In this study we used TEPITOPE, a new epitope prediction software, to identify sequence segments on the MAGE-3 protein with promiscuous binding to histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR molecules. Synthetic peptides corresponding to the identified sequences were synthesized and used to propagate CD4+ T cells from the blood of a healthy donor. CD4+ T cells strongly recognized MAGE-3(281-295) and, to a lesser extent, MAGE-3(141-155) and MAGE-3(146-160). Moreover, CD4+ T cells proliferated in the presence of recombinant MAGE-3 after processing and presentation by autologous antigen presenting cells, demonstrating that the MAGE-3 epitopes recognized are naturally processed. CD4+ T cells, mostly of the T helper 1 type, showed specific lyric activity against HLA-DR11/MAGE-3-positive melanoma cells. Cold target inhibition experiments demonstrated indeed that the CD4+ T cells recognized MAGE-3(281-295) in association with HLA-DR11 on melanoma cells. This is the first evidence that a tumor-specific shared antigen forms CD4+ T cell epitopes. Furthermore, we validated the use of algorithms for the prediction of promiscuous CD4+ T cell epitopes, thus opening the possibility of wide application to other tumor-associated antigens. These results have direct implications for cancer immunotherapy in the design of peptide-based vaccines with tumor-specific CD4+ T cell epitopes.
- CD4 epitopes
- Tumor vaccines adoptive immunotherapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas