J-LEAPS vaccines initiate murine Th1 responses by activating dendritic cells

P. R. Taylor, G. K. Koski, C. C. Paustian, E. Bailey, P. A. Cohen, F. B.G. Moore, D. H. Zimmerman, K. S. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The Ligand Epitope Antigen Presentation System (LEAPS) converts a peptide containing a T cell epitope as small as 8 amino acids into an immunogen and directs the nature of the subsequent response. Tandem synthesis of the J peptide (a peptide from the beta-2-microglobulin) with peptides of 15 or 30 amino acids from HSV-1 or HIV made them immunogenic and promoted Th1 immune responses. Immunization of A/J or C57BL/6 mice with J-LEAPS heteroconjugates containing an epitope from the HSV-1 glycoprotein D (JgD) or an epitope from the HIV gag protein (JH) emulsified with Seppic ISA51 induced increased levels of IL-12p70 by day 3 and increased levels of interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) on days 10 and 24. Interestingly, levels of IL-10, TNF-alpha, and IL-6 did not change. Neither the H nor the gD peptides alone elicited responses and only weak responses followed immunization with the J peptide. Bone marrow (BM) cells became CD86 and CD11c positive within 48. h of treatment with JgD or JH. JH or JgD treatment promoted IL-12p70 production and expression of CD8 denoting the maturation and activation of a subclass of myeloid DCs. Pure cultures of immature myeloid DCs also responded to JgD treatment, forming clusters, developing dendrites, and producing IL-12p70 within 24. h. The JH or JgD treated bone marrow cells (JgD-DC) were necessary and sufficient to activate splenic T cells to produce IFN-gamma and the JgD-DC provided an antigen specific booster response to T cells from JgD immunized mice. Adoptive transfer of JgD-DC was also sufficient to initiate protective antigen specific immunity from lethal challenge with HSV-1. The J-LEAPS vaccines appear to act as an adjuvant and immunogen on DC precursors in a unique manner to promote activation and maturation into IL-12p70 producing DCs which then can initiate sufficient Th1 immune responses to elicit protection without production of acute phase cytokines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5533-5542
Number of pages10
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Adoptive transfer
  • Dendritic cells
  • HIV
  • HSV
  • IL12
  • Th1
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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