ISCOMATRIX vaccines mediate CD8+ T-cell cross-priming by a MyD88-dependent signaling pathway

Immunol Cell Biol. 2012 May;90(5):540-52. doi: 10.1038/icb.2011.71. Epub 2011 Sep 6.


Generating a cytotoxic CD8(+) T-cell response that can eradicate malignant cells is the primary objective of cancer vaccine strategies. In this study we have characterized the innate and adaptive immune response to the ISCOMATRIX adjuvant, and the ability of vaccine antigens formulated with this adjuvant to promote antitumor immunity. ISCOMATRIX adjuvant led to a rapid innate immune cell response at the injection site, followed by the activation of natural killer and dendritic cells (DC) in regional draining lymph nodes. Strikingly, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I cross-presentation by CD8α(+) and CD8α(-) DCs was enhanced by up to 100-fold when antigen was formulated with ISCOMATRIX adjuvant. These coordinated features enabled efficient CD8(+) T-cell cross-priming, which exhibited prophylactic and therapeutic tumoricidal activity. The therapeutic efficacy of an ISCOMATRIX vaccine was further improved when co-administered with an anti-CD40 agonist antibody, suggesting that ISCOMATRIX-based vaccines may combine favorably with other immune modifiers in clinical development to treat cancer. Finally, we identified a requirement for the myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88) adapter protein for both innate and adaptive immune responses to ISCOMATRIX vaccines in vivo. Taken together, our findings support the utility of the ISCOMATRIX adjuvant for use in the development of novel vaccines, particularly those requiring strong CD8(+) T-cell immune responses, such as therapeutic cancer vaccines.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • CD40 Antigens / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cholesterol / administration & dosage
  • Cholesterol / immunology*
  • Cross-Priming / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Drug Combinations
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / immunology
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / metabolism
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Phospholipids / administration & dosage
  • Phospholipids / immunology*
  • Receptor Cross-Talk / drug effects
  • Saponins / administration & dosage
  • Saponins / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CD40 Antigens
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Drug Combinations
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
  • Phospholipids
  • Saponins
  • Ovalbumin
  • Cholesterol