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T-Cell Immunogenicity and Dysfunction in Cancer and Viral Diseases

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CD8+ T-lymphocytes (CTLs) are central to the immunologic control of infections and are currently at the forefront of strategies that enhance immune based treatment of a variety of tumors. Effective

CD8+ T-lymphocytes (CTLs) are central to the immunologic control of infections and are currently at the forefront of strategies that enhance immune based treatment of a variety of tumors. Effective T-cell based vaccines and immunotherapies fundamentally rely on the interaction of CTLs with peptide-human leukocyte antigen class I (HLA-I) complexes on the infected/malignant cell surface. However, how CTLs are able to respond to antigenic peptides with high specificity is largely unknown. Also unknown, are the different mechanisms underlying tumor immune evasion from CTL-mediated cytotoxicity. In this dissertation, I investigate the immunogenicity and dysfunction of CTLs for the development of novel T-cell therapies. Project 1 explores the biochemical hallmarks associated with HLA-I binding peptides that result in a CTL-immune response. The results reveal amino acid hydrophobicity of T-cell receptor (TCR) contact residues within immunogenic CTL-epitopes as a critical parameter for CTL-self
onself discrimination. Project 2 develops a bioinformatic and experimental methodology for the identification of CTL-epitopes from low frequency T-cells against tumor antigens and chronic viruses. This methodology is employed in Project 3 to identify novel immunogenic CTL-epitopes from human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancer patients. In Project 3, I further study the mechanisms of HPV-specific T-cell dysfunction, and I demonstrate that combination inhibition of Indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO-1) and programmed cell death protein (PD-1) can be a potential immunotherapy against HPV+ head and neck cancers. Lastly, in Project 4, I develop a single-cell assay for high-throughput identification of antigens targeted by CTLs from whole pathogenome libraries. Thus, this dissertation contributes to fundamental T-cell immunobiology by identifying rules of T-cell immunogenicity and dysfunction, as well as to translational immunology by identifying novel CTL-epitopes, and therapeutic targets for T-cell immunotherapy.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Expression and Purification of HPV Proteins for Early Detection of Head and Neck Cancer

Description

Recent studies have shown that human papillomavirus (HPV) plays a role in development of cancers, one of which is head and neck cancer. There is strong and consistent molecular evidence

Recent studies have shown that human papillomavirus (HPV) plays a role in development of cancers, one of which is head and neck cancer. There is strong and consistent molecular evidence demonstrating that human papillomavirus (HPV) is an etiological cause of these oropharyngeal cancers. Despite the introduction of HPV vaccines, there is still an increase in human papillomavirus associated OPC (HPVOPC) and it is expected that the incidence of head and neck cancer, specifically oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) will increase. The aim of this study is to utilize human papillomavirus (HPV) seropositivity for rapid detection of HPV early specific antigen-antibodies using a lateral flow assay.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 proteins of interest, E7, E6 and CE2 were expressed and purified in E. coli for detection of specific antibodies using lateral flow assay because viral and host factors impact the serologic responses to HPV early antigens in HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer. 17 samples and 5 controls with already known antibody reactivity from ELISA analysis were selected for HPV serologic responses. The lateral flow strip was evaluated for its color band intensity using Image J software. Peak area was used to quantify the color intensity of the lateral flow strip. Out of the 17 samples, 11 (64.7%) showed high antibody levels to E7, 12 (70.6%) showed high Ab levels to E6 and 6 (35.3%) showed high Ab levels to CE2. Correlation coefficient between antibody detection by sight and ELISA for E7, CE2 and E6 were 0.6614, 0.4845 and 0.2372 respectively and correlation coefficient between lateral flow assay and ELISA for E7, CE2 and E6 were 0.3480, 0.1716 and 0.1644 respectively. This further proves patients or samples with HPV 16 oropharyngeal cancer have detectable antibodies to early E7, E6 and E2 proteins, which are potential biomarkers for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.

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Date Created
  • 2019