The B-subunits of heat-labile enterotoxins LT-I (LT-IB) and LT-IIa (LT-IIaB) are strong adjuvants that bind to cell-surface receptors, including gangliosides G(M1) and GD1b, respectively. LT-IIaB also binds TLR-2. We demonstrate for the first time that co-incubation with the B-subunits induces significant clustering of B cells after only 4h, and B and T cells in 24h. Clustering was dependent on intact B-subunits, but not on the TLR-2 binding activity of LT-IIaB, indicating it was ganglioside-mediated. Treatment of B cells with LT-IB, a mixture of LT-IB+LT-IIaB, but not LT-IIaB alone, caused a delay in T cell division following ovalbumin endocytosis. B cell receptor-mediated uptake in presence of each treatment caused an arrest, but with increased production of IL-2. Further, treatments differentially increased the proportion of macrophages expressing MHC class-II. These results highlight the outcomes of interplay between signals involving different receptors and implicate a novel mechanism of adjuvanticity.
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