1887

Abstract

The nucleocapsid of hepatitis B virus (HBV) allows insertions of heterologous peptides and even complete proteins. Because of its outstanding capacity to induce B-cell, T-helper and cytotoxic T-cell responses, this structure is considered to be an important instrument for future vaccine development. Most of the evidence for the unique immunogenic qualities of nucleocapsids has been generated in mice, which are not natural hosts of HBV. Moreover, most nucleocapsid preparations used in these studies were produced in a recombinant manner in . Such preparations have been shown to contain lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Not unexpectedly, it is shown here that contaminating LPS, rather than the nucleocapsid structure itself, is responsible for the activation of human antigen-presenting cells. Careful examination of the literature dealing with the immunogenicity of HBV nucleocapsids suggests that the possible presence of LPS has been largely ignored or underestimated in several studies. This raises doubts on some of the underlying mechanisms that have been proposed to explain the unique immunogenicity of the HBV nucleocapsid.

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2005-02-01
2019-11-18
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