Viral proteins expressed by EBV-associated tumors provide target Ags for immunotherapy. Adoptive T cell therapy has proven effective for posttransplant EBV-associated lymphoma in which all EBV latent Ags are expressed (type III latency). Application of immunotherapeutic strategies to tumors such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and Hodgkin's lymplioma that have a restricted pattern of EBV Ag expression (type II latency) is under investigation. Potential EBV Ag targets for T cell therapy expressed by these tumors include latent membrane proteins (LMP) 1 and 2. A broad panel of epitopes must be identified from these target Ags to optimize vaccination strategies and facilitate monitoring of tumor-specific T cell populations after immunotherapeutic interventions. To date, LMP2 epitopes have been identified for only a limited number of HLA alleles. Using a peptide library spanning the entire LMP2 sequence, 25 CTL lines from patients with EBV-positive malignancies expressing type II latency were screened for the presence of LMP2-specific T cell populations. In 21 of 25 lines, T cell responses against one to five LMP2 epitopes were identified. These included responses to previously described epitopes as well as to newly identified HLA-A*0206-, A*0204/17-, A29-, A68-, B*1402-, B27-, B*3501-, B53-, and HLA-DR-restricted epitopes. Seven of the nine newly identified epitopes were antigenically conserved among viras isolates from nasopharyngeal carcinoma tumors. These new LMP2 epitopes broaden the diversity of HLA alleles with available epitopes, and, in particular, those epitopes conserved between EBV strains provide valuable tools for immunotherapy and immune monitoring.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy