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Blood. 2004 Aug 1;104(3):752-9. Epub 2004 Mar 30.

Germ line tumor-associated immunoglobulin VH region peptides provoke a tumor-specific immune response without altering the response potential of normal B cells.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, State University of New York at Buffalo, USA.


Previous studies have suggested that murine T cells are tolerant to epitopes derived from germ line variable regions of immunoglobulin (Ig) heavy (VH) or light chains. This has lead to the prediction that germ line VH-region epitopes found in neoplastic B cells cannot be used to provoke an antitumor immune response. To test these assumptions and address the question of how such a vaccine may alter the normal B-cell response, an antibody-forming B-cell hybridoma (1H6) expressing a conserved germ line VH gene with specificity for dextran was generated and used as a tumor model. Using algorithms for predicting major histocompatibility complex (MHC) binding, potential MHC class I and II binding peptides were identified within the 1H6 VH region, synthesized, and tested for MHC binding and immunogenicity. We show that germ line VH peptides, when presented by dendritic cells, are immunogenic in vitro and provoke a tumor-specific protective immune response in vivo. We conclude that (1) it is possible to induce a T-cell response to germ line VH peptides; (2) such peptides can be used to generate a B-cell tumor-specific vaccine; and (3) a vaccine targeting VH peptides expressed by the dominant dextran-specific B-cell clonotype had no effect upon the magnitude of the normal B-cell response to dextran.

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