High avidity CTLs for two self-antigens demonstrate superior in vitro and in vivo antitumor efficacy

Herbert J. Zeh, Donna Perry-Lalley, Mark E. Dudley, Steven A. Rosenberg, James C. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


A majority of the human tumor-associated Ags characterized to date are derived from nonmutated 'self'-proteins. Little is currently understood about the nature of the self-reactive lymphocytes that recognize these Ags. We recently characterized two nonmutated tumor-associated Ags for the B16 murine melanoma: tyrosinase-related protein-2 (TRP-2) and the endogenous retroviral envelope protein, p15E. We previously reported that both TRP-2 and p15E reactive CTL could be detected in the spleens of naive animals after a single in vitro stimulation using 10-5-10-6 M of the appropriate Kb-binding 9- amino acid epitope. In this report we show that the CTL found in naive animals are low avidity lymphocytes, that respond only to high concentrations of peptide in vitro. We demonstrate that titration of in vitro-stimulating peptide to limiting concentrations distinguishes qualitative differences in the lymphocyte reactivity to these two Ags between vaccinated and unvaccinated animals. We further demonstrate that in vitro expansion of CTL in either high or low concentrations of stimulating peptide generated CTL cultures with different avidities for the relevant epitopes. CTL expanded in low concentrations demonstrated higher avidity for peptide-pulsed targets and better tumor recognition, when compared to CTL generated in the presence of high concentrations of Ag. More importantly, high avidity CTL demonstrated superior in vivo antitumor activity. These results demonstrate that qualitative differences in the CTL that recognize these two self-Ags are critically important to their in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-994
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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