Inhibitory oligodeoxyribonucleotides (INH-ODN) have been developed that selectively block activation of mouse TLR9. Their inhibitory motif consisting of CCx(not-C)(not-C)xxGGG (x = any base) also reduces anti-DNA antibodies in lupus mice.
The current study demonstrates that this motif also provides the sequences required to block TLR9 in human B cells and human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells transfected with human TLR9. However, extending the sequence by four to five bases at the 5' end enhanced activity and this enhancement was greater when a phosphorothioate (pS) backbone replaced the native phosphodiester (pO) backbone. A series of pO-backbone INH-ODN representing a 500-fold range of activity in biologic assays was shown to cover less than a 2.5-fold range of avidity for binding human TLR9-Ig fusion protein, eliminating TLR9 ectodomain binding as the explanation for sequence-specific differences in biologic activity.
With few exceptions, the relative activity of INH-ODN in Namalwa cells and HEK/human TLR9 cells was similar to that seen in mouse B cells. INH-ODN activity in human peripheral blood B cells correlated significantly with the cell line data.
These results favor the conclusion that although the backbone determines strength of TLR9 binding, critical recognition of the INH-ODN sequence necessary for biologic activity is performed by a molecule that is not TLR9. These studies also identify the strongest INH-ODN for human B cells, helping to guide the selection of INH-ODN sequences for therapeutics in any situation where inflammation is enhanced by TLR9.
Int Immunol (1460-2377)
Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Int Immunol. 2011 Mar;23(3):203-14
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