Potential adjuvantic properties of innate immune stimuli

Hemamali J. Warshakoon, Jennifer D. Hood, Matthew R. Kimbrell, Subbalakshmi Malladi, Wen Yan Wu, Nikunj M. Shukla, Geetanjali Agnihotri, Diptesh Sil, Sunil A. David

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a family of conserved pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that recognize pathogen associated molecular patterns and serve as primary sensors of the innate immune system. Ten members of the TLR family have so far been identified in the human genome. The ligands for these receptors are structurally highly conserved microbial molecules such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) (recognized by TLR4), lipopeptides (TLR2 in combination with TLR1 or TLR6), flagellin (TLR5), single stranded RNA (TLR7 and TLR8), double-stranded RNA (TLR3), CpG motif-containing DNA (TLR9) and profilin present on uropathogenic bacteria (TLR 11). Complementing the TLRs are the nucleotide-binding domain (NOD), leucine rich repeat containing family (or Nod-like Receptors, NLRs), which detect muramylpeptides released from bacterial peptidoglycan (PGN) in the intracytoplasmic compartment, as well as the retinoic-acid-inducible protein 1 (RIG-I-like receptors; RLRs) which sense single-stranded RNA of viral origin. The activation of PRRs by their cognate ligands leads to production of inflammatory cytokines, upregulation of MHC molecules and co-stimulatory signals in antigen-presenting cells as well as activating natural killer cells, in addition to priming and amplifying antigen-specific T-, and B-cell effector functions. Thus, these stimuli serve to link innate and adaptive immunity and can therefore be exploited as powerful adjuvants in eliciting both primary and anamnestic immune responses. This review summarizes what is currently known about the immunopotentiatory and adjuvantic activities of innate immune stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-394
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Vaccines
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjuvants
  • CpG DNA
  • Flagellin
  • Imidazoquinolines
  • Immunostimulation
  • Innate immunity
  • Lipopeptides
  • Monophosphoryl lipid A
  • Thiazoloquinolones
  • Toll-like receptors
  • Vaccines
  • ssRNA


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