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Peptidoglycan (PGN) is a unique component in the cytoderm of prokaryotes which can be recognized by different pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) in eukaryotes, followed by a cascade of immune responses via different pathways. This review outlined the basic structure of PGN, its immunologic functions. The immunomodulation pathways mediated by PGN were elaborated. PGN induces specific immunity through stimulating different cytokine release and Th1/Th2-dominated immune responses during humoral/cellular immune response. The nonspecific immunity activation by PGN involves immunomodulation by different pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) including PGN recognition proteins (PGRPs), nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptors (NLRs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and C-type lectin receptors (CLRs). The sources and classification of PGRPs were summarized. In view of the stimulating activities of PGN and its monomers, the potential application of PGN as vaccine or adjuvant was prospected. This review provides systematic information on PGN functionalities from the point of immunoregulation, which might be useful in the deep exploitation of PGN.Key points. The immunological functions of PGN were illustrated. Cellular and humoral immunomodulation by PGN were outlined. The use of PGN as vaccine or adjuvant was prospected. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


Qingshen Sun, Xiaoli Liu, Xiuliang Li. Peptidoglycan-based immunomodulation. Applied microbiology and biotechnology. 2022 Feb;106(3):981-993

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PMID: 35076738

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