Combined TLR4 and TLR9 agonists induce distinct phenotypic changes in innate immunity in vitro and in vivo

Anna T. Lampe, Bhanwar Lal Puniya, Angela K. Pannier, Tomás Helikar, Deborah M. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Toll-like receptor (TLR)4 and TLR9 agonists, MPL and CpG, are used as adjuvants in vaccines and have been investigated for their combined potential. However, how these two combined agonists regulate transcriptional changes in innate immune cells and cells at the site of vaccination has not been thoroughly investigated. Here, we utilized transcriptomics to investigate how CpG, MPL, and CpG + MPL impact gene expression in dendritic cells (DC) in vitro. Principal component analysis of transcriptional changes after single and combined treatment indicated that CpG, MPL, and CpG + MPL caused distinct gene signatures. CpG + MPL induced antiviral gene expression and activated the interferon regulatory factor pathway. In vitro changes were associated with lower in vivo morbidity upon viral challenge, elevated systemic cytokine protein production, local cytokine mRNA expression, and increased migratory monocyte derived DC populations in the draining lymph node following vaccination with CpG + MPL. This report suggests that CpG + MPL enhances transcription of antiviral and inflammatory genes and increases DC migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104149
JournalCellular Immunology
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Adjuvants
  • Antigen presenting cells
  • IRF signaling
  • Innate immunity
  • NF-κB signaling
  • TLR4
  • TLR9
  • Transcriptomics
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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