The influence of DNA structure on the in vitro stimulation of murine lymphocytes by natural and synthetic polynucleotide antigens.
Although DNA is generally considered to be a poor immunogen, recent evidence suggests that DNA from various species differ in their immunological activity and that bacterial DNA can induce the in vitro proliferation of normal murine B cells. To delineate structural features of DNA associated with mitogenic activity, the response of murine lymphocytes to various natural and synthetic polynucleotides was determined. Both ss and dsDNA from two different bacterial strains were equally effective in inducing proliferation. This response was independent of adenosine methylation, since DNA from dam- Escherichia coli stimulated proliferation. Among the synthetic polymers tested, only the duplexes poly(dG).poly(dC), and poly(dG.dC) were mitogenic, while polymers containing dA, dT, or dI alone or in combination with dG and dC were inactive. The mitogenic activity of poly(dG.dC) was eliminated, however, upon substitution of rG for dG or 5medC for dC. The mitogenic activity did not require high molecular weight DNA since active polymers ranged in size from approximately 260 to 800 base pairs. In addition, E. coli DNA fragments of 50-300 and 125-600 bases were mitogenic. Together, these data suggest that the mitogenic activity of DNA is dependent on sequence-specific determinants that can be presented by synthetic DNA duplexes as well as bacterial ss and dsDNA.
Messina, JP; Gilkeson, GS; Pisetsky, DS
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