Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses can be generated against peptides derived from the immunoglobulin (Ig) V region in some but not all patients. The main reason for this appears to be the low peptide-binding affinity of Ig-derived peptides to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules and their resulting low immunogenicity. This might be improved by conservative amino acid modifications at the MHC-binding residues of the peptides (heteroclitic peptides). In this study, it was found that in 18 Ig-derived peptides, that heteroclitic peptides from the Ig gene with improved binding to human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*0201 can be used to improve CTL responses. Amino acid substitution substantially increased predicted binding affinity, and there was a strong correlation between predicted and actual binding to HLA-A*0201. CTLs generated against the heteroclitic peptide had not only enhanced cytotoxicity against the heteroclitic peptide but also increased killing of antigen-presenting cells pulsed with the native peptide. Surprisingly, no difference was observed in the frequency of T cells detected by MHC class I peptide tetramers after stimulation with the heteroclitic peptide compared with the native peptide. CTLs generated against heteroclitic peptides could kill patients' tumor cells, showing that Ig-derived peptides can be presented by the tumor cell and that the failure to mount an immune response (among other reasons) likely results from the low immunogenicity of the native Ig-derived peptide. These results suggest that heteroclitic Ig-derived peptides can enhance immunogenicity, thereby eliciting immune responses, and that they might be useful tools for enhancing immunotherapy approaches to treating B-cell malignant diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology