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J Immunol. 2014 Nov 15;193(10):4803-13. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1400800. Epub 2014 Oct 13.

Altered peptide ligands revisited: vaccine design through chemically modified HLA-A2-restricted T cell epitopes.

Author information

1
Division of Cell Biology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands;
2
Department of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 CX Utrecht, the Netherlands Department of Haematology, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 CX Utrecht, the Netherlands;
3
Division of Immunology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands;
4
Division of Biochemistry, The Netherlands Cancer Institute Protein Facility, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and.
5
Department of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 CX Utrecht, the Netherlands.
6
Department of Haematology, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 CX Utrecht, the Netherlands;
7
Division of Cell Biology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8TA, United Kingdom b.rodenko@nki.nl h.ovaa@nki.nl.

Abstract

Virus or tumor Ag-derived peptides that are displayed by MHC class I molecules are attractive starting points for vaccine development because they induce strong protective and therapeutic cytotoxic T cell responses. In thus study, we show that the MHC binding and consequent T cell reactivity against several HLA-A*02 restricted epitopes can be further improved through the incorporation of nonproteogenic amino acids at primary and secondary anchor positions. We screened more than 90 nonproteogenic, synthetic amino acids through a range of epitopes and tested more than 3000 chemically enhanced altered peptide ligands (CPLs) for binding affinity to HLA-A*0201. With this approach, we designed CPLs of viral epitopes, of melanoma-associated Ags, and of the minor histocompatibility Ag UTA2-1, which is currently being evaluated for its antileukemic activity in clinical dendritic cell vaccination trials. The crystal structure of one of the CPLs in complex with HLA-A*0201 revealed the molecular interactions likely responsible for improved binding. The best CPLs displayed enhanced affinity for MHC, increasing MHC stability and prolonging recognition by Ag-specific T cells and, most importantly, they induced accelerated expansion of antitumor T cell frequencies in vitro and in vivo as compared with the native epitope. Eventually, we were able to construct a toolbox of preferred nonproteogenic residues with which practically any given HLA-A*02 restricted epitope can be readily optimized. These CPLs could improve the therapeutic outcome of vaccination strategies or can be used for ex vivo enrichment and faster expansion of Ag-specific T cells for transfer into patients.

PMID:
25311806
PMCID:
PMC4226423
DOI:
10.4049/jimmunol.1400800
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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