Oligodeoxynucleotide modifications determine the magnitude of B cell stimulation by CpG motifs

Antisense Nucleic Acid Drug Dev. Summer 1996;6(2):133-9. doi: 10.1089/oli.1.1996.6.133.


We have recently reported that oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) that contain a CpG dinucleotide flanked by two purines on the 5'-side and two pyrimidines on the 3'-side induce potent B cell proliferation and differentiation. The present study investigates the role of the ODN backbone in determining the magnitude of the lymphocyte stimulation. Phosphorothioate ODN were approximately 2 logs more potent than the same sequence with a phosphodiester backbone. Chimeric ODN in which the 5'- and 3'-ends were modified with nuclease-resistant internucleotide linkages induced widely varying degrees of immune activation depending on the modification. Phosphorodithioate linkages were by far the most potent and induced B cell activation at nanomolar concentrations, approximately 1 log lower than required for the next most potent modification, phosphorothioate. Methylphosphorothioate terminal linkages were slightly more potent than phosphodiester, which were in turn slightly more potent than terminal methylphosphonate-modified ODN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Mice
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / chemistry*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / genetics
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense