Journal of virology

CpG Oligodeoxynucleotides Facilitate Delivery of Whole Inactivated H9N2 Influenza Virus via Transepithelial Dendrites of Dendritic Cells in Nasal Mucosa.

PMID 25810544


The spread of the low-pathogenicity avian H9N2 influenza virus has seriously increased the risk of a new influenza pandemic. Although whole inactivated virus (WIV) vaccine via intranasal pathway is the effective method of blocking virus transmission, the mucosal barrier seems to be a major factor hampering its development. CpG oligodeoxynucleotides, a known adjuvant, can target downstream dendritic cells (DCs) and effectively enhance the mucosal and systemic immune responses. However, the ability of CpGs to assist H9N2 WIV in transepithelial transport remains unknown. Here, in vitro and in vivo, we showed that CpGs provided assistance for H9N2 WIV in recruiting DCs to the nasal epithelial cells (ECs) and forming transepithelial dendrites (TEDs) to capture luminal viruses. CD103(+) DCs participated in this process. Chemokine CCL20 from nasal ECs played a key role in driving DC recruitment and TED formation. Virus-loaded DCs quickly migrated into the draining cervical lymph nodes (CLNs) for antigen presentation. In addition, the competence of CpGs was independent of direct epithelial transport via the transcellular or paracellular pathway. Taken together, our data demonstrated that CpGs enhanced the transport of H9N2 WIV via TEDs of nasal DCs, which might be a novel mechanism for optimal adaptive immune responses. This paper demonstrates by both an in vivo and an in vitro coculture model that CpG oligodeoxynucleotides, known as an adjuvant generally targeting downstream immune responses, also are crucial for the transport of H9N2 WIV across nasal epithelial cells (ECs) via the uptake of transepithelial dendrites (TEDs). Our results prove for the first time to our knowledge that the immune-potentiating mechanism of CpGs is based on strengthening the transepithelial uptake of H9N2 WIV in nasal mucosa. These findings provide a fresh perspective for further improvement of intranasal influenza vaccines, which are urgently needed in the face of the potential threat of H9N2 influenza.