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Transloading of tumor antigen-derived peptides into antigen-presenting cells.

Authors
  • Buschle, M
  • Schmidt, W
  • Zauner, W
  • Mechtler, K
  • Trska, B
  • Kirlappos, H
  • Birnstiel, M L
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publication Date
Apr 01, 1997
Volume
94
Issue
7
Pages
3256–3261
Identifiers
PMID: 9096380
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The discovery of a steadily growing number of tumor antigens (TAs) has made generic, cell-free, peptide-based cancer vaccines a possible alternative to cytokine-transfected autologous cellular cancer vaccines. The major drawback of peptide vaccines, however, is the poor immunogenicity of peptides. It is commonly thought that for the induction of an effective anticancer immune response, antigen-presenting cells (APCs) have to display TA-derived peptides to T lymphocytes. Polycationic amino acids have been employed in the past to enhance transport of proteins into cells. In a systematic study, the ability of different cationic polymers to transfer fluorescence-tagged peptides to APCs was investigated. We were able to show that several compounds enhance uptake of fluorescence-labeled peptides by APCs to different degrees. The most efficient compound identified, polyarginine (pArg), enhanced peptide delivery by more than 2 logs as compared with cells treated with peptide alone, whereas polylysine (pLys) treatment resulted in approximately 10-fold increased levels of fluorescence. Augmentation of peptide uptake was concentration-dependent, and the molecular weight of pArg or pLys also influenced peptide delivery. Furthermore, highly negatively charged peptides appear to be delivered with higher efficiency, although neutral peptides were also taken up at enhanced rates. Whereas peptide uptake mediated by pLys appears to be due to an at least transient permeabilization of cell membranes, peptide delivery in the presence of pArg may rely on endocytic processes. TA-derived peptides applied as cancer vaccines in conjunction with polycations afforded antitumor protection in animal models.

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