Targeting of HPV-16+ Epithelial Cancer Cells by TCR Gene Engineered T Cells Directed against E6.
ABSTRACT: PURPOSE:The E6 and E7 oncoproteins of HPV-associated epithelial cancers are in principle ideal immunotherapeutic targets, but evidence that T cells specific for these antigens can recognize and kill HPV(+) tumor cells is limited. We sought to determine whether TCR gene engineered T cells directed against an HPV oncoprotein can successfully target HPV(+) tumor cells. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:T-cell responses against the HPV-16 oncoproteins were investigated in a patient with an ongoing 22-month disease-free interval after her second resection of distant metastatic anal cancer. T cells genetically engineered to express an oncoprotein-specific TCR from this patient's tumor-infiltrating T cells were tested for specific reactivity against HPV(+) epithelial tumor cells. RESULTS:We identified, from an excised metastatic anal cancer tumor, T cells that recognized an HLA-A*02:01-restricted epitope of HPV-16 E6. The frequency of the dominant T-cell clonotype from these cells was approximately 400-fold greater in the patient's tumor than in her peripheral blood. T cells genetically engineered to express the TCR from this clonotype displayed high avidity for an HLA-A*02:01-restricted epitope of HPV-16, and they showed specific recognition and killing of HPV-16(+) cervical, and head and neck cancer cell lines. CONCLUSIONS:These findings demonstrate that HPV-16(+) tumors can be targeted by E6-specific TCR gene engineered T cells, and they provide the foundation for a novel cellular therapy directed against HPV-16(+) malignancies, including cervical, oropharyngeal, anal, vulvar, vaginal, and penile cancers.
Project description:High-risk human papilloma viruses (HPVs) cause cervical, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers, unlike the low-risk HPVs, which cause benign lesions. E6 oncoproteins from the high-risk strains are essential for cell proliferation and transformation in HPV-induced cancers. We report that a cellular deubiquitinase, USP46, is selectively recruited by the E6 of high-risk, but not low-risk, HPV to deubiqutinate and stabilize Cdt2/DTL. Stabilization of Cdt2, a component of the CRL4Cdt2 E3 ubiquitin ligase, limits the level of Set8, an epigenetic writer, and promotes cell proliferation. USP46 is essential for the proliferation of HPV-transformed cells, but not of cells without HPV. Cdt2 is elevated in human cervical cancers and knockdown of USP46 inhibits HPV-transformed tumor growth in xenografts. Recruitment of a cellular deubiquitinase to stabilize key cellular proteins is an important activity of oncogenic E6, and the importance of E6-USP46-Cdt2-Set8 pathway in HPV-induced cancers makes USP46 a target for the therapy of such cancers.
Project description:We have previously shown a functional interaction between human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E6 and E7 oncoproteins and cigarette smoke condensate (CSC) in lung cells suggesting cooperation during carcinogenesis. The molecular mechanisms of such interaction, however, remain to be elucidated. Here we first present evidence showing that cigarette smoke condensate (CSC) has the ability to activate the HPV-16 p97 promoter by acting on the long control region (LCR) in lung epithelial cells. Interestingly, we observed that CSC-induced p97 promoter activation occurs in a dose-dependent manner in both tumor A-549 (lung adenocarcinoma), H-2170 (bronchial carcinoma), SiHa or Hela (cervical carcinoma) cells but not in non-tumor BEAS-2B (bronchial) or NL-20 (alveolar) lung cells unless they ectopically expressed the HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncogenes. In addition, we also observed a significant increase of primary DNA damage in tumor and non-tumor CSC-treated lung cells expressing HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncogenes suggesting a cooperative effect in this process, even though the contribution of E7 was significantly higher. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that tobacco smoke is able to induce the activation of the HPV-16 p97 promoter in cooperation with HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncogenes that, in turn, sensitize lung cells to tobacco smoke-induced DNA damage.
Project description:Human ?-defensin-3 (hBD3) is an epithelial cell-derived innate immune regulatory molecule overexpressed in oral dysplastic lesions and fosters a tumor-promoting microenvironment. Expression of hBD3 is induced by the epidermal growth factor receptor signaling pathway. Here we describe a novel pathway through which the high-risk human papillomavirus type-16 (HPV-16) oncoprotein E6 induces hBD3 expression in mucosal keratinocytes. Ablation of E6 by siRNA induces the tumor suppressor p53 and diminishes hBD3 in HPV-16 positive CaSki cervical cancer cells and UM-SCC-104 head and neck cancer cells. Malignant cells in HPV-16-associated oropharyngeal cancer overexpress hBD3. HPV-16 E6 induces hBD3 mRNA expression, peptide production and gene promoter activity in mucosal keratinocytes. Reduction of cellular levels of p53 stimulates hBD3 expression, while activation of p53 by doxorubicin inhibits its expression in primary oral keratinocytes and CaSki cells, suggesting that p53 represses hBD3 expression. A p53 binding site in the hBD3 gene promoter has been identified by using electrophoretic mobility shift assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP). In addition, the p63 protein isoform ?Np63?, but not TAp63, stimulated transactivation of the hBD3 gene and was co-expressed with hBD3 in head and neck cancer specimens. Therefore, high-risk HPV E6 oncoproteins may stimulate hBD3 expression in tumor cells to facilitate tumorigenesis of HPV-associated head and neck cancer.
Project description:We created the first human papillomavirus (HPV)-16-immortalized anal epithelial cell line, known as AKC2 cells to establish an in vitro model of HPV-16-induced anal carcinogenesis. Consistent with detection of E6, E7 and E5 expression in anal cancer biopsies, AKC2 cells expressed high levels of all three HPV oncogenes. Also, similar to findings in anal cancer biopsies, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was overexpressed in AKC2 cells. AKC2 cells exhibited a poorly differentiated and invasive phenotype in three-dimensional raft culture and inhibition of EGFR function abrogated AKC2 invasion. Reducing E5 expression using E5-targeted siRNAs in AKC2 cells led to knockdown of E5 expression, but also HPV-16 E2, E6 and E7 expression. AKC2 cells treated with E5-targeted siRNA had reduced levels of total and phosphorylated EGFR, and reduced invasion. Rescue of E6/E7 expression with simultaneous E5 knockdown confirmed that E5 plays a key role in EGFR overexpression and EGFR-induced invasion.
Project description:Cervical cancer is a common type of cancer among women worldwide and infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPVs) types represents the major risk factor for the etiopathogenesis of the disease. HPV-16 is the most frequently identified HPV type in cervical lesions and expression of E6 and E7 oncoproteins is required for the uncontrolled cellular proliferation. In the present study we report the design and experimental testing of a recombinant multi-epitope protein containing immunogenic epitopes of HPV-16 E6 and E7. Tumor preventive assays, based on the engraftment of TC-1 cells in mice, showed that the E6E7 multi-epitope protein induced a full preventive anti-tumor protection in wild-type mice, as well as in mice deficient in expression of CD4+ T cells and TLR4 receptor. Nonetheless, no anti-tumor protection was observed in mice deficient in CD8+ T cells. Also, the vaccine promoted high activation of E6/E7-specific T cells and in a therapeutic-approach, E6E7 protein conferred full anti-tumor protection in mice. These results show a potential use of this E6E7 multi-epitope antigen as a new and promising antigen for the development of a therapeutic vaccine against tumors induced by HPV.
Project description:Commercial assays measuring HPV E6 viral oncoproteins, E6/E7 mRNA or DNA were used to test neck lymph node fine needle aspirates (FNA) and oropharyngeal samples (saliva and oral swabs) from 59 Canadian patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OPSCC). Overall agreements of p16 antigen staining of tumors to FNA tested for OncoE6™, Aptima HPV E6/E7 mRNA and cobas HPV DNA were 81.4% (k 0.53), 94.9% (k 0.83) and 91.1% (k 0.73) respectively. Using HPV presence in a subset of 25 tumors as the comparator, overall agreement was 64.0% (k 0.08) with OncoE6™, 88.0% (k 0.65) with Aptima HPV E6/E7 mRNA and 91.7% (k 0.70) with cobas HPV DNA. HPV testing of oropharyngeal samples yielded lower agreements with tumor markers; 23.7-24.0% (k 0.02), 55.9-68.0% (k 0.24-0.37) and 78.9-86.9% (k 0.49-0.58) in the 3 respective tests. HPV 16 was present in 93.7-100% of the samples tested and showed 100% genotype agreement between FNA and tumors. The high rates for HPV E6 oncoproteins and E6/E7 mRNA suggests most patients were experiencing transcriptionally active HPV-related OPSCC. Results from these commercial assays performed on FNA but not oropharyngeal samples showed moderate to very good agreements with p16 and HPV testing of tumors.
Project description:HPV16 is the most carcinogenic human papillomavirus and causes >50% of cervical cancers, the majority of anal cancers and 30% of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas. HPV carcinogenesis relies on the continuous expression of the two main viral oncoproteins E6 and E7 that target >150 cellular proteins. Among them, epigenetic modifiers, including DNA Methyl Transferases (DNMT), are dysregulated, promoting an aberrant methylation pattern in HPV-positive cancer cells. It has been previously reported that the treatment of HPV-positive cervical cancer cells with DNMT inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5azadC) caused the downregulation of E6 expression due to mRNA destabilization that was mediated by miR-375. Recently, the T-box transcription factor 2 (TBX2) has been demonstrated to repress HPV LCR activity. In the current study, the role of TBX2 in E6 repression was investigated in HPV16 cervical cancer cell lines following 5azadC treatment. A decrease of E6 expression was accompanied by p53 and p21 restoration. While TBX2 mRNA was upregulated in 5azadC-treated SiHa and Ca Ski cells, TBX2 protein was not detectable. Furthermore, the overexpression of TBX2 protein in cervical cancer cells did not allow the repression of E6 expression. The TBX2 transcription factor is therefore unlikely to be associated with the repression of E6 following 5azadC treatment of SiHa and Ca Ski cells.
Project description:Human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 infection may be related to non-smoking associated lung cancer. Our previous studies have found that HPV-16 oncoproteins promoted angiogenesis via enhancing hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and interleukin-8 (IL-8) expression in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. In this study, we further investigated the roles of PI3K/Akt and c-Jun signaling pathways in it.Human NSCLC cell lines, A549 and NCI-H460, were stably transfected with pEGFP-16 E6 or E7 plasmids. Western blotting was performed to analyze the expression of HIF-1?, p-Akt, p-P70S6K, p-P85S6K, p-mTOR, p-JNK, and p-c-Jun proteins. VEGF and IL-8 protein secretion and mRNA levels were determined by ELISA and Real-time PCR, respectively. The in vitro angiogenesis was observed by human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) tube formation assay. Co-immunoprecipitation was performed to analyze the interaction between c-Jun and HIF-1?.HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncoproteins promoted the activation of Akt, P70S6K, P85S6K, mTOR, JNK, and c-Jun. LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor, inhibited HPV-16 oncoprotein-induced activation of Akt, P70S6K, and P85S6K, expression of HIF-1?, VEGF, and IL-8, and in vitro angiogenesis. c-Jun knockdown by specific siRNA abolished HPV-16 oncoprotein-induced HIF-1?, VEGF, and IL-8 expression and in vitro angiogenesis. Additionally, HPV-16 oncoproteins promoted HIF-1? protein stability via blocking proteasome degradation pathway, but c-Jun knockdown abrogated this effect. Furthermore, HPV-16 oncoproteins increased the quantity of c-Jun binding to HIF-1?.PI3K/Akt signaling pathway and c-Jun are involved in HPV-16 oncoprotein-induced HIF-1?, VEGF, and IL-8 expression and in vitro angiogenesis. Moreover, HPV-16 oncoproteins promoted HIF-1? protein stability possibly through enhancing the interaction between c-Jun and HIF-1?, thus making a contribution to angiogenesis in NSCLC cells.
Project description:Human Papillomavirus 16 (HPV-16) has been identified as the causative agent of 50% of cervical cancers and many other HPV-associated tumors. The transforming potential/tumor maintenance capacity of this high risk HPV is mediated by two viral oncoproteins, E6 and E7, making them attractive targets for therapeutic vaccines. Of 21 E6 and E7 peptides computed to bind HLA-A*0201, 10 were confirmed through TAP-deficient T2 cell HLA stabilization assay. Those scoring positive were investigated to ascertain which were naturally processed and presented by surface HLA molecules for CTL recognition. Because IFN? ELISpot frequencies from healthy HPV-exposed blood donors against HLA-A*0201-binding peptides were unable to identify specificities for tumor targeting, their physical presence among peptides eluted from HPV-16-transformed epithelial tumor HLA-A*0201 immunoprecipitates was analyzed by MS(3) Poisson detection mass spectrometry. Only one epitope (E7(11-19)) highly conserved among HPV-16 strains was detected. This 9-mer serves to direct cytolysis by T cell lines, whereas a related 10-mer (E7(11-20)), previously used as a vaccine candidate, was neither detected by MS(3) on HPV-transformed tumor cells nor effectively recognized by 9-mer specific CTL. These data underscore the importance of precisely defining CTL epitopes on tumor cells and offer a paradigm for T cell-based vaccine design.
Project description:The life cycle of human papillomaviruses (HPV) is strictly linked to the differentiation of their natural host cells. The HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins can delay the normal differentiation program of keratinocytes, however, the exact mechanisms responsible for this have not yet been identified. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of HPV16 oncoproteins on the expression of genes involved in keratinocyte differentiation. Primary human keratinocytes transduced by LXSN (control) retroviruses or virus vectors expressing HPV16 E6, E7 or E6/E7 genes were subjected to gene expression profiling. The results of microarray analysis showed that HPV 16 E6 and E7 have the capacity to down-regulate the expression of several genes involved in keratinocyte differentiation. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays were performed to confirm microarray data. To investigate the effects of the HPV oncoproteins on the promoters of selected keratinocyte differentiation genes, luciferase reporter assays were performed. Our results suggest that the HPV 16 E6 and/or E7 oncogenes are able to down-regulate the expression of several genes involved in keratinocyte differentiation, at least partially by down-regulating their promoter activity. This activity of the HPV oncoproteins may have a role in the productive virus life cycle, and also in virus induced carcinogenesis. Primary human foreskin keratinocytes were transduced by retrovirus vectors containing HPV 16 E6, E7, E6/E7 or the control vector LXSN. The global gene expression patterns of transduced keratinocytes were analyzed on Affymetrix microarrays