Cell penetrating peptides (CPP), including the TAT peptide from the human immunodeficiency virus transactivator of transcription (HIV-TAT) protein and penetratin from Drosophila Antennapedia
homeodomain protein, translocate various cargos including peptides and proteins across cellular barriers. This mode of delivery has been harnessed by our group and others to deliver antigenic proteins or peptides into the cytoplasm of antigen processing cells (APC) such as monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDC). Antigens or T cell epitopes delivered by CPP into APC in vivo
generate antigen-specific cytotoxic T cell and helper T cell responses in mice. Furthermore, mice immunised with these peptides or proteins are protected from a tumour challenge. The functional properties of CPP are dependent on the various cargos being delivered and the target cell type. Despite several studies demonstrating superior immunogenicity of TAT and Antp-based immunogens, none has compared the immunogenicity of antigens delivered by TAT and Antp CPP. In the current study we demonstrate that a cytotoxic T cell epitope from the mucin 1 (MUC1) tumour associated antigen, when delivered by TAT or Antp, generates identical immune responses in mice resulting in specific MUC1 T cell responses as measured by in vivo
CTL assays, IFNγ ELISpot assays and prophylactic tumour protection.
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