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28.11.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2017

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy 3/2017

Targeting of the WT191–138 fragment to human dendritic cells improves leukemia-specific T-cell responses providing an alternative approach to WT1-based vaccination

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy > Ausgabe 3/2017
Nergui Dagvadorj, Anne Deuretzbacher, Daniela Weisenberger, Elke Baumeister, Johannes Trebing, Isabell Lang, Carolin Köchel, Markus Kapp, Kerstin Kapp, Andreas Beilhack, Thomas Hünig, Hermann Einsele, Harald Wajant, Götz Ulrich Grigoleit
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00262-016-1938-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Due to its immunogenicity and overexpression concomitant with leukemia progression, Wilms tumor protein 1 (WT1) is of particular interest for immunotherapy of AML relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). So far, WT1-specific T-cell responses have mainly been induced by vaccination with peptides presented by certain HLA alleles. However, this approach is still not widely applicable in clinical practice due to common limitations of HLA restriction. Dendritic cell (DC) vaccines electroporated with mRNA encoding full-length protein have also been tested for generating WT1-derived peptides for presentation to T-cells. Alternatively, an efficient and broad WT1 peptide presentation could be elicited by triggering receptor-mediated protein endocytosis of DCs. Therefore, we developed antibody fusion proteins consisting of an antibody specific for the DEC205 endocytic receptor on human DCs and various fragments of WT1 as DC-targeting recombinant WT1 vaccines (anti-hDEC205-WT1). Of all anti-hDEC205-WT1 fusion proteins designed for overcoming insufficient expression, anti-hDEC205-WT110–35, anti-hDEC205-WT191–138, anti-hDEC205-WT1223–273, and anti-hDEC205-WT1324–371 were identified in good yields. The anti-hDEC205-WT191–138 was capable of directly inducing ex vivo T-cell responses by co-incubation of the fusion protein-loaded monocyte-derived mature DCs and autologous T-cells of either healthy or HSCT individuals. Furthermore, the DC-targeted WT191–138-induced specific T-cells showed a strong cytotoxic activity by lysing WT1-overexpressing THP-1 leukemia cells in vitro while sparing WT1-negative hematopoietic cells. In conclusion, our approach identifies four WT1 peptide-antibody fusion proteins with sufficient production and introduces an alternative vaccine that could be easily translated into clinical practice to improve WT1-directed antileukemia immune responses after allo-HSCT.

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