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J Endotoxin Res. 2006;12(6):379-84.

DNA and RNA autoantigens as autoadjuvants.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


AM14 B cells are a prototype for those low affinity autoreactive B cells that routinely mature as naïve cells in peripheral lymphoid tissues. These cells express a transgene-encoded receptor specific for IgG2a and can be effectively activated by immune complexes that incorporate either mammalian DNA or mammalian RNA that has been released from dead or dying cells. Activation depends on the ability of the B-cell receptor to deliver antigen to an internal vesicular compartment containing either Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR9) or TLR7. Since TLR9 and TLR7 are thought to recognize microbial DNA and RNA preferentially, it is important to determine under what conditions mammalian DNA and RNA become effective TLR ligands, and whether the determining factor is delivery or structure. This issue has been addressed by using IgG2a mAbs to deliver immune complexes preloaded with defined fragments of DNA or RNA, or by using modified ODNs/ORNs. The data demonstrate that only certain nucleic acid sequences or structures can induce autoreactive B-cell proliferation, even when delivery to the appropriate TLR compartment is facilitated by uptake through the B-cell receptor (BCR).

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