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J Endotoxin Res. 2006;12(2):69-85.

MDP and other muropeptides--direct and synergistic effects on the immune system.

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Biochemical Pharmacology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.


Muropeptides are breakdown products of peptidoglycan (PGN) of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. They are released during bacterial growth and division, as part of the host response by lysozyme and amidases, or upon antibiotic treatment. After phagocytosis of bacteria or bacterial breakdown products by host immune cells, the muropeptides trigger intracellular signaling cascades, leading to altered gene expression and activation of the immune response. Numerous muropeptides and derivatives have been synthesized chemically to characterize their immunostimulatory effects and adjuvant activity. Muramyl dipeptide, a natural partial structure of PGN, is the minimal structure with adjuvant activity. This review discusses the structure and occurrence of muropeptides and gives a broad overview of their inflammatory and adjuvant activity and the possible involvement of receptors in these responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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