Ph.D., Pharmacology, National Taiwan University;
Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School;
Research Associate in Immunology, Boston Children's Hospital
Glycolipids with TLR4 agonistic properties can serve either as therapeutic agents or as vaccine adjuvants by stimulating the development of proinflammatory responses. Translating them to the clinical setting is hampered by synthetic difficulties, the lack of stability in biological media, and/or a suboptimal profile of balanced immune mediator secretion. Here, we show that replacement of the sugar fragment by an sp2-iminosugar moiety in a prototypic TLR4 agonist, CCL-34, yields iminoglycolipid analogues that retain or improve their biological activity in vitro and in vivo and can be accessed through scalable protocols with total stereoselectivity. Their adjuvant potential is manifested in their ability to induce the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, prime the maturation of dendritic cells, and promote the proliferation of CD8+ T cells, pertaining to a Th1-biased profile. Additionally, their therapeutic potential for the treatment of asthma, a Th2-dominated inflammatory pathology, has been confirmed in an ovalbumin-induced airway hyperreactivity mouse model.