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Microbiol Immunol. 2008 Dec;52(12):591-600. doi: 10.1111/j.1348-0421.2008.00080.x.

A WT1 protein-derived, naturally processed 16-mer peptide, WT1(332), is a promiscuous helper peptide for induction of WT1-specific Th1-type CD4(+) T cells.

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Department of Functional Diagnostic Science, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita City, Osaka, Japan.


The Wilms' tumor gene WT1 is overexpressed in various tumors, and the WT1 protein has been demonstrated to be an attractive target antigen for cancer immunotherapy. A WT1 protein-derived 16-mer peptide, WT1(332) (KRYFKLSHLQMHSRKH), which was naturally generated through processing in cells and could elicit Th1-type CD4(+) helper T cell responses with an HLA-DRB1*0405-restriction has previously been identified by us. In the present study, it has been demonstrated that WT1(332) can induce WT1(332)-specific CD4(+) T cell responses with the restriction of not only HLA-DRB1*0405 but also HLA-DRB1*1501, -DRB1*1502, or -DPB1*0901. These HLA class II-restricted WT1(332)-specific CD4(+) T cell lines produced IFN-gamma but neither IL-4 nor IL-10 with WT1(332) stimulation, thus showing a Th1-type cytokine profile. Furthermore, HLA-DRB1*1501 or -DRB1*1502-restricted WT1(332)-specific CD4(+) T cell lines responded to WT1-expressing transformed cells in an HLA-DRB1-restricted manner, which is consistent with our previous finding that WT1(332) is a naturally processed peptide. These results indicate that the natural peptide, WT1(332), is a promiscuous WT1-specific helper epitope. WT1(332) is expected to apply to cancer patients with various types of HLA class II as a WT1-specific helper peptide in combination with HLA class I-restricted WT1 peptides.

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