Identification of immunogenic LY6K long peptide encompassing both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell epitopes and eliciting CD4(+) T-cell immunity in patients with malignant disease.

PMID 25340007


Identification of peptides that activate both tumor-specific helper T (Th) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are important for the induction of effective antitumor immune responses. We focused on a long peptide (LP) derived from lymphocyte antigen 6 complex locus K (LY6K) encompassing both candidate Th epitopes and a known CTL epitope. Using IFNγ ELISPOT assays as a marker of activated T cells, we studied the immunogenicity and cross-priming potential of LY6K-LP, assaying human immune cell responses in vitro and immunologic activities in HLA-A24 transgenic mice in vivo. We identified LY6K172-191-LP as an effective immunogen spanning naturally processed epitopes recognized by T helper type 1 (Th1) cells and CTLs. LY6K-specific CTLs were induced through cross-presentation of LY6K172-191-LP in vitro and in vivo. In addition, LY6K172-191-LP enhanced induction of LY6K-specific CTLs among the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of head-and-neck malignant tumor (HNMT) patients. LY6K172-191-LP-specific Th1 immunologic response following 1 week in vitro stimulation of PBMCs with LY6K172-191-LP were detected in 16 of 21 HNMT patients (76%) vaccinated with CTL-epitope peptides and 1 of 11 HNMT patients (9%) prior to vaccination, but not in 9 healthy donors. Our results are the first to demonstrate the presence of LY6K-specific Th1 cell responses in HNMT patients and underscore the possible utility of LY6K172-191-LP for the induction and propagation of both LY6K-specific Th1 cells and CTLs.