Polymerisation of a T Cell Epitope with an Immunostimulatory C3d Peptide Sequence Enhances Antigen Specific T Cell Responses

  • Neil M. O’Brien-Simpson
  • Troy J. Attard
  • Baihui Zheng
  • Katrina A. Walsh
  • Eric C. Reynolds


The complement protein C3d and C3d derived peptides that bind CD21 are known to enhance immunity to co-immunised antigens. In this study we have synthesised the minimal CD21 binding sequence of C3d (1227LYNVEA1232) as mono, di and tri tandem repeats and derivatised the N-terminus with an acryloyl moiety. These acryloyl-(C3d) n peptides were co-polymerised with a acryloyl-T cell epitope (PAS1K) from the Porphyromonas gingivalis antigen the RgpA–Kgp proteinase–adhesin complex. The ability of C3d containing polymers to enhance T cell immunity in vitro and in vivo was evaluated. When used to stimulate in vitro PAS1K-primed or RgpA–Kgp complex-primed T cells the C3d containing PAS1K polymers induced a mixed and significantly (p < 0.05) higher IL-4 and IFNγ T cell response compared to that induced by the PAS1K peptide or polymer. PAS1K polymers containing tandem repeats of C3d induced a significantly (p < 0.05) stronger maximal proliferative response, at the same antigenic dose, compared to that induced by the PAS1K peptide or polymer. When used as immunogens to prime T cells all of the C3d containing PAS1K polymers induced a dominant IFNγ T cell response and reduced the antigen dose required for maximal proliferation 150-fold compared to that required for the PAS1K-peptide or polymer primed T cells. In conclusion, the 6 residue sequence LYNVEA from C3d is sufficient to enhance immunity to an antigen and that the effect is more pronounced when C3d is part of the immunising antigen rather than an in vitro stimulating antigen.


C3d complement Peptide synthesis Peptide polymers T cell immune responses 



We also wish to thank Ms Jenny Davis for the animal welfare and handling. This work was supported by NHMRC Grants: APP1029878 and APP1008106.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil M. O’Brien-Simpson
    • 1
  • Troy J. Attard
    • 1
  • Baihui Zheng
    • 1
  • Katrina A. Walsh
    • 1
  • Eric C. Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Oral Health CRC, Melbourne Dental School, Bio21 Institute, The University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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