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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2001 Oct;6(4):337-44.

A 14-mer Hsp70 peptide stimulates natural killer (NK) cell activity.

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Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Regensburg, Germany.


Compared with normal cells, tumor cell lines exhibit an unusual plasma membrane localization of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70). This tumor-selective Hsp70 membrane expression has been found to correlate with an increased sensitivity to lysis mediated by human natural killer (NK) cells that transiently adhere to plastic following cytokine stimulation. A human Hsp70-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) detects membrane-bound Hsp70 on viable tumor cells and blocks the immune response of NK cells against Hsp70-expressing tumor cells. By peptide scanning (pep-scan) analysis, the epitope of this mAb was mapped as the C-terminal-localized 8-mer NLLGRFEL (NLL, amino acids [aa] 454-461). Most interestingly, similar to full-length Hsp70 protein, the N-terminal-extended 14-mer peptide TKDNNLLGRFELSG (TKD, aa 450-463) was able to stimulate the cytolytic and proliferative activity of NK cells at concentrations equivalent to full-length Hsp70 protein. Blocking studies revealed that an excess of the 14-mer peptide TKDNNLLGRFELSG inhibits the cytolytic activity of NK cells similar to that of Hsp70 protein. In comparison, other TKD-related peptides, including the 8-mer antibody epitope NLLGRFEL (aa 454-461), the 12-mer TKDNNLLGRFEL (aa 450-461), the 13-mer C-terminal-extended peptide NLLGRFELSGIPP (aa 454-466), the 14-mer TKD-equivalent sequences of Hsp70hom TKDNNLLGRFELTG (aa 450-463), Hsc70 TKDNNLLGKFELTG (aa 450-463), and DnaK AADNKSLGQFNLDG (aa 447-460) failed to activate NK activity.

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