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This article is the author’s final published version in PLoS Pathogens, Volume 18, Issue 1, January 2022, Article number e1010255.

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Copyright © Ndeupen et al.

Publication made possible in part by support from the Jefferson Open Access Fund


Nucleoside modified mRNA combined with Acuitas Therapeutics' lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) has been shown to support robust humoral immune responses in many preclinical animal vaccine studies and later in humans with the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. We recently showed that this platform is highly inflammatory due to the LNPs' ionizable lipid component. The inflammatory property is key to support the development of potent humoral immune responses. However, the mechanism by which this platform drives T follicular helper (Tfh) cells and humoral immune responses remains unknown. Here we show that lack of Langerhans cells or cDC1s neither significantly affected the induction of PR8 HA and SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific Tfh cells and humoral immune responses, nor susceptibility towards the lethal challenge of influenza and SARS-CoV-2. However, the combined deletion of these two DC subsets led to a significant decrease in the induction of PR8 HA and SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific Tfh cell and humoral immune responses. Despite these observed defects, these mice remained protected from lethal influenza and SARS-CoV-2 challenges. We further found that IL-6, unlike neutrophils, was required to generate normal Tfh cells and antibody responses, but not for protection from influenza challenge. In summary, here we bring evidence that the mRNA-LNP platform can support the induction of protective immune responses in the absence of certain innate immune cells and cytokines.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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