Identification of new MUC1 epitopes using HLA-transgenic animals: Implication for immunomonitoring

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Abstract

Background: The success of immunotherapeutics in oncology and the search for further improvements has prompted revisiting the use of cancer vaccines. In this context, knowledge of the immunogenic epitopes and the monitoring of the immune response cancer vaccines generate are essential. MUC1 has been considered one of the most important tumor associated antigen for decades. Methods: To identify HLA-restricted MUC1 peptides we used eight human MHC class I transgenic mouse lines, together covering more than 80% of the human population. MUC1 peptides were identified by vaccinating each line with full length MUC1 coding sequences and using an IFNγ ELIspot restimulation assay. Relevant peptides were tested in a flow cytometry-based tetramer assay and for their capacity to serve as target in an in vivo killing assay. Results: Four previously identified MUC1 peptides were confirmed and five are described here for the first time. These nine peptide-MHC combinations were further characterized. Six gave above-background tetramer staining of splenocytes from immunized animals and three peptides were induced more than 5% specific in vivo killing. Conclusions: These data describe for the first time five new HLA class I-restricted peptides and revisit some that were previously described. They also emphasize the importance of using in vivo/ex vivo models to screen for immunogenic peptides and define the functions for individual peptide-HLA combinations.

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Scheikl-Gatard, T., Tosch, C., Lemonnier, F., & Rooke, R. (2017). Identification of new MUC1 epitopes using HLA-transgenic animals: Implication for immunomonitoring. Journal of Translational Medicine, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-017-1254-0

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