Hybrid cells generated by fusing dendritic cells with tumor cells (DC-TC) are currently being evaluated as cancer vaccines in preclinical models and human immunization trials. In this study, we evaluated the production of human DC-TC hybrids using an electrofusion protocol previously defined for murine cells. Human DCs were electrically fused with allogeneic melanoma cells (888mel) and were subsequently analyzed for coexpression of unique DC and TC markers using FACS and fluorescence microscopy. Dually fluorescent cells were clearly observed using both techniques after staining with Abs against distinct surface molecules suggesting that true cell fusion had occurred. We also evaluated the ability of human DC-TC hybrids to present tumor-associated epitopes in the context of both MHC class I and class II molecules. Allogeneic DCs expressing HLA-A*0201, HLA-DRβ1*0401, and HLA-DRβ1*0701 were fused with 888mel cells that do not express any of these MHC molecules, but do express multiple melanoma-associated Ags. DC-888mel hybrids efficiently presented HLA-A*0201-restricted epitopes from the melanoma Ags MART-1, gp100, tyrosinase, and tyrosinase-related protein 2 as evaluated by specific cytokine secretion from six distinct CTL lines. In contrast, DCs could not cross-present MHC class I-restricted epitopes after exogenously loading with gp100 protein. DC-888mel hybrids also presented HLA-DRβ1*0401- and HLA-DRβ1*0701-restricted peptides from gp100 to CD4+ T cell populations. Therefore, fusions of DCs and tumor cells express both MHC class I- and class II-restricted tumor-associated epitopes and may be useful for the induction of tumor-reactive CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in vitro and in human vaccination trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy