European Journal of Immunology

Analysis of endogenous peptides bound by soluble MHC class I molecules: A novel approach for identifying tumor-specific antigens

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The Human MHC Project aims at comprehensive cataloging of peptides presented within the context of different human leukocyte antigens (HLA) expressed by cells of various tissue origins, both in health and in disease. Of major interest are peptides presented on cancer cells, which include peptides derived from tumor antigens that are of interest for immunotherapy. Here, HLA-restricted tumor-specific antigens were identified by transfecting human breast, ovarian and prostate tumor cell lines with truncated genes of HLA-A2 and HLA-B7. Soluble HLA secreted by these cell lines were purified by affinity chromatography and analyzed by nano-capillary electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry. Typically, a large peptide pool was recovered and sequenced including peptides derived from MAGE-B2 and mucin and other new tumor-derived antigens that may serve as potential candidates for immunotherapy.