, Volume 59, Issue 6, pp 943-953

HLA-A2-restricted T-cell epitopes specific for prostatic acid phosphatase

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Abstract

Prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) has been investigated as the target of several antigen-specific anti-prostate tumor vaccines. The goal of antigen-specific active immunotherapies targeting PAP would ideally be to elicit PAP-specific CD8+ effector T cells. The identification of PAP-specific CD8+ T-cell epitopes should provide a means of monitoring the immunological efficacy of vaccines targeting PAP, and these epitopes might themselves be developed as vaccine antigens. In the current report, we hypothesized that PAP-specific epitopes might be identified by direct identification of pre-existing CD8+ T cells specific for HLA-A2-restricted peptides derived from PAP in the blood of HLA-A2-expressing individuals. 11 nonamer peptides derived from the amino acid sequence of PAP were used as stimulator antigens in functional ELISPOT assays with peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 20 HLA-A2+ patients with prostate cancer or ten healthy blood donors. Peptide-specific T cells were frequently identified in both groups for three of the peptides, p18–26, p112–120, and p135–143. CD8+ T-cell clones specific for three peptides, p18–26, p112–120, and p299–307, confirmed that these are HLA-A2-restricted T-cell epitopes. Moreover, HLA-A2 transgenic mice immunized with a DNA vaccine encoding PAP developed epitope-specific responses for one or more of these three peptide epitopes. We propose that this method to first identify epitopes for which there are pre-existing epitope-specific T cells could be used to prioritize MHC class I-specific epitopes for other antigens. In addition, we propose that the epitopes identified here could be used to monitor immune responses in HLA-A2+ patients receiving vaccines targeting PAP to identify potentially therapeutic immune responses.