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Immunogenicity of synthetic peptides related to the core peptide sequence encoded by the human MUC1 mucin gene: effect of immunization on the growth of murine mammary adenocarcinoma cells transfected with the human MUC1 gene.

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Department of Immunology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


The immune response of CAF1 mice to various synthetic peptides (SP) related to the amino acid sequence (PDTRPAPGSTAPPAHGVTSA) of the tandem repeat of the MUC1 human breast mucin core peptide was evaluated. The most immunogenic preparations of the synthetic peptides were those conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or clustered in a dendritic multiple antigenic peptide (MAP-4) configuration. The mice were immunized subcutaneously with synthetic peptides emulsified in RIBI adjuvant, employing various immunization protocols. Equivalently high IgG responses were induced using SP-KLH conjugates (GVTSAPDTRPAPGSTA-KLH) or an SP--MAP-4 chimeric configuration (SP1-6), which also included a universal malarial CST-3 T-helper epitope (SP1-6 = SAPDTRPAEKKIAKMEKASSVFNVVNS--MAP-4). These IgG antibodies bound both the appropriate MUC1 synthetic peptides and the cell surface expressed MUC1 mucin on murine mammary cells that had been transfected with the human MUC1 gene and a human breast cancer cell line that expresses cell-surface MUC1. A MAP-4 molecule, which included the entire 20-amino-acid sequence of the MUC1 tandem repeat (SP1-5 = PDTRPAPGSTAPPAHGVTSA-MAP-4) induced a poor IgG response. In contrast, all three types of molecule: SP-KLH, SP1-6 and SP1-5, were found to be good immunogens for the induction of specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactions measured using either synthetic peptides or MUC1-transfected cells. In addition, immunization with irradiated MUC1-transfected cells induced strong DTH reactions measured using synthetic peptides that expressed the PDTRP sequence, which has been shown to be, or to overlap, a T cell epitope in humans and a B cell epitope in mice. Finally, it was demonstrated that synthetic MUC1 peptide "vaccines" could be used both prophylactically and therapeutically to inhibit the growth of MUC1-transfected tumor cells and prolong the survival of tumor-bearing mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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