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    CD8+ T cell-mediated adaptive cellular immunity and natural killer (NK) cell-mediated innate immunity both play important roles in tumour immunity. This study aimed to develop therapeutic tumour vaccines based on double-activation of CD8+ T and NK cells. The immune Epitope database, Molecular Operating Environment software, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were used for epitope identification. Flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, UPLC-QTOF-MS, and RNA-seq were utilized for evaluating immunity of PBMC-derived DCs, CD8+ T or NK cells and related pathways. HLA-A2.1 transgenic mice combined with immunologically reconstituted tumour-bearing mice were used to examine the antitumour effect and safety of epitope vaccines. We identified novel HLA-A2.1-restricted extracellular matrix protein 1(ECM1)-derived immunodominant epitopes in which LA induced a potent immune response. We also found that LA-loaded DCs upregulated the frequency of CD3+/CD8+ T cells, CD45RO+/CD69+ activated memory T cells, and CD3-/CD16+/CD56+ NK cells. We demonstrated cytotoxic granule release of LA/DC-CTLs or LA/DC-NK cells and cytotoxicity against tumour cells and microtissue blocks via the predominant IFN-γ/perforin/granzyme B cell death pathway. Further investigating the mechanism of LA-mediated CD8+ T activation, we found that LA could be internalized into DCs through phagocytosis and then formed a LA-MHC-I complex presented onto the DC surface for recognition of the T cell receptor to upregulate Zap70 phosphorylation levels to further activate CD8+ T cells by DC-CTL interactions. In addition, LA-mediated DC-NK crosstalk through stimulation of the TLR4-p38 MAPK pathway increased MICA/B expression on DCs to interact with NKG2D for NK activation. Promisingly, LA could activate CD8+ T cells and NK cells simultaneously via interacting with DCs to suppress tumours in vivo. Moreover, the safety of LA was confirmed. LA-induced immune antitumour activity through DC cross-activation with CD8+ T and NK cells, which demonstrated proof-of-concept evidence for the capability and safety of a novel therapeutic tumour vaccine.


    Zhaojin Yu, Wensi Liu, Ying He, Mingli Sun, Jiankun Yu, Xue Jiao, Qiang Han, Haichao Tang, Bing Zhang, Yunkai Xian, Jing Qi, Jing Gong, Wang Xin, Gang Shi, Fengping Shan, Rui Zhang, Jianping Li, Minjie Wei. HLA-A2.1-restricted ECM1-derived epitope LA through DC cross-activation priming CD8+ T and NK cells: a novel therapeutic tumour vaccine. Journal of hematology & oncology. 2021 Apr 28;14(1):71

    PMID: 33910591

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