Discovery of immunostimulatory CpG-DNA and its application to tuberculosis vaccine development

Saburo Yamamoto, Toshiko Yamamoto, Yasuhiro Nojima, Kiyoko Umemori, Susan Phalen, David N. McMurray, Etsuro Kuramoto, Sumiko Iho, Rumiko Takauji, Yukio Sato, Takeshi Yamada, Naoya Ohara, Sohkichi Matsumoto, Yoshitaka Goto, Kazuhiro Matsuo, Tohru Tokunaga

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


DNA containing an unmethylated CpG motif has a potent immunostimulatory effect on the vertebrate immune system. Because such CpG motifs are relatively common in bacterial DNA, but rare in mammalian animal and plant DNA, they may be an evolutionary adaptation augmenting innate immunity, most likely in response to pathogens that replicate within the host cells, such as viruses and intracellular bacteria. Microbial infection induces innate immunity by triggering pattern-recognition systems. The infected cells produce proinflammatory cytokines that directly combat microbial invaders and express costimulating surface molecules, which develop adaptive immunity by inducing distinct T cell differentiation. Bacterial DNA with unmethylated CpG-DNA stimulates vertebrate immature immune cells to induce maturation and to produce TNF-α as well as Th1-type cytokines, IL-12 and IFN-γ. Therefore, CpG-DNA functions as an adjuvant for regulating the initiation of Th1 differentiation. The roles of immunostimulatory CpG motifs in DNA vaccine developments and in therapeutic applications have been discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalJapanese journal of infectious diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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