Background: High risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause cancer, including cervical (99%) and oropharyngeal cancer (70%). HPV type 16 is the most common subtype. Three antigens that are critical for integration or tumor progression are E2, E6 and E7. In this study, we developed a systematic approach to identify naturally-processed HPV16-derived HLA class I epitopes for immunotherapy development. Methods: K562 cells, which lack HLA expression, were transduced with each HPV16 antigen using lentivirus and supertransfected with HLA-A2 by nucleofection. Stable cell lines expressing each antigen were selected for and maintained throughout the investigation. In order to establish a Gateway-compatible vector for robust transient gene expression, a Gateway recombination expression cloning cassette was inserted into the commercial Lonza pMAX GFP backbone, which has been experimentally shown to display high transfection expression efficiency. GFP was cloned into the vector and plain K562 cells were transfected with the plasmid by nucleofection. Results: Expression of K562-A2 was tested at various time points by flow cytometry and A2 expression was confirmed. Protein expression was shown for the transduced K562 E7 by Western blot analysis. High transfection efficiency of the pMAX_GFP_Dest vector (up to 97% GFP+ cells) was obtained 48 hours post transfection, comparable to the commercial GFP-plasmid. Conclusion: We have established a rapid system for target viral antigen co-expression with single HLA molecules for analysis of antigen presentation. Using HPV as a model system, our goal is to identify specific antigenic peptide sequences to develop immunotherapeutic treatments for HPV-associated cancers.
Creating an artificial antigen presenting cell system for HPV16 proteins
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