Nature Reviews Immunology
July 2012 Vol 12 No 7
Nucleic acid sensing at the interface between innate and adaptive immunity in vaccination
Christophe J. Desmet & Ken J. Ishii
p479 | doi:10.1038/nri3247
It is becoming increasingly clear that the activation of the innate immune system by host or microbial nucleic acids contributes to the immunogenicity of many vaccines. This article describes the receptors and signalling pathways that are involved in sensing nucleic acids and discusses the implications for current and future vaccination strategies.
The demand is currently high for new vaccination strategies, particularly to help combat problematic intracellular pathogens, such as HIV and malarial parasites. In the past decade, the identification of host receptors that recognize pathogen-derived nucleic acids has revealed an essential role for nucleic acid sensing in the triggering of immunity to intracellular pathogens. This Review first addresses our current understanding of the nucleic acid-sensing immune machinery. We then explain how the study of nucleic acid-sensing mechanisms not only has revealed their central role in driving the responses mediated by many current vaccines, but is also revealing how they could be harnessed for the design of new vaccines.