The immunomodulatory action of sialostatin L on dendritic cells reveals its potential to interfere with autoimmunity

Anderson Sá-Nunes, André Bafica, Lis R. Antonelli, Eun Young Choi, Ivo M.B. Francischetti, John F. Andersen, Guo Ping Shi, Triantafyllos Chavakis, José M. Ribeiro, Michalis Kotsyfakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Sialostatin L (SialoL) is a secreted cysteine protease inhibitor identified in the salivary glands of the Lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis. In this study, we reveal the mechanisms of SialoL immunomodulatory actions on the vertebrate host. LPS-induced maturation of dendritic cells from C57BL/6 mice was significantly reduced in the presence of SialoL. Although OVA degradation was not affected by the presence of SialoL in dendritic cell cultures, cathepsin S activity was partially inhibited, leading to an accumulation of a 10-kDa invariant chain intermediate in these cells. As a consequence, in vitro Ag-specific CD4+ T cell proliferation was inhibited in a time-dependent manner by SialoL, and further studies engaging cathepsin S -/- or cathepsin L-/- dendritic cells confirmed that the immunomodulatory actions of SialoL are mediated by inhibition of cathepsin S. Moreover, mice treated with SialoL displayed decreased early T cell expansion and recall response upon antigenic stimulation. Finally, SialoL administration during the immunization phase of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice significantly prevented disease symptoms, which was associated with impaired IFN-γ and IL-17 production and specific T cell proliferation. These results illuminate the dual mechanism by which a human disease vector protein modulates vertebrate host immunity and reveals its potential in prevention of an autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7422-7429
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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