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J Immunol. 2010 Nov 15;185(10):5787-95. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0903184. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

The M cell-targeting ligand promotes antigen delivery and induces antigen-specific immune responses in mucosal vaccination.

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Division of Biological Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, South Korea.


Oral mucosal immunization can induce protective immunity in both systemic compartments and the mucosa. Successful mucosal immunization depends on Ag delivery to the mucosal immune induction site. The high transcytotic activity of M cells within the mucosa makes these cells attractive targets for mucosal Ag delivery, although it remains unclear whether delivery of Ag to M cells only can guarantee the induction of effective immune responses. In this study, we evaluated the ability of an M cell-targeting ligand with adjuvant activity to induce immunity against ligand-fused Ag. We selected M cell-targeting ligands through biopanning of a phage display library against differentiated in vitro M-like cells and produced the recombinant Ags fused to the selected ligands using the model Ag. One of the selected peptide ligands, Co1, promoted the binding of ligand-fused Ag to mouse Peyer's patch M cells and human M-like cells that had been defined by binding with the M cell-specific and anti-GP2 Abs. In addition, Co1 ligand enhanced the uptake of fused Ag by immunogenic tissue in an ex vivo loop assay and in vivo oral administration experiments. After oral administration, the ligand-fused Ag enhanced immune responses against the fused Ag compared with those of the control Ag without ligand. In addition, this use of the ligand supported a skewed Th2-type immune response against the fused Ag. Collectively, these results suggest that the ligand selected through biopanning against cultured M-like cells could be used as an adjuvant for targeted Ag delivery into the mucosal immune system to enhance immune induction.

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