Detection of prokaryotic mRNA signifies microbial viability and promotes immunity

Sander, Leif E, Davis, Michael J, Boekschoten, Mark V, Amsen, Derk, Dascher, Christopher C, Ryffel, Bernard, Swanson, Joel A, Müller, Michael ORCID: and Blander, J Magarian (2011) Detection of prokaryotic mRNA signifies microbial viability and promotes immunity. Nature, 474 (7351). pp. 385-389. ISSN 0028-0836

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


Live vaccines have long been known to trigger far more vigorous immune responses than their killed counterparts. This has been attributed to the ability of live microorganisms to replicate and express specialized virulence factors that facilitate invasion and infection of their hosts. However, protective immunization can often be achieved with a single injection of live, but not dead, attenuated microorganisms stripped of their virulence factors. Pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), which are detected by the immune system, are present in both live and killed vaccines, indicating that certain poorly characterized aspects of live microorganisms, not incorporated in dead vaccines, are particularly effective at inducing protective immunity. Here we show that the mammalian innate immune system can directly sense microbial viability through detection of a special class of viability-associated PAMPs (vita-PAMPs). We identify prokaryotic messenger RNA as a vita-PAMP present only in viable bacteria, the recognition of which elicits a unique innate response and a robust adaptive antibody response. Notably, the innate response evoked by viability and prokaryotic mRNA was thus far considered to be reserved for pathogenic bacteria, but we show that even non-pathogenic bacteria in sterile tissues can trigger similar responses, provided that they are alive. Thus, the immune system actively gauges the infectious risk by searching PAMPs for signatures of microbial life and thus infectivity. Detection of vita-PAMPs triggers a state of alert not warranted for dead bacteria. Vaccine formulations that incorporate vita-PAMPs could thus combine the superior protection of live vaccines with the safety of dead vaccines.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptor proteins, vesicular transport,animals,antibodies, bacterial,bacteria,bacterial vaccines,carrier proteins,cells, cultured,dendritic cells,immunity, innate,inflammasomes,interferon-beta,macrophages,mice,mice, inbred c57bl,microbial viability,phagocytosis,phagosomes,rna, bacterial,rna, messenger,vaccines, attenuated,vaccines, inactivated,virulence factors,sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/good_health_and_well_being
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Nutrition and Preventive Medicine
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Gastroenterology and Gut Biology
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Metabolic Health
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2014 18:10
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2024 14:46
DOI: 10.1038/nature10072

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item