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Cell Mol Immunol. 2011 Sep;8(5):424-32. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2011.21. Epub 2011 Jul 25.

Efficient induction of a Her2-specific anti-tumor response by dendritic cells pulsed with a Hsp70L1-Her2(341-456) fusion protein.

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Department of Oncology, Changhai Hospital of Shanghai, China.


Heat shock proteins (HSPs) have been shown to interact with antigen-presenting cells (APCs), especially dendritic cells (DCs). HSPs act as potent adjuvants, inducing a Th1 response, as well as antigen-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) via cross-presentation. Our previous work has demonstrated that Hsp70-like protein 1 (Hsp70L1), a new member of the Hsp70 subfamily, can act as a powerful Th1 adjuvant in a DC-based vaccine. Here we report the efficient induction of tumor antigen-specific T cell immune response by DCs pulsed with recombinant fusion protein of Hsp70L1 and Her2(341-456), the latter of which is a fragment of Her2/neu (Her2) containing E75 (a HLA-A2 restricted CTL epitope). The fusion protein Hsp70L1-Her2(341-456) promotes the maturation of DCs and activates them to produce cytokines, such as IL-12 and TNF-α, and chemokines, such as MIP-1α, MIP-1β and RANTES. Taken together, these results indicate that the adjuvant activity of Hsp70L1 is maintained in the fusion protein. Her2-specific HLA-A2.1-restricted CD8(+) CTLs can be generated efficiently either from the Peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of healthy donors or from the splenocytes of immunized HLA-A2.1/K(b) transgenic mice by in vitro stimulation or immunization with DCs pulsed with the Hsp70L1-Her2(341-456) fusion protein. This results in more potent target cell killing in an antigen-specific and HLA-A2.1-restricted manner. Adoptive transfer of splenocytes from transgenic mice immunized with Hsp70L1-Her2(341-456)-pulsed DCs can markedly inhibit tumor growth and prolong the survival of nude mice with Her2(+)/HLA-A2.1(+) human carcinomas. These results suggest that Hsp70L1-Her2(341-456)-pulsed DCs could be a new therapeutic vaccine for patients with Her2(+) cancer.

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