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Mol Immunol. 2009 May;46(8-9):1883-91. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2009.02.008. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

Synergistic BM-DC activation and immune induction by the oral vaccine vector Streptococcus gordonii and exogenous tumor necrosis factor.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada.


Streptococcus gordonii, a potential mucosal vaccine delivery vector, is proficient at colonizing murine oral mucosa; however, it often fails to elicit significant antibody titers against its vaccine antigen payloads. The poor response may be due to an inability of S. gordonii to elicit cytokines needed to suppress mucosal tolerance; exogenously supplied cytokines, such as TNF, could overcome this effect. To test this, murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BM-DCs) were stimulated with UV-killed S. gordonii PM14, that surface expresses a fragment of the immunodominant S1 subunit of pertussis toxin. Peptidoglycan (PGN), lipoteichoic acid (LTA), lipoprotein (LP), and DNA were also isolated from the bacteria, and used to stimulate BM-DCs. Stimulation with TNF, S. gordonii, PGN, LTA, or LP all resulted in increased surface expression of MHCII, CD80, and CD86, compared to unstimulated BM-DCs. Stimulation with S. gordonii elicited IL-6, IL-10, and IL-12p70 production from the BM-DCs, while stimulation with the bacterial components induced some or all of the three cytokines. When BM-DCs were simultaneously stimulated with S. gordonii and TNF, a marginal increase in surface marker upregulation was observed, and the two stimuli synergized to elicit substantially greater quantities of IL-6, IL-10, and IL-12p70. Synergy between TNF and the purified bacterial components was also observed. The effect of TNF was abolished when BM-DCs were obtained from mice deficient for either TNFR1 or TNFR2, and cytokine induction by S. gordonii was entirely dependent on functional MyD88. Synergistic IL-10 induction by S. gordonii and TNF was not observed in TLR-2(-/-) BM-DCs, and TNF was found to cause TLR-2 upregulation, providing at least a partial mechanism for the observed synergy. When S. gordonii and TNF were used to immunize mice, a more robust anti-S. gordonii IgG response was elicited as compared to immunization with S. gordonii alone. However, the addition of TNF did not result in stronger responses against the antigenic insert (S1 fragment) in immunized mice. These findings collectively demonstrate that TNF is able to prime BM-DCs to better respond to S. gordonii, through a mechanism at least partially involving TLR-2 upregulation.

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