Tseng et al. report on a DNA vaccine directed against spontaneous tumors expressing E7, a HPV-encoded oncogene expressed on many human tumors. Mice were transgenic for chimeric human HLA-A2/mouse H2Db and presented the A2 human E7(11-20) epitope. By means of oncogenic plasmid injections, E7-positive oral tumors were spontaneously induced and progressed to lethality. A vaccine consisting of E7 DNA (containing a mutation which prevents immunodominant presentation by a mouse epitope) linked to DNA from calreticulin (a heat shock protein) induced A2-restricted CD8+ responses in TILs, reduction of MDSCs in the TME, and improved survival.
Contributed by Margot O’Toole
Background: Human Papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) has been associated with a subset of head and neck cancers. Two HPV encoded oncogenic proteins, E6 and E7, are important for the malignant progression of HPV-associated cancers. A spontaneous HPV16 E6/E7-expressing oral tumor model in human HLA-A2 (AAD) transgenic mice will be important for the development of therapeutic HPV vaccines for the control of HPV-associated head and neck cancers.
Methods: In the current studies, we characterized the HLA-A2 restricted HPV16 E7-specific CD8 + T cell mediated immune responses in the HLA-A2 (AAD) transgenic mice using a therapeutic naked DNA vaccine encoding calreticulin (CRT) linked to a mutated E7(N53S). We also employed oncogenic DNA plasmids that encoded HPV16E6/E7/Luc, NRasG12V, and sleeping beauty transposase for the transfection into the submucosal of oral cavity of the transgenic mice with electroporation to create a spontaneous oral tumor. Furthermore, we characterized the therapeutic antitumor effects of CRT/E7(N53S) DNA vaccine using the spontaneous HPV16 E6/E7-expressing oral tumor model in HLA-A2 (AAD) transgenic mice.
Results: We found that CRT/E7(N53S) DNA vaccine primarily generated human HPV16 E7 peptide (aa11-20) specific CD8 + T cells, as compared to the wild-type CRT/E7 vaccine, which primarily generated murine H-2Db restricted E7 peptide (aa49-57) specific CD8 + T cell responses. We also observed transfection of the oncogenic DNA plasmids with electroporation generated spontaneous oral tumor in all of the injected mice. Additionally, treatment with CRT/E7(N53S) DNA vaccine intramuscularly followed by electroporation resulted in significant antitumor effects against the spontaneous HPV16 E6/E7-expressing oral tumors in HLA-A2 (AAD) transgenic mice.
Conclusions: Taken together, the data indicated that the combination of HPV16 E6/E7-expressing DNA, NRasG12V DNA and DNA encoding sleeping beauty transposase is able to generate spontaneous oral tumor in HLA-A2 (AAD) transgenic mice, which can be successfully controlled by treatment with CRT/E7(N53S) DNA vaccine. The translational potential of our studies are discussed.