Soluble flagellin, FliC, induces an Ag-specific Th2 response, yet promotes T-bet-regulated Th1 clearance of Salmonella Typhimurium infection.

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Clearance of disseminated Salmonella infection requires bacterial-specific Th1 cells and IFNγproduction and Th1-promoting vaccines are likely to help control these infections. Consequently, vaccine design has focused on developing Th1-polarizing adjuvants or Ag that naturally induce Th1 responses. In this study we show that, in mice, immunization with soluble flagellin (sFliC) induces Th2 responses as evidenced by Ag-specific GATA-3, IL-4 mRNA and protein induction in CD62L(lo) CD4(+) T cells without associated IFNγ production. Despite these Th2 features, sFliC immunization can enhance the development of protective Th1 immunity during subsequent Salmonella infection in an Ab-independent, T cell-dependent manner. Salmonella infection in sFliC-immunized mice resulted in augmented Th1 responses, with greater bacterial clearance and increased numbers of IFNγ-producing CD4(+) T cells, despite the early induction of Th2 features to sFliC. The augmented Th1 immunity after sFliC immunization was regulated by T-bet although T-bet is dispensable for primary responses to sFliC. These findings show there can be flexibility in T cell responses to some subunit vaccines. These vaccines may induce Th2-type immunity during primary immunization yet promote Th1-dependent responses during later infection. This suggests that designing Th1-inducing subunit vaccines may not always be necessary since this can occur naturally during subsequent infection.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1606-1618
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number6
Early online date10 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Flagellin, Salmonella, T-bet, T cells, Vaccine