EBV-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) has oncogenic potential and is expressed in many EBV-associated malignancies. Although LMP1 is regarded as a potential tumor-associated antigen for immunotherapy and several LMP1-specific MHC class I-restricted CTL epitopes have been reported, little is known regarding MHC class II-restricted CD4 helper T-lymphocyte (HTL) epitopes for LMP1. The goal ofthe present studies was to determine whether MHC class II-restricted CD4 T-cell responses could be induced against the LMP1 antigen and to evaluate the antitumor effect of these responses. We have combined the use ofa predictive MHC class II binding peptide algorithm with in vitro vaccination of CD4 T cells using candidate peptides to identify naturally processed epitopes derived from LMP1 that elicit immune responses against EBV-expressing tumor cells. Peptide LMP1159-175 was effective in inducing HTL responses that were restricted by HLA-DR9, HLA-DR53, or HLA-DR15, indicating that this peptide behaves as a promiscuous T-cell epitope. Moreover, LMP1 159-175-reactive HTL clones directly recognized EBV lymphoblastoid B cells, EBV-infected natural killer (NK)/T-lymphoma cells and naturally processed antigen in the form of LMP1+ tumor cell lysates presented by autologous dendritic cells. Because the newly identified epitope LMP1159-175 overlaps with an HLA-A2-restricted CTL epitope (LMP1159-167), this peptide might have the ability to induce simultaneous CTL and HTL responses against LMP1. Overall, our data should be relevant for the design and optimization of T-cell epitope-based immunotherapy against various EBV-associated malignancies, including NK/T cell lymphomas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research