UNIT 2.11 Preparation of Immune Stimulating Complexes (ISCOMs) as Adjuvants

  1. Allan McI. Mowat,
  2. George Reid

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471142735.im0211s16

Current Protocols in Immunology

Current Protocols in Immunology

How to Cite

Mowat, A. M. and Reid, G. 2001. Preparation of Immune Stimulating Complexes (ISCOMs) as Adjuvants. Current Protocols in Immunology. 16:IV:2.11:2.11.1–2.11.12.

Author Information

  1. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: DEC 1995


Purified proteins are often poorly immunogenic and in such cases the induction of primary immune responses requires use of an adjuvant. The immune stimulating complex (ISCOM) has a unique ability to provoke a full range of immune response to protein antigens, after both parenteral and oral immunization. This unit describes techniques for incorporating proteins into the ISCOM structure, a process that requires the presence of exposed hydrophobic regions on the protein. The basic protocol outlines a method for preparation of ISCOMs containing inherently nonhydrophobic proteins, to which palmitic acid has been attached covalently. Two alternate protocols are given that do not require covalent modification of the protein. In the first, hydrophobic groups are revealed by acid treatment of the protein. The second describes preparation of ISCOMs containing integral membrane proteins that therefore possess a hydrophobic transmembrane domain.