Structure/Function Studies on QS-21, A Unique Immunological Adjuvant from Quillaja saponaria

  • Charlotte Read Kensil
  • Sean Soltysik
  • Deborah A. Wheeler
  • Jia-Yan Wu
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 404)


QS-21 is an acylated triterpene glycoside isolated from the bark of the South American tree Quillaja saponaria Molina’. It is a potent immunological adjuvant. It has been shown to enhance antigen-specific antibody titers to a wide variety of T-dependent and T-independent antigens, including hen egg albumin (ovalbumin)2, recombinant Borrelia burgdorferi OspA and OspB3, recombinant human cytomegalovirus envelope protein gB4, and E. coli 018 polysaccharides’. Further, QS-21-adjuvanted subunit antigen vaccines stimulate a cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response6,7,8. This response is characterized by the induction of CD8+ T cells that kill target cells expressing specific antigen. Recently, QS-21 was shown to enhance antigen-specific IgM and IgG responses in a Phase I clinical study of a melanoma immunotherapeutic vaccine9.


Critical Micellar Concentration Adjuvant Activity Major Histocompatibility Antigen Complex Quillaja Saponin Methyloctanoic Acid 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Read Kensil
    • 1
  • Sean Soltysik
    • 1
  • Deborah A. Wheeler
    • 1
  • Jia-Yan Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Cambridge Biotech CorporationWorcesterUSA

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