The neisserial porins are the major protein components of the outer membrane of the pathogenic Neisseria (N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae). They have been shown to be able to enhance the immune response to poorly immunogenic substances (e.g., polysaccharides, peptides, glycolipids, etc.). To explore the basis of their potent adjuvant activity, the effect of the neisserial porins on T-B cell interactions and T cell costimulation was examined. Neisserial porins increased the surface expression of the costimulatory ligand B7-2 (CD86) but did not affect the expression of B7-1 (CD80). In addition, incubation with the neisserial porins increased the T lymphocyte costimulatory ability of B lymphocytes, which was inhibited by anti-B7-2 but not anti-B7-1 monoclonal antibodies. Upregulation of B7-2 on the surface of B lymphocytes may be the mechanism behind the immunopotentiating activity of neisserial porins.

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