A Mutant p53 Tumor Suppressor Protein Is a Target for Peptide-induced CD8+ Cytotoxic T-Cells

Michael Yanuck, David P. Carbone, C. David Pendleton, Taku Tsukui, Stefan F. Winter, John D. Minna, Jay A. Berzofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) recognize processed peptide fragments of any endogenous protein, after these peptides are carried to the cell surface by class I major histocompatibility molecules. Thus, a tumor antigen does not have to be expressed as an intact protein on the cell surface to be recognizable by CTL. However, mutant oncogene products have not yet been shown to be targets of CD8+ CTL. Here, we generate p53-specific CD8+ CTL by immunizing BALB/c mice with spleen cells pulsed with a peptide, corresponding to a 21-amino acid sequence encompassing a point mutation (135 Cys to Tyr) in the mutant p53 gene product from a human lung carcinoma. The mutation created a new Kd class I molecule binding motif sequence, and the determinant recognized was mapped to this motif and presented by the Kd class I molecule. The wild type peptide, without the mutation, was not recognized. Importantly, the CTL killed specifically BALB/c fibroblasts transfected with the mutant p53 gene and endogenously expressing the mutant protein, but not control fibroblasts or ones transfected with a different human mutant p53 gene. Thus, endogenously synthesized mutant p53, at levels found in tumors, can render cells targets for specific CTL, and these CTL can be generated by peptide immunization. These findings point the way toward an approach to selective immunotherapy against tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3257-3261
Number of pages5
JournalCancer research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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