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J Immunol. 2003 Mar 15;170(6):2912-22.

Provision of 4-1BB ligand enhances effector and memory CTL responses generated by immunization with dendritic cells expressing a human tumor-associated antigen.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung, Braunschweig, Germany.


Up-regulation of receptor-ligand pairs during interaction of an MHC-presented epitope on dendritic cells (DCs) with cognate TCR may amplify, sustain, and drive diversity in the ensuing T cell immune response. Members of the TNF ligand superfamily and the TNFR superfamily contribute to this costimulatory molecule signaling. In this study, we used replication deficient adenoviruses to introduce a model tumor-associated Ag (the E7 oncoprotein of human papillomavirus 16) and the T cell costimulatory molecule 4-1BBL into murine DCs, and monitored the ability of these recombinant DCs to elicit E7-directed T cell responses following immunization. Splenocytes from mice immunized with DCs expressing E7 alone elicited E7-directed effector and memory CTL responses. Coexpression of 4-1BBL in these E7-expressing DCs increased effector and memory CTL responses when they were used for immunization. 4-1BBL expression up-regulated CD80 and CD86 second signaling molecules in DCs. We also report an additive effect of 4-1BBL and receptor activator of NF-kappa B/receptor activator of NF-kappa B ligand coexpression in E7-transduced DC immunogens on E7-directed effector and memory CTL responses and on MHC class II and CD80/86 expression in DCs. Additionally, expression of 4-1BBL in E7-transduced DCs reduced nonspecific T cell activation characteristic of adenovirus vector-associated immunization. The results have generic implications for improved or tumor Ag-expressing DC vaccines by incorporation of exogenous 4-1BBL. There are also specific implications for an improved DC-based vaccine for human papillomavirus 16-associated cervical carcinoma.

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