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 journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


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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