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Blood. 2012 Aug 23;120(8):1633-46. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-11-394619. Epub 2012 May 23.

Mapping of novel peptides of WT-1 and presenting HLA alleles that induce epitope-specific HLA-restricted T cells with cytotoxic activity against WT-1(+) leukemias.

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Department of Pediatrics, Bone Marrow Transplantation Service and Division of Immunology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The Wilms tumor protein (WT-1) is widely recognized as a tumor antigen that is expressed differentially by several malignancies. However, WT-1 peptides known to induce tumoricidal T cells are few. In the present study, we evaluated T-cell responses of 56 healthy donors to in vitro sensitization with autologous APCs loaded with a pool of overlapping 15-mer peptides spanning the sequence of WT-1. Thereafter, we mapped the WT-1 peptides eliciting responses in each individual, defined the immunogenic peptides, and identified their presenting HLA alleles. We report 41 previously unreported epitopes of WT-1: 5 presented by class II and 36 by class I alleles, including 10 that could be presented by more than 1 class I allele. IFNγ(+) T cells responding to 98% of the class I and 60% of the class II epitopes exhibited HLA-restricted cytotoxicity against peptide-loaded targets. T cells specific for 36 WT-1 peptides were evaluable for leukemocidal activity, of which 27 (75%) lysed WT-1(+) leukemic targets sharing their restricting HLA allele. Each epitope identified induced T-cell responses in most donors sharing the epitopes' presenting allele; these responses often exceeded responses to flanking peptides predicted to be more immunogenic. This series of immunogenic epitopes of WT-1 should prove useful for immunotherapies targeting WT-1(+) malignancies.

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