QS-21 structure/function studies: effect of acylation on adjuvant activity

Author(s): Liu G, Anderson C, Scaltreto H, Barbon J, Kensil CR


QS-21 is a natural saponin adjuvant derived from the tree Quillaja saponaria Molina. Previous studies over a limited dose range suggested the acylation is critical to adjuvant activity. In this study, we prepared DS-1 (deacylated QS-21) and RDS-1 (reacylated DS-1 with dodecylamine at a different site than QS-21) to determine the effect on a dose-response curve over a wider range in mice. DS-1 and RDS-1 induced IgG1 responses at higher doses compared to that induced by QS-21. DS-1 was inactive for inducing IgG2a or CTL responses at any doses. RDS-1 showed moderate IgG2a response at 240 microg, but did not show CTL response at any dose evaluated.

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