Vaccines utilizing cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes are promising for the treatment of cancer and chronic infectious diseases. Tumor-associated antigen L6 (TAL6) is overexpressed in some epithelial cancer cells. In this report, we detected TAL6 expression in breast cancer tissue using quantitative reverse-transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. We found that >80% of breast tumor tissue highly expressed TAL6 compared with adjacent normal breast tissue. To identify CTL epitopes from TAL6, we synthesized 18 peptides for HLA-A2-binding assay based on the MHC-binding motif using 4 computer prediction programs. Positive binders identified by ELISA were immunized in HLA-A2 transgenic (A2 Tg) mice. Two peptides, peptide 2 and peptide 5, induced T-cell responses in A2 Tg mice. To confirm whether these peptides could be processed and presented to induce T-cell responses in vivo, A2 Tg mice were immunized with plasmid DNA encoding TAL6. We found that both peptides 2 and 5 stimulated splenocytes from TAL6-immunized mice to secrete interferon-γ. However, only peptide 5 could induce expression of the cytolytic molecule CD107a on CD8 + T cells after immunization. Furthermore, peptide 5-immunized A2 Tg mice could inhibit the growth of TAL6-positive tumors (EL4/TAL6/HLA-A2) in A2 Tg mice but not in wild-type mice. These results demonstrate that the TAL6-derived CTL epitope could induce HLA-A2-restricted immunity against TAL6-expressing tumor cells.
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