[#2013-13] Maitake Tsao, Yao-Wei et al. Characterization of a Novel Maitake (Grifola frondosa) Protein That Activates Natural Killer and Dendritic Cells and Enhances Antitumor Immunity in Mice

Grifola frondosa, also known as maitake, is a culinary mushroom with immune-enhancing and antitumor effects. Numerous studies have investigated the activity of maitake polysaccharide extracts, but studies of maitake proteins are scarce. In this study, we purified and characterized a new G. frondosa protein, GFP, from maitake fruiting bodies. GFP is a nonglucan heterodimeric 83 kDa protein that consists of two 41 kDa subunits. GFP induced interferon-γ secretion by murine splenocytes and natural killer cells and activated the maturation of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) via a TLR4-dependent mechanism. GFP-treated BMDCs promoted a Th1 response and exhibited significant antitumor activity when transferred into tumor-bearing mice. In conclusion, we are the first to reveal the critical role of GFP in modulating the immune response and to link the immune-enhancing effects of maitake to its antitumor activities.