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Cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) as a viral vaccine adjuvant

Cell culture and mouse studies suggest cGAMP could be used as an adjuvant for viral vaccines. cGAMP synthase (cGAS) was recently identified as a cytosolic DNA sensor that produces cGAMP, which then activates the type I interferon pathway through the transmembrane protein 173 (STING; TMEM173) adaptor protein. In cultured, HIV-infected, human monocytes, small hairpin RNA against cGAS or STING decreased the production of type I interferon compared with control shRNA. In mice infected with herpes simplex virus (HSV), knocking out cGAS decreased immune responses and survival compared with no knockout. In mice, immunization with cGAMP plus ovalbumin increased B and T cell responses compared with immunization using ovalbumin alone. Next steps could include testing formulations of HIV or HSV vaccines with cGAMP adjuvants.

SciBX 6(36); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1013
Published online Sept. 19, 2013

Patent applications filed; licensing status undisclosed

Gao, D. et al. Science; published online Aug. 8, 2013;
Li, X.-D. et al. Science; published online Aug. 29, 2013;
Contact: Zhijian J. Chen, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas