Characterization of HPV18 E6-specific T cell responses and establishment of HPV18 E6-expressing tumor model

Ying Ma, Andrew Yang, Shiwen Peng, Jin Qiu, Emily Farmer, Chien Fu Hung, T. C. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been identified as the primary etiologic factor of cervical cancer, and subsets of anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. HPV18 is the second most prevalent high-risk HPV type after HPV16. Furthermore, HPV18 is responsible for approximately 12% of cervical squamous cell carcinoma and 37% of cervical adenocarcinoma cases worldwide. In this study, we aimed to characterize the HPV18-E6-specific epitope and establish an HPV18 animal tumor model to evaluate the E6-specific immune response induced by our DNA vaccine. We vaccinated naïve C57BL/6 mice with a prototype DNA vaccine, pcDNA3-HPV18-E6, via intramuscular injection followed by electroporation, and analyzed the E6-specific CD8+ T cell responses by flow cytometry using a reported T cell epitope. We then characterized the MHC restriction element for the characterized HPV18-E6 epitope. Additionally, we generated an HPV18-E6-expressing tumor cell line to study the antitumor effect mediated by E6-specific immunity. We observed a robust HPV18-E6aa67-75 peptide-specific CD8+ T cell response after vaccination with pcDNA3-HPV18-E6. Further characterization demonstrated that this epitope was mainly restricted by H-2Kb, but was also weakly presented by HLA-A0201, as previously reported. We observed that vaccination with pcDNA3-HPV18-E6 significantly inhibited the growth of HPV18-E6-expressing tumor cells, TC-1/HPV18-E6, in mice. An antibody depletion study demonstrated that both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are necessary for the observed antitumor immunity. The characterization of HPV18-E6-specific T cell responses and the establishment of HPV18-E6-expressing tumor cell line provide infrastructures for further development of HPV18-E6 targeted immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3850-3858
Number of pages9
Issue number31
StatePublished - Jul 5 2017


  • DNA vaccine
  • E6 oncoprotein
  • HPV18-E6 tumor model
  • Human papillomavirus 18
  • Immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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