with the CpG motif have been shown to be potent stimulators of innate immunity. A theoretical concern is that uncontrolled stimulation of the innate immune system through the TLR-9 receptor could induce, or worsen, some autoimmune diseases such as adjuvant arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus. Safe therapeutic use of such ODN could be enhanced if one could regulate some of their stimulatory activities. We have designed a group of synthetic ODNs, which were able to inhibit the induction of NK lytic activity, IL-12p40 and IFN-gamma cytokine secretion by type A (D)-CpG-ODNs. Inhibition occurred in both DNA-sequence and dose-dependent fashion. Fifty percent inhibition was achieved with ~10-nM concentration of the most potent inhibitory ODNs. Delayed addition of these ODNs for up to 2 h was still able to profoundly affect CpG-induced IL-12p40 production at 18 h. Inhibitory DNA motif consists of two nucleotide triplets, a proximal pyrimidine-rich CCT sequence and a more distal GGG triplet. Optimal distance between these blocks is between three to five nucleotides. The linker sequence between the CCT and GGG blocks can additionally modify the activity of inhibitory ODNs, in both a positive and in negative way. When the order of CCT and GGG blocks is reversed, inhibition is completely lost. These findings suggest that CpG regulation of innate immunity can itself be regulated by particular motifs, which could be of therapeutic benefit in autoimmune diseases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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