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Immunol Lett. 2010 Nov 30;134(1):47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2010.08.008. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Enhancement of DC vaccine potency by activating the PI3K/AKT pathway with a small interfering RNA targeting PTEN.

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Laboratory of Infection and Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea.


Dendritic cell (DC)-based cancer vaccines have become important as an immunotherapeutics in generating anti-tumor immune responses. Due to a short lifespan of DCs, however, clinical application of current DC vaccines has been limited. Recently, activation of AKT/protein kinase B (PKB), a major effector of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), has been reported as a critical factor in both activation and survival of DCs. We here improved the potency of a DC vaccine with a small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN), which is known to be a central negative regulator of the PI3K/AKT signal transduction cascade. Down-regulation of PTEN in DCs resulted in AKT dependent maturation, which in turn caused a significant up-regulation of surface expression in co-stimulatory molecules and the chemokine receptor, CCR7, leading to an increase of in vitro T cell activation activity and in vivo migration to a draining lymph node, respectively. Moreover, these PTEN siRNA-transfected DCs (DC/siPTEN) acquired an increased survival from the apoptotic death caused by GM-CSF deprivation or antigen-specific CD8(+) T cell killing. Most importantly, DC/siPTEN generated more tumor antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells and stronger anti-tumor effects in vaccinated mice than did control DCs (DC/siGFP). Thus, our data indicate that manipulation of the PI3K/AKT pathway via siRNA system could improve the efficacy of a DC-based tumor vaccine.

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