Acute toxic shock is induced by superantigen toxins, a diverse set of proteins secreted by Grampositive staphylococcal and streptococcal bacterial strains that overstimulate the inflammatory response by orders of magnitude. The need to protect from superantigen toxins led to our discovery that in addition to the well-known MHC class II and T cell receptors, the principal costimulatory receptor, CD28, and its constitutively expressed coligand, B7-2 (CD86), previously thought to have only costimulatory function, are actually critical superantigen receptors. Binding of the superantigen into the homodimer interfaces of these costimulatory receptors greatly enhances B7-2/CD28 engagement, leading to excessive pro-inflammatory signaling. This finding led to the design of short receptor dimer interface mimetic peptides that block the binding of superantigen and thus protect from death. One such CD28 mimetic peptide is advancing in a Phase 3 clinical trial to protect from lethal wound infections by flesh-eating bacteria. These host-oriented therapeutics target the human immune system itself, rendering pathogens less likely to become resistant.
Author (s) Details
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Medical Research Israel-Canada, The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 9112102, Israel.
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