Immunomodulatory activity of recombinant Ricin toxin binding Subunit B (RTB)

Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Jun 13;14(6):12401-10. doi: 10.3390/ijms140612401.


Ricin toxin binding subunit B (RTB) is one of the subunits of the ricin protein. RTB has been used as adjuvant, but little is known about its mechanism. In this study, we found that RTB increased not only nitric oxide (NO) release, but also tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6 production in mouse macrophage cell line RAW264.7 cells. They subsequently exhibited enhanced ConA-induced T-cell and LPS-induced B-cell proliferative responses. We also examined the cytokines that were produced from splenocytes following in vitro RTB administration. Increased levels of IL-2, interferon (IFN)-γ and TNF-α were observed, while IL-4 and IL-5 were unaffected. These results demonstrate that recombinant RTB can act on the immune system and activate T-cells by introducing a Th1 immune response. Th1 cells might be the primary cellular target affected by RTB. Our results suggest that the recombinant RTB can promote the activation of macrophages and has a beneficial effect on immunomodulatory activity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Protein Subunits / pharmacology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Ricin / isolation & purification
  • Ricin / pharmacology*
  • Spleen / cytology


  • Cytokines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Protein Subunits
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Ricin