Journal of immunological methods

A subtraction tolerization method of immunization allowed for Wilms' tumor protein-1 (WT1) identification in melanoma and discovery of an antitumor peptide sequence.

PMID 25205401


On searching for melanoma transcription factors in a project focusing on internal antitumor peptide sequences from transcription factors, we found that a highly immunogenic component emerged upon using a subtraction tolerization method of immunization. While several conventional immunization procedures using whole melanoma cells induced a plethora of low affinity antibodies of various specificities, the subtraction tolerization method efficiently elicited mono-specific antibodies that recognized Wilms' tumor protein 1 (WT1), which is known as an important marker in melanoma prognosis and treatment. For the tolerization step, pre-immunization of Balb/c mice with a membrane-rich preparation of glioblastoma U87 cells was used. The subsequent immunizations with SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells elicited antibodies strongly reacting with 50 and 55 kDa proteins, identified as WT1. Remarkably, this was the only component strongly reactive with these antibodies in a melanoma cell lysate. WT1 was then chosen as a target for selecting internally bioactive peptides. A hydrophilic Trojan peptide containing most of the zinc finger-2 domain of WT1 was synthesized and shown to inhibit SK-MEL-28 melanoma growth in vitro. The peptide WT1-pTj was also protective in vivo in a metastatic melanoma model and peptide-stimulated syngeneic dendritic cells reproduced the anti-melanoma effect of the unprotected peptide. Identification of antitumor peptides derived from major transcription factors represents a new tool to be explored in cancer research aiming at new therapeutic drugs.