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Int J Cancer. 2008 Oct 15;123(8):1841-7. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23728.

Differential presentation of tumor antigen-derived epitopes by MHC-class I and antigen-positive tumor cells.

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Jose-Carreras-Center for Immuno- and Genetherapy, Klinik für Innere Medizin I, Saarland University Medical School, 66421 Homburg, Saar, Germany.


SSX2 is a member of the family of cancer/testis antigens. The SSX2 derived peptide SSX2(103-111) has been shown to be presented to cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) by Major-Histocompatibility (MHC) Class-I complexes after endogenous processing, more precisely by the allele HLA-A*0201. The HLA-A*0201- and SSX2-positive melanoma cell line SK-Mel-37 but not Me275 had been shown to elicit reactivity in SSX2(103-111) specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. To analyze the correlation between SSX2(103-111) presentation and T-cell stimulation, we intended to visualize presentation of SSX2(103-111) in these melanoma cell lines. Fab-antibodies were established from a human phage library with specificity for SSX2(103-111)/HLA-A*0201 complexes (but non-reactive with HLA-A*0201 or SSX2(103-111) alone) and used to visualize the presentation of SSX2(103-111) in the context of HLA-A*0201 by fluorescence microscopy. Presentation of SSX2(103-111) the context of HLA-A*0201 was demonstrated for the majority of SK-Mel-37, but for only a small fraction (<1%) of Me275 as indicated by a clear membrane-staining pattern in fluorescence microscopy. The presentation of SSX2(103-111) on SK-Mel37 and Me275, but not the expression of the SSX2 protein correlated with the capability of these cells to stimulate cells of an SSX2(103-111)-specific T-cell clone. MHC-peptide specific antibodies are a valuable tool for the analysis of antigenic peptides in the context of MHC-I molecules and for the structural definition of immunodominant epitopes.

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