(19)
(11)EP 3 085 707 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
27.02.2019 Bulletin 2019/09

(21)Application number: 16160535.7

(22)Date of filing:  30.10.2008
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C07K 14/71(2006.01)
C07K 14/705(2006.01)
C07K 14/47(2006.01)
A61K 38/00(2006.01)
C07K 7/08(2006.01)

(54)

HLA-DR BINDING PEPTIDES AND THEIR USES

HLA-DR-BINDENDE PEPTIDE UND DEREN ANWENDUNGEN

PEPTIDES DE LIAISON HLA-DR ET LEURS UTILISATIONS


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MT NL NO PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 01.11.2007 US 984646 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
26.10.2016 Bulletin 2016/43

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
08843542.5 / 2215111

(73)Proprietors:
  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
    Rochester, MN 55905 (US)
  • University of Washington
    Seattle, WA 98105-4608 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • DISIS, Mary, L.
    Renton, WA 98058 (US)
  • FIKES, John, D.
    San Diego, CA 92122 (US)
  • BEEBE, Melanie
    Apex, NC 27502 (US)
  • ISHIOKA, Glenn
    San Diego, CA 92126 (US)
  • KNUTSON, Keith L.
    Rochester, MN 55906 (US)

(74)Representative: Grund, Martin 
Grund Intellectual Property Group Patentanwalt und Solicitor PartG mbB Postfach 44 05 16
80754 München
80754 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-01/41787
WO-A1-99/61916
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] This application claims benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/984,646, filed on November 1, 2007.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    Field of Invention



    [0002] Disclosed are compositions and methods for preventing, treating or diagnosing a number of pathological states such as cancers. In particular, it provides novel peptides capable of binding selected major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules and induce an immune response.

    [0003] MHC molecules are classified as either Class I or Class II molecules. Class II MHC molecules are expressed primarily on cells involved in initiating and sustaining immune responses, such as T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages, etc. Class II MHC molecules are recognized by helper T lymphocytes and induce proliferation of helper T lymphocytes and amplification of the immune response to the particular immunogenic peptide that is displayed. Complexes between a particular disease-associated antigenic peptide and class II HLA molecules are recognized by helper T lymphocytes and induce proliferation of helper T lymphocytes and amplification of specific CTL and antibody immune responses.

    [0004] A complex of an HLA molecule and a peptidic antigen acts as the ligand recognized by HLA-restricted T cells (Buus, S. et al., Cell 47:1071, 1986; Babbitt, B. P. et al., Nature 317:359, 1985; Townsend, A. and Bodmer, H., Annu. Rev. Immunol. 7:601, 1989; Germain, R. N., Annu. Rev. Immunol. 11 :403, 1993).

    [0005] Peptides of the present invention comprise epitopes that bind to HLA class II DR molecules. A greater degree of heterogeneity in both size and binding frame position of the motif, relative to the N- and C-termini of the peptide, exists for class II peptide ligands. This increased heterogeneity of HLA class II peptide ligands is due to the structure of the binding groove of the HLA class II molecule which, unlike its class I counterpart, is open at both ends. Crystallographic analysis of HLA class II DRB*0101-peptide complexes showed that the major energy of binding is contributed by peptide residues complexed with complementary pockets on the DRB*0101 molecules. An important anchor residue engages the deepest hydrophobic pocket (see, e.g., Madden, D. R. Ann. Rev. Immunol. 13:587, 1995) and is referred to as position 1 (PI). PI may represent the N-terminal residue of a class II binding peptide epitope, but more typically is flanked towards the N-terminus by one or more residues. Other studies have also pointed to an important role for the peptide residue in the sixth position towards the C-terminus, relative to P1, for binding to various DR molecules.

    [0006] In the past few years evidence has accumulated to demonstrate that a large fraction of HLA class I and class II molecules can be classified into a relatively few supertypes, each characterized by largely overlapping peptide binding repertoires, and consensus structures of the main peptide binding pockets. Thus, peptides of the present invention are identified by any one of several HLA-specific amino acid motifs, or if the presence of the motif corresponds to the ability to bind several allele-specific HLA molecules, a supermotif. The HLA molecules that bind to peptides that possess a particular amino acid supermotif are collectively referred to as an HLA "supertype."

    [0007] Because human population groups, including racial and ethnic groups, have distinct patterns of distribution of HLA alleles it will be of value to identify motifs that describe peptides capable of binding more than one HLA allele, so as to achieve sufficient coverage of all population groups. The present invention addresses these and other needs.

    [0008] T lymphocytes recognize an antigen in the form of a peptide fragment bound to the MHC class I or class II molecule rather than the intact foreign antigen itself. Antigens presented by MHC class II molecules are usually soluble antigens that enter the antigen presenting cell via phagocytosis, pinocytosis, or receptor-mediated endocytosis. Once in the cell, the antigen is partially degraded by acid-dependent proteases in endosomes. The resulting fragments or peptide associate with the MHC class II molecule after the release of the CLIP fragment to form a stable complex that is then transported to the surface for potential recognition by specific HTLs. See Blum, et al., Crit. Rev. Immunol, 17: 411-17 (1997); Arndt, et al., Immunol. Res., 16: 261-72 (1997).

    [0009] Peptides that bind a particular MHC allele frequently will fit within a motif and have amino acid residues with particular biochemical properties at specific positions within the peptide. Such residues are usually dictated by the biochemical properties of the MHC allele. Peptide sequence motifs have been utilized to screen peptides capable of binding MHC molecules (Sette, et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86:3296 (1989)), and it has previously been reported that class I binding motifs identified potential immunogenic peptides in animal models (De Bruijn, et al., Eur. J. Immunol. 21: 2963-70 (1991); Pamer, et al., Nature 353: 852-955 (1991)). Also, binding of a particular peptide to a MHC molecule has been correlated with immunogenicity of that peptide (Schaeffer, et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86:4649 (1989)).

    [0010] Accordingly, while some MHC binding peptides have been identified, there is a need in the art to identify novel MHC binding peptides from tumor associated antigens that can be utilized to generate an immune response in vaccines against these targets. Further, there is a need in the art to identify peptides capable of binding a wide array of different types of MHC molecules such they are immunogenic in a large fraction a human outbred population.

    [0011] One of the most formidable obstacles to the development of broadly efficacious peptide-based immunotherapeutics has been the extreme polymorphism of HLA molecules. Effective coverage of a population without bias would thus be a task of considerable complexity if epitopes were used specific for HLA molecules corresponding to each individual allele because a huge number of them would have to be used in order to cover an ethnically diverse population. There exists, therefore, a need to develop peptide epitopes that are bound by multiple HLA antigen molecules at high affinity for use in epitope-based vaccines. The greater the number of HLA antigen molecules bound, the greater the breadth of population coverage by the vaccine. Analog peptides may be engineered based on the information disclosed herein and thereby used to achieve such an enhancement in breadth of population coverage.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0012] Figures not pertaining to the invention are for illustrative purposes only.

    FIGURE 1 shows the identification of preexistent immunity to promiscuous HER-2/neu HLA-DR epitopes. Each panel shows a scatter gram of the mean numbers of T cells specific for one of the identified HER-2/neu (see header of each panel) peptides in both healthy volunteer donors and patients. Each panel represents a unique peptide and each data point is derived from one individual. The grey box (i.e. cutoff) delineates the region that constitutes the mean and two standard deviations calculated from the normal healthy individuals. The percentages represent the fraction of patients that had mean T cell values above the cutoff. The peptides that are circled are those in which a higher fraction of the patients responded compared to the normal healthy controls. These peptides are considered to be the best vaccine candidates. However, it is clear that the rigidness of this approach could potentially result in many false negatives. For example, while p885 was shown to be recognized by 25% of patients, p886, a nearly identical peptide was found to be recognized by only 4%. However, if one looks at the graph for p886, there is a healthy individual that showed a robust response. The exclusion of that data point would have resulted in a patient response rate of 15%, which would have been consistent with the p885 response. Despite this, we identified 5 candidates to move forward. The fidelity of this approach is evident from a prior study which has already shown that a HER-2/neu peptide, p884-899, which encompasses the binding motif of p885, is an HLA-DR4 epitope.

    FIGURE 2 shows the identification of preexistent immunity to promiscuous CEA HLA-DR epitopes. Figure 2 is identical to Figure 1 with the only exception that CEA is the antigen. Seven candidate peptides were identified.

    FIGURE 3 shows the identification of preexistent immunity to promiscuous IGFBP2 HLA-DR epitopes. Figure 3 is identical to Figure 1 with the only exception that IGFBP2 is the antigen. Four candidate peptides were identified. Note that only 10 peptides were assessed as explained in the text above.

    FIGURE 4 shows the identification of preexistent immunity to promiscuous IGFBP2 HLA-DR epitopes. Figure 4 is identical to Figure 1 with the only exception that Cyclin D1 is the antigen. Using the more liberal statistical method, 7 potential epitopes were identified.

    FIGURE 5 shows the that HER-2/neu peptides, p59, p83, p88 and p885 are naturally processed and presented antigens. IFN-γ ELISpot analysis of short term T cell lines generated against HER-2/neu peptides, p53 (Panel A), p83 (Panel B), p88 (Panel C) and p885 (Panel D). The lines were tested for responses against respective culture peptides, an irrelevant 15-mer peptide, a HER-2/neu protein fragment (amino acids 22-122, Panels A-C; amino acids 676-1255, Panel D), or an irrelevant similar weight protein, ovalbumin. Each shows the results from two lines established from two different breast or ovarian cancer patients who had a positive ELIspot response to the peptide. Each bar is the mean (s.e.m.) of three replicates.

    FIGURE 6 shows that IGFBP2 peptides p17, p22, p249, and p293 are naturally processed peptides. Figure 6 is identical to Figure 5 except that the results were obtained using IGFBP-2 derived helper epitopes.


    BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0013] The invention is defined by the appended claims.

    [0014] Disclosed are compositions and methods for preventing, treating or diagnosing a number of pathological states such as viral diseases and cancers. Thus, provided herein are novel peptides capable of binding selected major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules and inducing or modulating an immune response. Some of the peptides disclosed are capable of binding human class II MHC (HLA) molecules, including HLA-DR and HLA-DQ alleles. Also provided are compositions that include immunogenic peptides having binding motifs specific for MHC molecules. The peptides and compositions disclosed can be utilized in methods for inducing an immune response, a helper T lymphocyte (HTL) response, or a cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response when administered to a system.

    [0015] Epitopes on a number of immunogenic tumor associated antigens have been identified. The peptides are thus useful in pharmaceutical compositions for both in vivo and ex vivo therapeutic and diagnostic applications (e.g., tetramer reagents; Beckman Coulter).

    [0016] The peptides are also useful as epitope-based vaccines. The epitope-based vaccines preferably have enhanced, typically broadened, population coverage. The HLA-DR supermotif-bearing epitopes comprising the vaccine composition preferably bind to more than one HLA DR supertype molecule with a KD of less than 1000nM or 500 nM, and stimulate a HTL response in patients bearing an HLA DR supertype allele to which the peptide binds.

    [0017] Motif-bearing peptides may additionally be used as diagnostic, rather than immunogenic, reagents to evaluate an immune response. For example, an HLA-DR supermotif-bearing peptide epitope may be used prognostically to analyze an immune response for the presence of specific HTL populations from patients who possess an HLA DR supertype allele bound by the peptide epitope.

    [0018] The binding affinity of a peptide epitope in accordance with the invention for at least one HLA DR supertype molecule is preferably determined. A preferred peptide epitope has a binding affinity of less than 1000 nM, or more preferably less than 500 nM for the at least one HLA DR supertype molecule, and most preferably less than 50 nM.

    [0019] Synthesis of a HLA DR supermotif-containing epitope may occur in vitro or in vivo. The peptide may be encoded by a recombinant nucleic acid and expressed in a cell. The nucleic acid may encode one or more peptides, at least one of which is an epitope of the invention.

    [0020] A peptide epitope of the invention, in the context of an HLA DR supertype molecule to which it binds, can be contacted, either in vitro or in vivo, with a cytotoxic T lymphocyte and thereby be used to elicit a T cell response in an HLA-diverse population.

    [0021] An HTL epitope may be comprised by a single peptide. Further, the HTL epitope may be lipidated, preferably with palmitic acid, and may be linked by a spacer molecule to another HTL epitope or a CTL epitope. The epitope may be expressed by a nucleotide sequence; the nucleotide sequence may be comprised in an attenuated viral host.

    [0022] As will be apparent from the discussion below, other embodiments of methods and compositions are also within the scope of the invention. Further, novel synthetic peptides produced by any of the methods described herein are also part of the invention.

    [0023] The present invention provides peptides and nucleic acids encoding them for use in vaccines and therapeutics. Disclosed are methods of inducing a helper T cell response against a preselected antigen in, a patient, the method comprising contacting a helper T cell with an immunogenic peptide of the invention. The peptides of the invention may be derived from a number of tumor associated antigens. The methods disclosed can be carried out in vitro or in vivo. In a preferred embodiment the peptides are contacted with the helper T cell by administering to the patient a nucleic acid molecule comprising a sequence encoding the immunogenic peptide.

    [0024] Disclosed are methods of modulating the binding of peptide epitopes to HLA class II molecules. Disclosed is a method of modifying binding of an original peptide epitope that bears a motif correlated with binding to an HLA molecule, said motif comprising at least one primary anchor position, said at least one primary anchor position having specified therefore primary anchor amino acid residues consisting essentially of two or more residues, said method comprising exchanging the primary anchor residue of the original peptide epitope for another primary anchor residue, with the proviso that the original primary anchor residue is not the same as the exchanged primary anchor residue. Disclosed is a method where the original primary anchor residue is a less preferred residue, and the exchanged residue is a more preferred residue.

    [0025] Disclosed is also a method of modifying binding of an original peptide epitope that bears a motif correlated with binding to an HLA molecule, said motif comprising at least one primary anchor position having specified therefore at least one primary anchor residue, and at least one secondary anchor position having specified therefore at least one secondary residue, said method comprising exchanging the secondary anchor residue of the original peptide epitope for another secondary anchor residue, with the proviso that the original secondary anchor residue is different than the exchanged amino acid residue. In some cases the original secondary residue is a deleterious residue and the exchanged residue is a residue other than a deleterious residue and/or the original secondary anchor residue is a less preferred residue and the exchanged residue is a more preferred residue.

    [0026] As will be apparent from the discussion below, other methods and embodiments are also contemplated. Further, novel synthetic peptides produced by any of the methods described herein are also part of the invention.

    Definitions



    [0027] The following definitions are provided to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to understand some of the preferred embodiments of invention disclosed herein. Those of ordinary skill in the art will be able to construct slight modifications to the definitions below and utilize such modified definitions to understand and practice the invention disclosed herein. Such modifications, which would be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art, as they may be applicable to the claims set forth below, are considered to be within the scope of the present invention. If a definition set forth in this section is contrary to or otherwise inconsistent with a definition set forth in patents, published patent applications and other publications and sequences from GenBank and other databases, the definition set forth in this section prevails over said definition.

    [0028] An "HLA supertype or family", as used herein, describes sets of HLA molecules grouped on the basis of shared peptide -binding specificities, rather than serologic supertypes based on shared antigenic determinants. HLA class II molecules that share somewhat similar binding affinity for peptides bearing certain amino acid motifs are grouped into HLA supertypes. The terms "HLA superfamily," "HLA supertype family," "HLA family," and "HLA xx-like molecules" (where xx denotes a particular HLA type), are synonyms.

    [0029] As used herein, the term "IC50" refers to the concentration of peptide in a binding assay at which 50% inhibition of binding of a reference peptide is observed. Depending on the conditions in which the assays are run (i.e., limiting MHC proteins and labeled peptide concentrations), these values may approximate KD values. It should be noted that IC50 values can change, often dramatically, if the assay conditions are varied, and depending on the particular reagents used (e.g., HLA preparation, etc.). For example, excessive concentrations of HLA molecules will increase the apparent measured IC50 of a given ligand.

    [0030] Alternatively, binding is expressed relative to a reference peptide. As a particular assay becomes more, or less, sensitive, the IC50's of the peptides tested may change somewhat. However, the binding relative to the reference peptide will not change. For example, in an assay run under conditions such that the IC50 of the reference peptide increases 10-fold, the IC50 values of the test peptides will also shift approximately 10-fold. Therefore, to avoid ambiguities, the assessment of whether a peptide is a good, intermediate, weak, or negative binder is generally based on its IC50, relative to the IC50 of a standard peptide.

    [0031] As used herein, "high affinity" with respect to peptide binding to HLA class II molecules is defined as binding with an KD (or IC50) of less than 50 nM. "Intermediate affinity" is binding with a KD (or IC50) of between about 50 and about 500 nM. As used herein, "high affinity" with respect to binding to HLA class II molecules is defined as binding with an KD (or IC50) of less than 100 nM. "Intermediate affinity" is binding with a KD (or IC50) of between about 100 and about 1000 nM. Assays for determining binding are described in detail, e.g., in PCT publications WO 94/20127 and WO 94/03205.

    [0032] Binding may also be determined using other assay systems including those using: live cells (e.g., Ceppellini et al., Nature 339:392 (1989); Christnick et al., Nature 352:67 (1991); Busch et al., Int. Immunol. 2:443 (1990); Hill et al.., J Immunol. 147:189 (1991); del Guercio et al., J Immunol. 154:685 (1995)), cell free systems using detergent lysates (e.g., Cerundolo et al., J Immunol. 21 :2069 (1991)), immobilized purified MHC (e.g., Hill et al., J Immunol. 152,2890 (1994); Marshall et al., J Immunol. 152:4946 (1994)), ELISA systems (e.g., Reay et al., EMBO J 11 :2829 (1992)), surface plasmon resonance (e.g., Khilko et al., J Biol. Chem. 268:15425 (1993)); high flux soluble phase assays (Hammer et al., J. Exp. Med. 180:2353 (1994)).

    [0033] The term "peptide" is used interchangeably with "oligopeptide" in the present specification to designate a series of residues, typically L-amino acids, connected one to the other typically by peptide bonds between the alpha-amino and carbonyl groups of adjacent amino acids. In certain embodiments, the oligopeptides of the invention are less than about 50 residues in length and usually consist of between about 6 and about 25 residues, preferably 14 or 15 residues. Further, an oligopeptide of the invention can be such that it does not comprise more than 50 contiguous amino acids of a native antigen. The preferred HTL-inducing peptides of the invention are 30 residues or less in length, sometimes 20 residues or less and usually consist of between about 6 and about 25 residues, preferably 14 or 15 residues.

    [0034] "Synthetic peptide" refers to a peptide that is not naturally occurring, but is man-made using such methods as chemical synthesis or recombinant DNA technology.

    [0035] The nomenclature used to describe peptide compounds follows the conventional practice wherein the amino group is presented to the left (the N-terminus) and the carboxyl group to the right (the C-terminus) of each amino acid residue. In the formulae representing selected specific embodiments of the present invention, the amino- and carboxyl-terminal groups, although not specifically shown, are in the form they would assume at physiologic pH values, unless otherwise specified. In the amino acid structure formula, each residue is generally represented by standard three letter or single letter designations. The L-form of an amino acid residue is represented by a capital single letter or a capital first letter of a three-letter symbol, and the D-form for those amino acids having D-forms is represented by a lower case single letter or a lower case three letter symbol. Glycine has no asymmetric carbon atom and is simply referred to as "Gly" or G. Symbols for each amino acids are shown below:
    Table 1
    Amino acids with their abbreviations
    Amino acidThree letter codeSingle letter code
    Alanine Ala A
    Arginine Arg R
    Asparagine Asn N
    Aspartic acid Asp D
    Cysteinc Cys C
    Glutamine Gln Q
    Glutamic acid Glu E
    Glycine Gly G
    Histidine His H
    Isoleucine Ile I
    Leucine Leu L
    Lysine Lys K
    Methionine Met M
    Phenylalanine Phe F
    Proline Pro P
    Serine Ser S
    Threonine Thr T
    Tryptophan Trp W
    Tyrosine Tyr Y
    Valine Val V


    [0036] With regard to a particular amino acid sequence, an "epitope" is a set of amino acid residues which is involved in recognition by a particular immunoglobulin, or in the context of T cells, those residues necessary for recognition by T cell receptor proteins and/or Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) receptors. In an immune system setting, in vivo or in vitro, an epitope is the collective features of a molecule, such as primary, secondary and tertiary peptide structure, and charge, that together form a site recognized by an immunoglobulin, T cell receptor or HLA molecule. Throughout this disclosure epitope and peptide are often used interchangeably.

    [0037] It is to be appreciated that protein or peptide molecules that comprise an epitope of the invention as well as additional amino acid(s) are still within the bounds of the invention. In certain embodiments, there is a limitation on the length of a peptide of the invention. The embodiment that is length-limited occurs when the protein/peptide comprising an epitope of the invention comprises a region (i.e., a contiguous series of amino acids) having 100% identity with a native sequence. In order to avoid the definition of epitope from reading, e.g., on whole natural molecules, there is a limitation on the length of any region that has 100% identity with a native peptide sequence. Thus, for a peptide comprising an epitope of the invention and a region with 100% identity with a native peptide sequence, the region with 100% identity to a native sequence generally has a length of: less than or equal to 600 amino acids, often less than or equal to 500 amino acids, often less than or equal to 400 amino acids, often less than or equal to 250 amino acids, often less than or equal to 100 amino acids; often less than or equal to 85 amino acids, often less than or equal to 75 amino acids, often less than or equal to 65 amino acids, and often less than or equal to 50 amino acids. In certain embodiments, an "epitope" of the invention is comprised by a peptide having a region with less than 51 amino acids that has 100% identity to a native peptide sequence, in any increment down to 5 amino acids.

    [0038] Accordingly, peptide or protein sequences longer than 600 amino acids are within the scope of the invention, so long as they do not comprise any contiguous sequence of more than 600 amino acids that have 100% identity with a native peptide sequence. For any peptide that has five contiguous residues or less that correspond to a native sequence, there is no limitation on the maximal length of that peptide in order to fall within the scope of the invention. It is presently preferred that a CTL epitope be less than 600 residues long in any increment down to eight amino acid residues.

    [0039] A "dominant epitope" induces an immune response upon immunization with whole native antigens which comprise the epitope. (See, e.g., Sercarz, et al., Annu. Rev. Immunol. 11:729-766 (1993)). Such a response is cross-reactive in vitro with an isolated peptide epitope.

    [0040] A "cryptic epitope" elicits a response by immunization with isolated peptide, but the response is not cross-reactive in vitro when intact whole protein which comprises the epitope is used as an antigen.

    [0041] A "subdominant epitope" is an epitope which evokes little or no response upon immunization with whole antigens which comprise the epitope, but for which a response can be obtained by immunization in vivo or in vitro with an isolated epitope, and this response (unlike the case of cryptic epitopes) is detected when whole protein is used to recall the response in vitro.

    [0042] A "pharmaceutical excipient" comprises a material such as an adjuvant, a carrier, pH-adjusting and buffering agents, tonicity adjusting agents, wetting agents, preservatives.

    [0043] As used herein, the term "pharmaceutically acceptable" refers to a generally non-toxic, inert, and/or physiologically compatible composition.

    [0044] As used herein, the term "protective immune response" or "therapeutic immune response" refers to a HTL and/or a CTL response to a tumor associated antigen, which in some way prevents or at least partially arrests disease symptoms, side effects or progression. The immune response may include an antibody response that has been facilitated by the stimulation of helper T cells.

    [0045] In certain embodiments, an "immunogenic peptide" is a peptide which comprises an allele-specific motif such that the peptide will bind an MHC (HLA) molecule and induce a HTL response. Immunogenic peptides of the invention are capable of binding to an appropriate class II MHC molecule (e.g., HLA-DR) and inducing a helper T cell response against the antigen from which the immunogenic peptide is derived.

    [0046] An "immunogenic response" includes one that stimulates a HTL and/or CTL response in vitro and/or in vivo as well as modulates an ongoing immune response through directed induction of cell death (or apoptosis) in specific T cell populations.

    [0047] Immunogenic peptides of the invention are capable of binding to an appropriate HLA-DR molecule and inducing a helper T-cell response against the antigen from which the immunogenic peptide is derived. The immunogenic peptides of the invention are less than about 50 residues in length, often 30 residues or less in length, or 20 residues or less in length and usually consist of between about 6 and about 25 residues, preferably 14 or 15 residues.

    [0048] The term "derived" when used to discuss an epitope is a synonym for "prepared." A derived epitope can be isolated from a natural source, or it can be synthesized in accordance with standard protocols in the art. Synthetic epitopes can comprise artificial amino acids "amino acid mimetics," such as D isomers of natural occurring L amino acids or non-natural amino acids such as cyclohexylalanine. A derived/prepared epitope can be an analog of a native epitope.

    [0049] Immunogenic peptides are conveniently identified using the binding motif algorithms described for the specific HLA subtype (e.g., HLA-DR). The algorithms are mathematical procedures that produce a score which enables the selection of immunogenic peptides. Typically one uses the algorithmic score with a "binding threshold" to enable selection of peptides that have a high probability of binding at a certain affinity and will in turn be immunogenic. The algorithm is based upon either the effects on MHC binding of a particular amino acid at a particular position of a peptide or the effects on binding of a particular substitution in a motif containing peptide.

    [0050] The term "residue" refers to an amino acid or amino acid mimetic incorporated into an oligopeptide by an amide bond or amide bond mimetic.

    [0051] A "conserved residue" is an amino acid which occurs in a significantly higher frequency than would be expected by random distribution at a particular position in a peptide. Typically a conserved residue is one where the MHC structure may provide a contact point with the immunogenic peptide. At least one to three or more, preferably two, conserved residues within a peptide of defined length defines a motif for an immunogenic peptide. These residues are typically in close contact with the peptide binding groove, with their side chains buried in specific pockets of the groove itself. Typically, an immunogenic peptide will comprise up to three conserved residues, more usually two conserved residues.

    [0052] The term "motif refers to the pattern of residues in a peptide of defined length, usually about 6 to about 25 amino acids, which is recognized by a particular MHC allele (one or more HLA molecules). The peptide motifs are typically different for each human MHC allele and differ in the pattern of the highly conserved residues and negative residues. Peptide motifs are often unique for the protein encoded by each human HLA allele, differing in their pattern of the primary and secondary anchor residues. Typically as used herein, a "motif refers to that pattern of residues which is recognized by an HLA molecule encoded by a particular allele. The binding motif for an allele can be defined with increasing degrees of precision.

    [0053] The designation of a residue position in an epitope as the "carboxyl terminus" or the "carboxyl terminal position" refers to the residue position at the end of the epitope which is nearest to the carboxyl terminus of a peptide, which is designated using conventional nomenclature as defined below. The "carboxyl terminal position" of the epitope may or may not actually correspond to the end of the peptide or polypeptide.

    [0054] The designation of a residue position in an epitope as "amino terminus" or "amino-terminal position" refers to the residue position at the end of the epitope which is nearest to the amino terminus of a peptide, which is designated using conventional nomenclature as defined below. The "amino terminal position" of the epitope may or may not actually correspond to the end of the peptide or polypeptide.

    [0055] A "motif bearing peptide" or "peptide which comprises a motif refers to a peptide that comprises primary anchors specified for a given motif or supermotif.

    [0056] In certain embodiments, a "supermotif is a peptide binding specificity shared by HLA molecules encoded by two or more HLA alleles. Preferably, a supermotif-bearing peptide is recognized with high or intermediate affinity (as defined herein) by two or more HLA molecules or antigens.

    [0057] Alternatively, the term "supermotif refers to motifs that, when present in an immunogenic peptide, allow the peptide to bind more than one HLA antigen. The supermotif preferably is recognized with high or intermediate affinity (as defined herein) by at least one HLA allele having a wide distribution in the human population, preferably recognized by at least two alleles, more preferably recognized by at least three alleles, and most preferably recognized by more than three alleles.

    [0058] "Human Leukocyte Antigen" or "HLA" is a human class I or class II Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) protein (see, Stites, et al., IMMUNOLOGY, 8TH ED., Lange Publishing, Los Altos, CA (1994).

    [0059] "Major Histocompatibility Complex" or "MHC" is a cluster of genes which plays a role in control of the cellular interactions responsible for physiologic immune responses. In humans, the MHC complex is also known as the HLA complex. For a detailed description of the MHC and HLA complexes, see, Paul, FUNDAMENTAL IMMUNOLOGY, 3RD ED., Raven Press, New York, 1993.

    [0060] The phrases "isolated" or "biologically pure" refer to material which is substantially or essentially free from components which normally accompany it as found in its native state. Thus, the peptides of this invention do not contain materials normally associated with their in situ environment, e.g., MHC class II molecules on antigen presenting cells. Even where a protein has been isolated to a homogenous or dominant band, there are trace contaminants in the range of 5-10% of native protein which co-purify with the desired protein. Isolated peptides of this invention do not contain such endogenous co-purified protein.

    [0061] "Peripheral blood mononuclear cells" (PBMCs) are cells found in from the peripheral blood of a patient. PBMCs comprise, e.g., CTLs and HTLs and antigen presenting cells. These cells can contact an antigen in vivo, or be obtained from a mammalian source and contacted with an antigen in vitro.

    [0062] "Cross-reactive binding" indicates that a peptide is bound by more than one HLA molecule; a synonym is degenerate binding.

    [0063] "Promiscuous recognition" is where the same peptide bound by different HLA molecules is recognized by the same T cell clone. It may also refer to the ability of a peptide to be recognized by a single T cell receptor in the context of multiple HLA alleles.

    [0064] "Link" or "join" refers to any method known in the art for functionally connecting peptides, including, without limitation, recombinant fusion, covalent bonding, disulfide bonding, ionic bonding, hydrogen bonding, and electrostatic bonding.

    [0065] A "non-native" sequence or "construct" refers to a sequence that is not found in nature, i.e., is "non-naturally occurring". Such sequences include, e.g., peptides that are lipidated or otherwise modified, and polyepitopic compositions that contain epitopes that are not contiguous in a native protein sequence.

    [0066] As used herein, a "vaccine" is a composition that contains one or more peptides of the invention, see, e.g., TABLE I. There are numerous embodiments of vaccines in accordance with the invention, such as by a cocktail of one or more peptides; one or more peptides of the invention comprised by a polyepitopic peptide; or nucleic acids that encode such peptides or polypeptides, e.g., a minigene that encodes a polyepitopic peptide. The "one or more peptides" can include any whole unit integer from 1-150, e.g., at least 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40 , 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, or 150 or more peptides of the invention. The peptides or polypeptides can optionally be modified, such as by lipidation, addition of targeting or other sequences. HLA class II-binding peptides of the invention can be linked to HLA class I-binding peptides, to facilitate activation of both cytotoxic T lymphocytes and helper T lymphocytes. Vaccines can comprise peptide pulsed antigen presenting cells, e.g., dendritic cells.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0067] The invention is defined by the appended claims.

    [0068] Disclosed is an epitope- based approach for vaccine design. Such an approach is based on the well-established finding that the mechanism for inducing HTL immune response comprises the step of presenting a HTL epitope as a peptide of about 6-25 amino acids bound to an HLA molecule displayed on an antigen-presenting cell.

    [0069] Certain embodiments of the present invention relate to peptides comprising allele-specific peptide motifs and supermotifs which bind to HLA class II molecules.

    [0070] As noted above, high HLA binding affinity is correlated with higher immunogenicity. Higher immunogenicity can be manifested in several different ways. For instance, a higher binding peptide will be immunogenic more often. Close to 90% of high binding peptides are immunogenic, as contrasted with about 50% of the peptides which bind with intermediate affinity. A higher binding peptide will also lead to a more vigorous response. As a result, less peptide is required to elicit a similar biological effect. Thus, in some embodiments of the invention high binding epitopes are particularly desired.

    [0071] It has been noted that a significant number of epitopes derived from known non-viral tumor associated antigens (TAA) bind HLA Class II with intermediate affinity (IC50 in the 50-500 mM range). It has been found that 8 of 15 known TAA peptides recognized by tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) or CTL bound in the 50-500 mM range. These data are in contrast with estimates that 90% of known viral antigens that were recognized as peptides bound HLA with IC50 of 50 mM or less while only approximately 10% bound in the 50-500 mM range (Sette, et al., J. Immunol., 153:5586-5592 (1994)). This phenomenon is probably due in the cancer setting to elimination, or functional inhibition of the CTL recognizing several of the highest binding peptides, presumably because of T cell tolerization events.

    [0072] Epitope-bearing peptides in accordance with the invention can be prepared synthetically, by recombinant DNA technology, or from natural sources such as whole viruses or tumors. Although the peptide will preferably be substantially free of other naturally occurring host cell proteins and fragments thereof, in some embodiments the peptides are synthetically conjugated to native molecules or particles; the peptides can also be conjugated to non-native molecules or particles.

    [0073] The peptides in accordance with the invention can be a variety of lengths, and either in their neutral (uncharged) forms or in forms which are salts. The peptides in accordance with the invention are either free of modifications such as glycosylation, side chain oxidation, or phosphorylation; or they contain these modifications.

    [0074] Desirably, the epitope-bearing peptide will be as small as possible while still maintaining relevant immunologic activity of the large peptide; of course it is particularly desirable with peptides from pathogenic organisms that the peptide be small in order to avoid pathogenic function. When possible, it may be desirable to optimize epitopes of the invention to a length of about 6 to about 25, preferably 14 to 15 amino acid residues for a class II molecule. Preferably, the peptides are commensurate in size with endogenously processed viral peptides or tumor cell peptides that are bound to HLA class I or class II molecules on the cell surface. Nevertheless, the identification and preparation of peptides of other lengths can be carried out using the techniques described here such as the disclosures of primary anchor positions. It is to be appreciated that peptide epitopes in accordance with the invention can be present in peptides or proteins that are longer than the epitope itself. Moreover, multiepitopic peptides can comprise at least one epitope of the invention along with other epitope(s).

    [0075] In particular, the invention provides motifs that are common to peptides bound by more than one HLA allele. By a combination of motif identification and MHC-peptide interaction studies, peptides useful for peptide vaccines have been identified.

    [0076] Peptides comprising the epitopes from these antigens are synthesized and then tested for their ability to bind to the appropriate MHC molecules in assays using, for example, immunofluorescent staining and flow microfluorometry, peptide-dependent class II assembly assays. Those peptides that bind to the class II molecule are further evaluated for their ability to serve as targets for HTLs derived from infected or immunized individuals, as well as for their capacity to induce primary in vitro or in vivo HTL responses that can give rise to HTL populations capable of reacting with tumor cells as potential therapeutic agents.

    [0077] The starting point, therefore, for the design of effective vaccines is to ensure that the vaccine will generate a large number of epitopes that can successfully be presented. It may be possible to administer the peptides representing the epitopes per se. Such administration is dependent on the presentation of "empty" HLA molecules displayed on the cells of the subject. In one approach to use of the immunogenic peptides per se, these peptides may be incubated with antigen-presenting cells from the subject to be treated ex vivo and the cells then returned to the subject.

    [0078] Alternatively, the peptides can be generated in situ by administering a nucleic acid containing a nucleotide sequence encoding it. Means for providing such nucleic acid molecules are described in WO99/58658. Further, the immunogenic peptides can be administered as portions of a larger peptide molecule and cleaved to release the desired peptide. The larger peptide may contain extraneous amino acids, in general the fewer the better. Thus, peptides which contain such amino acids are typically 50 amino acids or less, more typically 30 amino acids or less, and more typically 20 amino acids or less. The precursor may also be a heteropolymer or homopolymer containing a multiplicity of different or same HTL epitopes. Of course, mixtures of peptides and nucleic acids which generate a variety of immunogenic peptides can also be employed. The design of the peptide vaccines, the nucleic acid molecules, or the hetero- or homo-polymers is dependent on the inclusion of the desired epitope.

    [0079] In certain embodiments, it is preferred that peptides include an epitope that binds to an HLA-DR supertype allele. These motifs may be used to define T-cell epitopes from any desired antigen, particularly those associated with human cancers for which the amino acid sequence of the potential antigen targets is known.

    [0080] The peptides are thus useful in pharmaceutical compositions for both in vivo and ex vivo therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

    [0081] Peptides comprising the supermotif sequences can be identified, as noted above, by screening potential antigenic sources. Useful peptides can also be identified by synthesizing peptides with systematic or random substitution of the variable residues in the supermotif, and testing them according to the assays provided. As demonstrated below, it is useful to refer to the sequences of the target HLA molecule, as well.

    [0082] For epitope-based vaccines, the peptides of the present invention preferably comprise a supermotif and/or motif recognized by an HLA class II molecule having a wide distribution in the human population. The large degree of HLA polymorphism is an important factor to be taken into account with the epitope-based approach to vaccine development. To address this factor, epitope selection encompassing identification of peptides capable of binding at high or intermediate affinity to multiple HLA molecules is preferably utilized, most preferably these epitopes bind at high or intermediate affinity to two or more allele-specific HLA molecules.

    [0083] HTL-inducing peptides of interest for vaccine compositions preferably include those that have an IC50 or binding affinity value for class II HLA molecules, 1000 nM or better (i.e., the value is greater than or equal to 1000 nM). For example, peptide binding is assessed by testing the capacity of a candidate peptide to bind to a purified HLA molecule in vitro. Peptides exhibiting high or intermediate affinity are then considered for further analysis. Selected peptides are generally tested on other members of the supertype family. The peptides that exhibit cross-reactive binding can then be used in cellular screening analyses or vaccines.

    [0084] Definition of motifs that are predictive of binding to specific class II alleles allows the identification of potential peptide epitopes from an antigenic protein whose amino acid sequence is known. Typically, identification of potential peptide epitopes is initially carried out using a computer to scan the amino acid sequence of a desired antigen for the presence of motifs and/or supermotifs.

    [0085] The previous definition of motifs specific for different class II alleles allows the identification of potential peptide epitopes from an antigenic protein whose amino acid sequence is known. Typically, identification of potential peptide epitopes is initially carried out using a computer to scan the amino acid sequence of a desired antigen for the presence of motifs. The epitopic sequences are then synthesized. The capacity to bind MHC Class II molecules is measured in a variety of different ways.

    [0086] The procedures used to identify peptides of the present invention generally follow the methods disclosed in Falk et al., Nature 351 :290 (1991). Briefly, the methods involve large-scale isolation of MHC class II molecules, typically by immunoprecipitation or affinity chromatography, from the appropriate cell or cell line. Examples of other methods for isolation of the desired MHC molecule equally well known to the artisan include ion exchange chromatography, lectin chromatography, size exclusion, high performance ligand chromatography, and a combination of all of the above techniques.

    [0087] The peptides bound to the peptide binding groove of the isolated MHC molecules are eluted typically using acid treatment. Peptides can also be dissociated from class II molecules by a variety of standard denaturing means, such as heat, pH, detergents, salts, chaotropic agents, or a combination thereof.

    [0088] Peptide fractions are further separated from the MHC molecules by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and sequenced. Peptides can be separated by a variety of other standard means well known to the artisan, including filtration, ultrafiltration, electrophoresis, size chromatography, precipitation with specific antibodies, ion exchange chromatography, isoelectrofocusing.

    [0089] Sequencing of the isolated peptides can be performed according to standard techniques such as Edman degradation (Hunkapiller, M. W., et al., Methods Enzvmol. 91, 399 [1983]). Other methods suitable for sequencing include mass spectrometry sequencing of individual peptides as previously described (Hunt, et al., Science 225:1261 (1992)). Amino acid sequencing of bulk heterogenous peptides (e.g., pooled HPLC fractions) from different class I molecules typically reveals a characteristic sequence motif for each class I allele.

    [0090] Next, peptides that test positive in the MHC class II binding assay are assayed for the ability of the peptides to induce specific HTL responses in vitro. For instance, antigen-presenting cells that have been incubated with a peptide can be assayed for the ability to induce HTL responses in responder cell populations. Antigen-presenting cells can be normal cells such as peripheral blood mononuclear cells or dendritic cells (Inaba, et al., J. Exp. Med. 166:182 (1987); Boog, Eur. J. Immunol. 18:219 (1988)).

    [0091] As disclosed herein, higher HLA binding affinity is correlated with greater immunogenicity. Greater immunogenicity can be manifested in several different ways. Immunogenicity can correspond to whether an immune response is elicited at all, and to the vigor of any particular response, as well as to the extent of a diverse population in which a response is elicited. For example, a peptide might elicit an immune response in a diverse array of the population, yet in no instance produce a vigorous response. In accordance with the principles disclosed herein, close to 90% of high binding peptides have been found to be immunogenic, as contrasted with about 50% of the peptides which bind with intermediate affinity. Moreover, higher binding affinity peptides lead to more vigorous immunogenic responses. As a result, less peptide is required to elicit a similar biological effect if a high affinity binding peptide is used. Thus, in preferred embodiments of the invention, high affinity binding epitopes are particularly useful. Nevertheless, improvements over the prior art are achieved with intermediate or high binding peptides.

    [0092] After determining their binding affinity, additional confirmatory work can be performed to select, amongst these vaccine candidates, epitopes with preferred characteristics in terms of population coverage, antigenicity, and immunogenicity.

    [0093] Thus, various strategies can be utilized to evaluate immunogenicity, including:
    1. 1) Evaluation of primary T cell cultures from normal individuals (see, e.g., Wentworth, P. A. et al., Mol. Immunol. 32:603, 1995; Celis, E. et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91:2105, 1994; Tsai, V. et al., J. Immunol. 158:1796, 1997; Kawashima, I. et al., Human Immunol. 59:1, 1998); This procedure involves the stimulation of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from normal subjects with a test peptide in the presence of antigen presenting cells in vitro over a period of several weeks. T cells specific for the peptide become activated during this time and are detected.
    2. 2) Immunization of HLA transgenic mice (see, e.g., Wentworth, P. A. et al., J. Immunol. 26:97, 1996; Wentworth, P. A. et al., Int. Immunol. 8:651, 1996; Alexander, J. et al., J. Immunol. 159:4753, 1997); In this method, peptides in incomplete Freund's adjuvant are administered subcutaneously to HLA transgenic mice. Several weeks following immunization, splenocytes are removed and cultured in vitro in the presence of test peptide for approximately one week. Peptide-specific T cells are detected.
    3. 3) Demonstration of recall T cell responses from patients who have been effectively vaccinated or who have a tumor; (see, e.g., Rehermann, B. et al., J. Exp. Med. 181 :1047, 1995; Doolan, D. L. et al., Immunity 7:97, 1997; Bertoni, R. et al., J. Clin. Invest. 100:503, 1997; Threlkeld, S. C. et al., J. Immunol. 159:1648, 1997; Diepolder, H. M. et al., J. Virol. 71 :6011, 1997; Tsang et al., J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 87:982-990, 1995; Disis et al., J. Immunol. 156:3151-3158, 1996). In applying this strategy, recall responses are detected by culturing PBL from patients with cancer who have generated an immune response "naturally", or from patients who were vaccinated with tumor antigen vaccines. PBL from subjects are cultured in vitro for 1-2 weeks in the presence of test peptide plus antigen presenting cells (APC) to allow activation of "memory" T cells, as compared to "naive" T cells. At the end of the culture period, T cell activity is detected.


    [0094] An immunogenic peptide epitope of the invention may be included in a polyepitopic vaccine composition comprising additional peptide epitopes of the same antigen, antigens from the same source, and/or antigens from a different source. Moreover, class II epitopes can be included along with class I epitopes. Peptide epitopes from the same antigen may be adjacent epitopes that are contiguous in sequence or may be obtained from different regions of the protein.

    [0095] An epitope present in the peptides of the invention can be cross-reactive or non-cross-reactive in its interactions with MHC alleles and alleles subtypes. Cross-reactive binding of an epitope (or peptide) permits an epitope to be bound by more than one HLA molecule. Such cross-reactivity is also known as degenerate binding. A non-cross-reactive epitope would be restricted to binding a particular MHC allele or allele subtype.

    Motifs Indicative of Class II HTL Inducing Peptide Epitope



    [0096] The primary anchor residues of the HLA class II supermotifs and motifs are delineated below.

    HLA DR- 1-4-7 supermotif



    [0097] Motifs have also been identified for peptides that bind to three common HLA class II allele-specific HLA molecules: HLA DRB1*0401, DRB1*0101, and DRB1*0701 (see, e.g., the review by Southwood et al. J. Immunology 160:3363-3373,1998). Collectively, the common residues from these motifs delineate the HLA DR-1-4-7 supermotif. Peptides that bind to these DR molecules carry a supermotif characterized by a large aromatic or hydrophobic residue (Y, F, W, L, I, V, or M) as a primary anchor residue in position 1, and a small, non-charged residue (S, T, C, A, P, V, I, L, or M) as a primary anchor residue in position 6 of a 9-mer core region. Allele-specific secondary effects and secondary anchors for each of these HLA types have also been identified (Southwood et al., supra). Peptide binding to HLA-DRB1*0401, DRB1*0101, and/or DRB1*0701 can be modulated by substitutions at primary and/or secondary anchor positions, preferably choosing respective residues specified for the supermotif.

    [0098] Two alternative motifs (i.e., submotifs) characterize peptide epitopes that bind to HLA-DR3 molecules (see, e.g., Geluk et al., J. Immunol. 152:5742, 1994). In the first motif (submotif DR3A) a large, hydrophobic residue (L, I, V, M, F, or Y) is present in anchor position 1 of a 9-mer core, and D is present as an anchor at position 4, towards the carboxyl terminus of the epitope. As in other class II motifs, core position 1 may or may not occupy the peptide N-terminal position.

    [0099] The alternative DR3 submotif provides for lack of the large, hydrophobic residue at anchor position 1, and/or lack of the negatively charged or amide-like anchor residue at position 4, by the presence of a positive charge at position 6 towards the carboxyl terminus of the epitope. Thus, for the alternative allele-specific DR3 motif (submotif DR3B): L, I, V, M, F, Y, A, or Y is present at anchor position 1; D, N, Q, E, S, or T is present at anchor position 4; and K, R, or H is present at anchor position 6. Peptide binding to HLA-DR3 can be modulated by substitutions at primary and/or secondary anchor positions, preferably choosing respective residues specified for the motif.

    [0100] As with HLA class I binding peptides, motifs have also been defined for HLA class II-binding peptides. Several studies have identified an important role for an aromatic or hydrophobic residue (I, L, M, V, F, W, or Y) at position 1 of a 9-mer core region, typically nested within a longer peptide sequence, in the binding of peptide ligands to several HLA-class II alleles (Hammer et al. Cell 74:197, (1993); Sette et al. J. Immunol. 151:3163-70 (1993); O'Sullivan et al. J. Immunol. 147:2663 (1991); and Southwood et al. J. Immunol. 160:3363-73 (1998)). A strong role has also been demonstrated for the residue in position 6 of the 9-mer core, where short and/or hydrophobic residues (S, T, C, A, P, V, I, L, or M) are preferred. This position 1-position 6 motif has been described as a DR-supermotif (Southwood et al. J. Immunol. 160:3363-3373 (1998)) and has been shown to efficiently identify peptides capable of binding a large set of common HLA-class II alleles.

    [0101] Peptides binding to class II molecules may also be analyzed with respect to the identification of secondary preferred or deleterious residues. For example, to derive a more detailed DRB1*0401 motif to define secondary residues influencing peptide binding, we employed a strategy similar to that performed with class I peptides. For each peptide analyzed, nine-residue-long core regions were aligned on the basis of the primary class II positions P1 and P6 anchors. Then, the average binding affinity of a peptide carrying a particular residue was calculated for each position, relative to the remainder of the group. Following this method, values showing average relative binding were compiled. These values also present a map of the positive or negative effect of each of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids in DRB1*0401 binding capacity when occupying a particular position relative to the P1-P6 class II motif positions.

    [0102] Variations in average relative binding of greater than or equal to fourfold or less than or equal to 0.25 were arbitrarily considered significant and indicative of secondary effects of a given residue on HLA-peptide interactions. Most secondary effects were associated with P4, P7, and P9. These positions correspond to secondary anchors engaging shallow pockets on the DR molecule. Similar studies defining secondary residues were also performed for DRB1*0101 and DRB1*0701. The definitions of secondary residues of motifs for DR1, DR4, and DR7 are shown in TABLE 139.

    [0103] Upon definition of allele-specific secondary effects and secondary anchors, allele-specific algorithms were derived and utilized to identify peptides binding DRB1*0101, DRB1*0401, and DRB*0701. Further experiments, identified a large set of HLA class II molecules, which includes at least the DRB1*0101, DRB1*0401, and DRB*0701, DRB1*1501, DRB1*0901 and DRB1*1302 allelic products recognizing the DR supermotif, and is characterized by largely overlapping peptide binding repertoires.

    [0104] The data presented above confirm that several common HLA class II types are characterized by largely overlapping peptide binding repertoires. On this basis, in analogy to the case of HLA class I molecules, HLA class II molecules can be grouped in a HLA class II supertype, defined and characterized by similar, or largely overlapping (albeit not identical) peptide binding specificities.

    [0105] The peptides present in the invention can be identified by any suitable method. For example, peptides are conveniently identified using the algorithms of the invention described in the co-pending U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 09/894,018. These algorithms are mathematical procedures that produce a score which enables the selection of immunogenic peptides. Typically one uses the algorithmic score with a binding threshold to enable selection of peptides that have a high probability of binding at a certain affinity and will in turn be immunogenic. The algorithm are based upon either the effects on MHC binding of a particular amino acid at a particular position of a peptide or the effects on binding MHC of a particular substitution in a motif containing peptide.

    [0106] Peptide sequences characterized in molecular binding assays and capture assays have been and can be identified utilizing various technologies. Motif-positive sequences are identified using a customized application created at Epimmune. Sequences are also identified utilizing matrix-based algorithms, and have been used in conjunction with a "power" module that generates a predicted 50% inhibitory concentration (PIC) value. These latter methods are operational on Epimmune's HTML-based Epitope Information System (EIS) database. All of the described methods are viable options in peptide sequence selection for IC50 determination using binding assays.

    [0107] The capacity to bind MHC molecules is measured in a variety of different ways. One means is a MHC binding assay as described in the related applications, noted above. Other alternatives described in the literature include inhibition of antigen presentation (Sette, et al., J. Immunol. 141:3893 (1991), in vitro assembly assays (Townsend, et al., Cell 62:285 (1990), and FACS based assays using mutated cells, such as RMA.S (Melief, et al., Eur. J. Immunol. 21:2963 (1991)).

    [0108] Capture Assay: Unlike the HPLC-based molecular binding assay, noted above, the high throughput screening ("HTS") Capture assay does not utilize a size-exclusion silica column for separation of bound from unbound radioactive marker. Instead, wells of an opaque white 96-well Optiplate (Packard) are coated with 3µg (100µl @ 30µg/ml) of HLA-specific antibody (Ab) that "capture" complexes of radiolabeled MHC and unlabeled peptide transferred from the molecular binding assay plate in 100µl of 0.05% NP40/PBS. After a 3-hour incubation period, the supernatant is decanted and scintillation fluid (Microscint 20) added. Captured complexes are then measured on a microplate scintillation and luminescence counter (TopCount NXTTM; Packard).

    [0109] Additional assays for determining binding are described in detail, i.e., in PCT publications WO 94/20127 and WO 94/03205. Binding data results are often expressed in terms of IC50 value. IC50 is the concentration of peptide in a binding assay at which 50% inhibition of binding of a reference peptide occurs. Given the conditions in which the assays are preformed (i.e., limiting MHC proteins and labeled peptide concentrations), these values approximate KD values. It should be noted that IC50 values can change, often dramatically, if the assay conditions are varied, and depending on the particular reagents used (i.e., MHC preparation, etc.). For example, excessive concentrations of MHC molecules will increase the apparent measured IC50 of a given ligand. Alternatively, binding is expressed relative to a reference peptide. Although as a particular assay becomes more, or less, sensitive, the IC50's of the peptides tested may change somewhat, the binding relative to the reference peptide will not significantly change. For example, in an assay preformed under conditions such that the IC50 of the reference peptide increases 10-fold, the IC50 values of the test peptides will also increase approximately 10-fold. Therefore, to avoid ambiguities, the assessment of whether a peptide is a good, intermediate, weak, or negative binder is generally based on its IC50, relative to the IC50 of a standard peptide.

    [0110] The peptides of the invention may also comprise isosteres of two or more residues in the MHC-binding peptide. An isostere as defined here is a sequence of two or more residues that can be substituted for a second sequence because the steric conformation of the first sequence fits a binding site specific for the second sequence. The term specifically includes peptide backbone modifications well known to those skilled in the art. Such modifications include modifications of the amide nitrogen, the α-carbon, amide carbonyl, complete replacement of the amide bond, extensions, deletions or backbone crosslinks. See, generally, Spatola, Chemistry and Biochemistry of Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins, Vol. VII (Weinstein ed., 1983).

    [0111] Modifications of peptides with various amino acid mimetics or unnatural amino acids are particularly useful in increasing the stability of the peptide in vivo. Stability can be assayed in a number of ways. For instance, peptidases and various biological media, such as human plasma and serum, have been used to test stability. See, e.g., Verhoef et al, Eur. J. Drug Metab. Pharmacokin. 11:291-302 (1986). Half life of the peptides of the present invention is conveniently determined using a 25% human serum (v/v) assay. The protocol is generally as follows. Pooled human serum (Type AB, non-heat inactivated) is delipidated by centrifugation before use. The serum is then diluted to 25% with RPMI tissue culture media and used to test peptide stability. At predetermined time intervals a small amount of reaction solution is removed and added to either 6% aqueous trichloracetic acid or ethanol. The cloudy reaction sample is cooled (4°C) for 15 minutes and then spun to pellet the precipitated serum proteins. The presence of the peptides is then determined by reversed-phase HPLC using stability-specific chromatography conditions.

    [0112] Such analogs may also possess improved shelf-life or manufacturing properties. More specifically, non-critical amino acids need not be limited to those naturally occurring in proteins, such as L-α-amino acids, or their D-isomers, but may include non-natural amino acids as well, such as amino acids mimetics, e.g. D- or L-naphylalanine; D- or L- phenylglycine; D- or L-2-thieneylalanine; D- or L-1, -2, 3-, or 4- pyreneylalanine; D- or L-3 thieneylalanine; D- or L-(2-pyridinyl)-alanine; D- or L-(3-pyridinyl)-alanine; D- or L-(2-pyrazinyl)-alanine; D- or L-(4-isopropyl)-phenylglycine; D-(trifluoromethyl)-phenylglycine; D-(trifluoromethyl)-phenylalanine; D-p-fluorophenylalanine; D- or L- p-biphenylphenylalanine; D- or L- p-methoxybiphenylphenylalanine; D- or L-2-indole(alkyl)alanines; and, D- or L-alkylalanines, where the alkyl group can be a substituted or unsubstituted methyl, ethyl, propyl, hexyl, butyl, pentyl, isopropyl, iso-butyl, sec-isotyl, iso-pentyl, or a non-acidic amino acids. Aromatic rings of a nonnatural amino acid include, e.g., thiazolyl, thiophenyl, pyrazolyl, benzimidazolyl, naphthyl, furanyl, pyrrolyl, and pyridyl aromatic rings.

    [0113] Another embodiment for generating effective peptide analogs involves the substitution of residues that have an adverse impact on peptide stability or solubility in, e.g., a liquid environment. This substitution may occur at any position of the peptide epitope. Analogs of the present invention may include peptides containing substitutions to modify the physical property (e.g., stability or solubility) of the resulting peptide. For example, a cysteine (C) can be substituted out in favor of α-amino butyric acid. Due to its chemical nature, cysteine has the propensity to form disulfide bridges and sufficiently alter the peptide structurally so as to reduce binding capacity. Substituting α-amino butyric acid for C not only alleviates this problem, but actually improves binding and crossbinding capability in certain instances (see, e.g., the review by Sette et al, In: Persistent Viral Infections, Eds. R. Ahmed and I. Chen, John Wiley & Sons, England, 1999). Substitution of cysteine with α-amino butyric acid may occur at any residue of a peptide epitope, i.e. at either anchor or non-anchor positions.

    [0114] The binding activity, particularly modification of binding affinity or cross-reactivity among HLA supertype family members, of peptides of the invention can also be altered using analoging, which is described in co-pending U.S. application number 09/226,775 filed 1/6/99. In brief, the analoging strategy utilizes the motifs or supermotifs that correlate with binding to certain HLA molecules. Analog peptides can be created by substituting amino acid residues at primary anchor, secondary anchor, or at primary and secondary anchor positions. Generally, analogs are made for peptides that already bear a motif or supermotif. For a number of the motifs or supermotifs in accordance with the invention, residues are defined which are deleterious to binding to allele-specific HLA molecules or members of HLA supertypes that bind the respective motif or supermotif (see, e.g., Rupert et al. Cell 74:929, 1993; Sidney, J. et al, Hu. Immunol. 45:79, 1996; and Sidney et al.; Sidney, et al., J. Immunol. 154:247, 1995). Accordingly, removal of such residues that are detrimental to binding can be performed in accordance with the present invention. For example, in the case of the A3 supertype, when all peptides that have such deleterious residues are removed from the population of peptides used in the analysis, the incidence of cross-reactivity increased from 22% to 37% (see, e.g., Sidney, J. et al., Hu. Immunol. 45:79, 1996).

    [0115] Thus, one strategy to improve the cross-reactivity of peptides within a given supermotif is simply to delete one or more of the deleterious residues present within a peptide and substitute a small "neutral" residue such as Ala (that may not influence T cell recognition of the peptide). An enhanced likelihood of cross-reactivity is expected if, together with elimination of detrimental residues within a peptide, "preferred" residues associated with high affinity binding to an allele-specific HLA molecule or to multiple HLA molecules within a superfamily are inserted.

    [0116] In some embodiments, a T helper peptide can used in addition to one of the peptides of the invention. One type of T helper peptide is one that is recognized by T helper cells in the majority of the population. This can be accomplished by selecting amino acid sequences that bind to many, most, or all of the MHC class II molecules. These are known as "loosely MHC-restricted" T helper sequences. Examples of amino acid sequences that are loosely MHC-restricted include sequences from antigens such as Tetanus toxin at positions 830-843 (QYIKANSKFIGITE (SEQ ID NO:__), Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite (CS) protein at positions 378-398 (DIEKKIAKMEKASSVFNVVNS (SEQ ID NO:__)), and Streptococcus 18 kD protein at positions 1-16 (YGAVDSILGGVATYGAA (SEQ ID NO:__)).

    [0117] Alternatively, it is possible to prepare synthetic peptides capable of stimulating T helper lymphocytes, in a loosely MHC-restricted fashion, using amino acid sequences not found in nature (see, e.g., PCT publication WO 95/07707). These synthetic compounds, called Pan-DR-binding epitopes or PADRE® molecules (Epimmune, San Diego, CA), are designed on the basis of their binding activity to most HLA-DR (human MHC class II) molecules (see, e.g., USSN 08/121,101 (now abandoned) and related USSN 08/305,871 (now U.S. Patent Number 5,736,142)). For instance, a pan-DR-binding epitope peptide having the formula: aKXVWANTLKAAa, where X is either cyclohexylalanine, phenylalanine, or tyrosine, and "a" is either D-alanine or L-alanine, has been found to bind to most HLA-DR alleles, and to stimulate the response of T helper lymphocytes from most individuals, regardless of their HLA type.

    [0118] Particularly preferred immunogenic peptides and/or T helper conjugates are linked by a spacer molecule. The spacer is typically comprised of relatively small, neutral molecules, such as amino acids or amino acid mimetics, which are substantially uncharged under physiological conditions. The spacers are typically selected from, e.g., Ala, Gly, or other neutral spacers of nonpolar amino acids or neutral polar amino acids. It will be understood that the optionally present spacer need not be comprised of the same residues and thus may be a hetero- or homo- oligomer. When present, the spacer will usually be at least one or two residues, more usually three to six residues. Alternatively, the HTL peptide may be linked to the T helper peptide without a spacer.

    [0119] The immunogenic peptide may be linked to the T helper peptide either directly or via a spacer either at the amino or carboxy terminus of the HTL peptide. The amino terminus of either the immunogenic peptide or the T helper peptide may be acylated. The T helper peptides used in the invention can be modified in the same manner as HTL peptides. For instance, they may be modified to include D-amino acids or be conjugated to other molecules such as lipids, proteins, sugars. Exemplary T helper peptides include tetanus toxoid 830-843, influenza 307-319, malaria circumsporozoite 382-398 and 378-389.

    [0120] In some embodiments it may be desirable to include in the pharmaceutical compositions of the invention at least one component which primes HTL and CTL. Lipids have been identified as agents capable of priming HTL and CTL in vivo against viral antigens. For example, palmitic acid residues can be attached to the alpha and epsilon amino groups of a Lys residue and then linked, e.g., via one or more linking residues such as Gly, Gly-Gly-, Ser, Ser-Ser, to an immunogenic peptide. The lipidated peptide can then be injected directly in a micellar form, incorporated into a liposome or emulsified in an adjuvant, e.g., incomplete Freund's adjuvant. In a preferred embodiment a particularly effective immunogen comprises palmitic acid attached to alpha and epsilon amino groups of Lys, which is attached via linkage, e.g., Ser-Ser, to the amino terminus of the immunogenic peptide. Also in a preferred embodiment a particularly effective immunogen comprises palmitic acid attached to alpha and epsilon amino groups of Lys, which is attached via linkage, e.g., Ser-Ser, to the amino terminus of a class I restricted peptide having T cell determinants, such as those peptides described herein as well as other peptides which have been identified as having such determinants.

    [0121] As another example of lipid priming of HTL and CTL responses, E. coli lipoproteins, such as tripalmitoyl-S-glycerylcysteinlyseryl-serine (P3CSS) can be used to prime virus specific HTL CTL when covalently attached to an appropriate peptide. See, Deres et al, Nature 342:561-564 (1989). Peptides of the invention can be coupled to P3CSS, for example, and the lipopeptide administered to an individual to specifically prime a HTL response to the target antigen. Further, as the induction of neutralizing antibodies can also be primed with P3CSS conjugated to a peptide which displays an appropriate epitope, the two compositions can be combined to more effectively elicit both humoral and cell- mediated responses to infection.

    [0122] In addition, additional amino acids can be added to the termini of a peptide to provide for ease of linking peptides one to another, for coupling to a carrier support, or larger peptide, for modifying the physical or chemical properties of the peptide or oligopeptide. Amino acids such as tyrosine, cysteine, lysine, glutamic or aspartic acid, can be introduced at the C- or N-terminus of the peptide or oligopeptide. Modification at the C terminus in some cases may alter binding characteristics of the peptide. In addition, the peptide or oligopeptide sequences can differ from the natural sequence by being modified by terminal-NH2 acylation, e.g., by alkanoyl (C1-C20) or thioglycolyl acetylation, terminal-carboxyl amidation, e.g., ammonia, methylamine, etc. In some instances these modifications may provide sites for linking to a support or other molecule.

    [0123] The peptides of the invention can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. Because of their relatively short size, the peptides can be synthesized in solution or on a solid support in accordance with conventional techniques. Various automatic synthesizers are commercially available and can be used in accordance with known protocols. See, for example, Stewart and Young, Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis, 2d. ed., Pierce Chemical Co. (1984), supra.

    [0124] Another aspect of the present invention is directed to vaccines which comprise an immunogenically effective amount of one or more peptides as described herein. Peptides may be introduced into a host using a variety of delivery vehicles known to those of skill in the art including PLG microspheres with entrapped peptides and virus-like particles. Furthermore, epitopes may be introduced as multiple antigen peptides (MAPs) (see e.g., Mora and Tarn, J. Immunol. 161:3616-23 (1998)), or as immunostimulating complexes (ISCOMS) (see e.g., Hu et al. Clin. Exp. Immunol. 113:235-43 (1998)) as known in the art.

    [0125] Vaccines that contain an immunogenically effective amount of one or more peptides as described herein are a further embodiment of the invention. The vaccines of the invention can be used both as a prevantative or therapeutic. Once appropriately immunogenic epitopes have been defined, they can be delivered by various means, herein referred to as "vaccine" compositions. Such vaccine compositions can include, for example, lipopeptides (e.g., Vitiello, A. et al., J: Clin. Invest. 95:341, 1995), peptide compositions encapsulated in poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) ("PLG") microspheres (see, e.g., Eldridge, et al., Molec. Immunol. 28:287-294, 1991: Alonso et al., Vaccine 12:299-306, 1994; Jones et al., Vaccine 13:675-681, 1995), peptide compositions contained in immune stimulating complexes (ISCOMS) (see, e.g., Takahashi et al., Nature 344:873-875, 1990; Hu et al., Clin Exp Immunol. 113:235-24: 1998), multiple antigen peptide systems (MAPs) (see e.g., Tarn, J. P., Proc. Natl Acaa Sci. U.S.A. 85:5409-5413, 1988; Tarn, J.P.,J Immunol. Methods 196:17-32, 1996), vir delivery vectors (Perkus, M. E. et al., In: Concepts in vaccine development, Kaufmann H. E., ed., p. 379, 1996; Chakrabarti, S. et al., Nature 320:535,1986; Hu, S. L. et al., Nature 320:537, 1986; Kieny, M.-P. et al., AIDS Bio/Technology 4:790, 1986; Top, F. et al., J Infect. Dis. 124:148, 1971; Chanda, P. K. et al., Virology 175:535, 1990), particles of viral or synthetic origin (e.g., Kofler, N. et al., J Immunol. Methods. 192:2- 1996; Eldridge, J. H. et al., Sem. Bematol 30:16, 1993; Fa10, L. D., Jr. et al., Nature Med. 7:649, 1995), adjuvants (Warren, H. S., Vogel, F. R., and Chedid, L. A. Annu. Re Immunol. 4:369, 1986; Gupta, R. K. et al., Vaccine 11 :293, 1993), liposomes (Reddy, R et al., J. Immunol. 148:1585, 1992; Rock, K. L., Immunol. Today 17:131, 1996), or, naked or particle absorbed cDNA (Ulmer, J. B. et al., Science 259:1745, 1993; Robinsol H. L., Hunt, L. A., and Webster, R. G., Vaccine 11 :957, 1993; Shiver, J. W. et al., In: Concepts in vaccine development, Kaufmann, S. H. E., ed., p. 423, 1996; Cease, K. B., and Berzofsky, J. A., Annu. Rev. Immunol. 12:923, 1994 and Eldridge, J. H. et al., Sem. Hematol 30:16, 1993). Toxin-targeted delivery technologies, also known as receptor mediated targeting, such as those of Avant Immunotherapeutics, Inc. (Needham, Massachusetts) may also be used.

    [0126] Vaccine compositions of the invention include nucleic acid-mediated modalities. DNA or RNA encoding one or more of the peptides of the invention can also be administered to a patient. This approach is described, for instance, in Wolff et. al., Science 247: 1465 (1990) as well as U.S. Patent Nos. 5,580,859; 5,589,466; 5,804,566; 5,739,118; 5,736,524; 5,679,647; WO 98/04720; and in more detail below. Examples of DNA-based delivery technologies include "naked DNA", facilitated (bupivicaine, polymers, peptide-mediated) delivery, cationic lipid complexes, and particle-mediated ("gene gun") or pressure-mediated delivery (see, e.g., U.S. Patent No. 5,922,687).

    [0127] For therapeutic or prophylactic immunization purposes, the peptides of the invention can be expression vectors include attenuated viral hosts, such as vaccinia or fowlpox. This approach involves the use of vaccinia virus, for example, as a vector to express nucleotide sequences that encode the pep tides of the invention. Upon introduction into an acutely or chronically infected host or into a non-infected host, the recombinant vaccinia virus expresses the immunogenic peptide, and thereby elicits a host CTL and/or HTL response. Vaccinia vectors and methods useful in immunization protocols are described in, e.g., U.S. Patent No. 4,722,848. Another vector is BCG (Bacille Calmette Guerin). BCG vectors are described in Stover et al., Nature 351 :456-460 (1991). A wide variety of other vectors useful for therapeutic administration or immunization of the peptides of the invention, e.g. adeno and adeno-associated virus vectors, retroviral vectors, Salmonella typhi vectors, detoxified anthrax toxin vectors, will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the description herein.

    [0128] Furthermore, vaccines in accordance with the invention can encompass one or more of the peptides of the invention. Accordingly, a peptide can be present in a vaccine individually. Alternatively, the peptide can be individually linked to its own carrier; alternatively, the peptide can exist as a homopolymer comprising multiple copies of the same peptide, or as a heteropolymer of various peptides. Polymers have the advantage of increased immunological reaction and, where different peptide epitopes are used to make up the polymer, the additional ability to induce antibodies and/or CTLs that react with different antigenic determinants of the pathogenic organism or tumor-related peptide targeted for an immune response. The composition may be a naturally occurring region of an antigen or may be prepared, e.g., recombinantly or by chemical synthesis.

    [0129] Carriers that can be used with vaccines of the invention are well known in the art, and include, e.g., thyroglobulin, albumins such as human serum albumin, tetanus toxoid, polyamino acids such as poly L-lysine, poly L-glutamic acid, influenza, hepatitis B virus core protein. The vaccines can contain a physiologically tolerable (i.e., acceptable) diluent such as water, or saline, preferably phosphate buffered saline. The vaccines also typically include an adjuvant. Adjuvants such as incomplete Freund's adjuvant, aluminum phosphate, aluminum hydroxide, or alum are examples of materials well known in the art. Additionally, CTL responses can be primed by conjugating peptides of the invention to lipids, such as tripalmitoyl-S-glycerylcysteinlyseryl- serine (P3CSS).

    [0130] Upon immunization with a peptide composition in accordance with the invention, via injection, aerosol, oral, transdermal, transmucosal, intrapleural, intrathecal, or other suitable routes, the immune system of the host responds to the vaccine by producing large amounts of HTLs and/or CTLs specific for the desired antigen. Consequently, the host becomes at least partially immune to later infection, or at least partially resistant to developing an ongoing chronic infection, or derives at least some therapeutic benefit when the antigen was tumor-associated.

    [0131] For therapeutic or immunization purposes, the peptides of the invention can also be expressed by vectors. Examples of expression vectors include attenuated viral hosts, such as vaccinia or fowlpox. This approach involves the use of vaccinia virus as a vector to express nucleotide sequences that encode the peptides of the invention. Vaccinia vectors and methods useful in immunization protocols are described in, e.g., U.S. Patent No. 4,722,848. Another vector is BCG (Bacille Calmette Guerin). BCG vectors are described in Stover, et al. Nature 351:456-60 (1991). A wide variety of other vectors useful for therapeutic administration or immunization of the peptides of the invention, e.g., Salmonella typhi vectors, retroviral vectors, adenoviral or adeno-associated viral vectors, will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the description herein.

    [0132] Alternatively, recombinant DNA technology may be employed wherein a nucleotide sequence which encodes an immunogenic peptide of interest is inserted into an expression vector, transformed or transfected into an appropriate host cell and cultivated under conditions suitable for expression. These procedures are generally known in the art, as described generally in Sambrook et al., Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York (1982) (also 1989). Thus, fusion proteins which comprise one or more peptide sequences of the invention can be used to present the appropriate T cell epitope. For example, a coding sequence encoding a peptide of the invention can be provided with appropriate linkers and ligated into expression vectors commonly available in the art, and the vectors used to transform suitable hosts to produce the desired fusion protein. A number of such vectors and suitable host systems are now available. Expression constructs, i.e., minigenes are described in greater detail in the sections below. Such methodologies are also used to present at least one peptide of the invention along with a substance which is not a peptide of the invention.

    [0133] As the coding sequence for peptides of the length contemplated herein can be synthesized by chemical techniques, for example, using the phosphotriester method of Matteucci et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 103:3185 (1981), with modification can be made simply by substituting the appropriate base(s) for those encoding the native peptide sequence. The coding sequence can then be provided with appropriate linkers and ligated into expression vectors commonly available in the art, and the vectors used to transform suitable hosts to produce the desired fusion protein. A number of such vectors and suitable host systems are now available. For expression of the fusion proteins, the coding sequence will be provided with operably linked start and stop codons, promoter and terminator regions and usually a replication system to provide an expression vector for expression in the desired cellular host. For example, promoter sequences compatible with bacterial hosts are provided in plasmids containing convenient restriction sites for insertion of the desired coding sequence. The resulting expression vectors are transformed into suitable bacterial hosts. Of course, yeast or mammalian cell hosts may also be used, employing suitable vectors and control sequences.

    [0134] The peptides of the present invention and pharmaceutical and vaccine compositions thereof are useful for administration to mammals, particularly humans, to treat and/or prevent cancer.

    [0135] In therapeutic applications, compositions are administered to a patient in an amount sufficient to elicit an effective HTL response to the tumor antigen and to cure or at least partially arrest symptoms and/or complications. An amount adequate to accomplish this is defined as "therapeutically effective dose" or "unit dose." Amounts effective for this use will depend on, e.g., the peptide composition, the manner of administration, the stage and severity of the disease being treated, the weight and general state of health of the patient, and the judgment of the prescribing physician, but generally range for the initial immunization (that is for therapeutic or prophylactic administration) from about 1.0 µg to about 5000 µg of peptide for a 70 kg patient, followed by boosting dosages of from about 1.0 µg to about 1000 µg of peptide pursuant to a boosting regimen over weeks to months depending upon the patient's response and condition by measuring specific CTL activity in the patient's blood. In alternative embodiments, generally for humans the dose range for the initial immunization (that is for therapeutic or prophylactic administration) is from about 1.0 µg to about 20,000 µg of peptide for a 70 kg patient, preferably, 100 µg -, 150 µg -, 200 µg -, 250 µg -, 300 µg -, 400 µg -, or 500 µg -20,000 µg, followed by boosting dosages in the same dose range pursuant to a boosting regimen over weeks to months depending upon the patient's response and condition by measuring specific HTL activity in the patient's blood. In embodiments where recombinant nucleic acid administration is used, the administered material is titrated to achieve the appropriate therapeutic response.

    [0136] It must be kept in mind that the peptides and compositions of the present invention may generally be employed in serious disease states, that is, life-threatening or potentially life threatening situations. In such cases, in view of the minimization of extraneous substances and the relative nontoxic nature of the peptides, it is possible and may be felt desirable by the treating physician to administer substantial excesses of these peptide compositions.

    [0137] For therapeutic use, administration should begin at the first sign of tumors or shortly after diagnosis. This is followed by boosting doses until at least symptoms are substantially abated and for a period thereafter.

    [0138] Treatment of an affected individual with the compositions of the invention may hasten resolution of the infection in acutely infected individuals. For those individuals susceptible (or predisposed) to developingcancer the compositions are particularly useful in methods for preventing the evolution of cancer.

    [0139] The pharmaceutical compositions for therapeutic treatment are intended for parenteral, topical, oral or local administration. Preferably, the pharmaceutical compositions are administered parenterally, e.g., intravenously, subcutaneously, intradermally, or intramuscularly. Thus, the invention provides compositions for parenteral administration which comprise a solution of the immunogenic peptides dissolved or suspended in an acceptable carrier, preferably an aqueous carrier. A variety of aqueous carriers may be used, e.g., water, buffered water, 0.8% saline, 0.3% glycine, hyaluronic acid. These compositions may be sterilized by conventional, well known sterilization techniques, or may be sterile filtered. The resulting aqueous solutions may be packaged for use as is, or lyophilized, the lyophilized preparation being combined with a sterile solution prior to administration. The compositions may contain pharmaceutically acceptable auxiliary substances as required to approximate physiological conditions, such as pH adjusting and buffering agents, tonicity adjusting agents, wetting agents, for example, sodium acetate, sodium lactate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, sorbitan monolaurate, triethanolamine oleate, etc.

    [0140] A pharmaceutical composition of the invention may comprise one or more T cell stimulatory peptides of the invention. For example, a pharmaceutical composition may comprise 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 or more T cell stimulatory peptides of the invention. Moreover, a pharmaceutical composition of the invention may comprise one or more T cell stimulatory peptides of the invention in combination with one or more other T cell stimulatory peptides. The concentration of each unique T cell stimulatory peptide of the invention in the pharmaceutical formulations can vary widely, e.g., from less than about 0.001%, about 0.002%, about 0.003%, about 0.004%, about 0.005%, about 0.006%, 0.007%, 0.008%, 0.009%, about 0.01%, about 0.02%, about 0.025%, about 0.03%, about 0.04%, about 0.05%, about 0.06%, about 0.07%, about 0.08%, about 0.09%, about 0.1%, about 0.2%, about 0.3%, about 0.4%, about 0.5%, about 0.6%, about 0.7%, about 0.8%, about 0.9%, about 1%, about 1.1%, about 1.2%, about 1.3%, about 1.4%, about 1.5%, about 1.6%, about 1.7%, about 1.8%, about 1.9%, about 2%, about 3%, about 4%, about 5%, about 6%, about 7%, about 8%, about 9%, about 10%, about 20%, to about 50% or more by weight, and will be selected primarily by fluid volumes, viscosities, etc., in accordance with the particular mode of administration selected. In a preferred embodiment, the concentration of each unique T cell stimulatory peptide of the invention in the pharmaceutical formulations is about 0.001%, about 0.002%, about 0.003%, about 0.004%, about 0.005%, about 0.006%, 0.007%, 0.008%, 0.009%, about 0.01%, about 0.02%, about 0.025%, about 0.03%, about 0.04%, about 0.05%, about 0.06%, about 0.07%, about 0.08%, about 0.09%, about 0.1%, about 0.2%, about 0.3%, about 0.4%, about 0.5%, about 0.6%, about 0.7%, about 0.8%, about 0.9%, about 1% by weight. In a more preferred embodiment, the concentration of each unique T cell stimulatory peptide of the invention in the pharmaceutical formulations is about 0.01%, about 0.02%, about 0.025%, about 0.03%, about 0.04%, about 0.05%, about 0.06%, about 0.07%, about 0.08%, about 0.09%, about 0.1% by weight.

    [0141] The concentration of HTL stimulatory peptides of the invention in the pharmaceutical formulations can vary widely, i.e., from less than about 0.1%, usually at or at least about 2% to as much as 20% to 50% or more by weight, and will be selected primarily by fluid volumes, viscosities, etc., in accordance with the particular mode of administration selected. A human unit dose form of the peptide composition is typically included in a pharmaceutical composition that comprises a human unit dose of an acceptable carrier, preferably an aqueous carrier, and is administered in a volume of fluid that is known by those of skill in the art to be used for administration of such compositions to humans.

    [0142] The peptides of the invention may also be administered via liposomes, which serve to target the peptides to a particular tissue, such as lymphoid tissue, or targeted selectively to infected cells, as well as increase the half-life of the peptide composition. Liposomes include emulsions, foams, micelles, insoluble monolayers, liquid crystals, phospholipid dispersions, lamellar layers. In these preparations the peptide to be delivered is incorporated as part of a liposome, alone or in conjunction with a molecule which binds to, e.g., a receptor prevalent among lymphoid cells, such as monoclonal antibodies which bind to the CD45 antigen, or with other therapeutic or immunogenic compositions. Thus, liposomes either filled or decorated with a desired peptide of the invention can be directed to the site of lymphoid cells, where the liposomes then deliver the selected therapeutic/immunogenic peptide compositions. Liposomes for use in the invention are formed from standard vesicle-forming lipids, which generally include neutral and negatively charged phospholipids and a sterol, such as cholesterol. The selection of lipids is generally guided by consideration of, e.g., liposome size, acid lability and stability of the liposomes in the blood stream. A variety of methods are available for preparing liposomes, as described in, e.g., Szoka et al., Ann. Rev. Biophvs. Bioeng. 9:467 (1980), U.S. Patent Nos. 4,235,871, 4,501,728, 4,837,028, and 5,019,369.

    [0143] For targeting to the immune cells, a ligand to be incorporated into the liposome can include, e.g., antibodies or fragments thereof specific for cell surface determinants of the desired immune system cells. A liposome suspension containing a peptide may be administered intravenously, locally, topically, etc. in a dose which varies according to, inter alia, the manner of administration, the peptide being delivered, and the stage of the disease being treated.

    [0144] For solid compositions, conventional nontoxic solid carriers may be used which include, for example, pharmaceutical grades of mannitol, lactose, starch, magnesium stearate, sodium saccharin, talcum, cellulose, glucose, sucrose, magnesium carbonate. For oral administration, a pharmaceutically acceptable nontoxic composition is formed by incorporating any of the normally employed excipients, such as those carriers previously listed, and generally 10-95% of active ingredient, that is, one or more peptides of the invention, and more preferably at a concentration of 25%-75%.

    [0145] For aerosol administration, the immunogenic peptides are preferably supplied in finely divided form along with a surfactant and propellant. Typical percentages of peptides are 0.01%-20% by weight, preferably 1%-10%. The surfactant must, of course, be nontoxic, and preferably soluble in the propellant. Representative of such agents are the esters or partial esters of fatty acids containing from 6 to 22 carbon atoms, such as caproic, octanoic, lauric, palmitic, stearic, linoleic, linolenic, olesteric and oleic acids with an aliphatic polyhydric alcohol or its cyclic anhydride. Mixed esters, such as mixed or natural glycerides may be employed. The surfactant may constitute 0.1%-20% by weight of the composition, preferably 0.25-5%. The balance of the composition is ordinarily propellant. A carrier can also be included, as desired, as with, e.g., lecithin for intranasal delivery.

    [0146] In another aspect the present invention is directed to vaccines which contain as an active ingredient an immunogenically effective amount of an immunogenic peptide as described herein. The peptide(s) may be introduced into a host, including humans, linked to its own carrier or as a homopolymer or heteropolymer of active peptide units. Such a polymer has the advantage of increased immunological reaction and, where different peptides are used to make up the polymer, the additional ability to induce antibodies and/or CTLs that react with different antigenic determinants of tumor cells. Useful carriers are well known in the art, and include, e.g., thyroglobulin, albumins such as human serum albumin, tetanus toxoid, polyamino acids such as poly(lysine: glutamic acid), influenza, hepatitis B virus core protein, hepatitis B virus recombinant vaccine. The vaccines can also contain a physiologically tolerable (acceptable) diluent such as water, phosphate buffered saline, or saline, and further typically include an adjuvant. Adjuvants such as incomplete Freund's adjuvant, aluminum phosphate, aluminum hydroxide, or alum are materials well known in the art. Upon immunization with a peptide composition as described herein, via injection, aerosol, oral, transdermal or other route, the immune system of the host responds to the vaccine by producing large amounts of HTLs specific for the desired antigen, and the host becomes at least partially immune to later infection, or resistant to developing chronic infection.

    [0147] The peptides of the present invention and pharmaceutical and vaccine compositions of the invention are useful for administration to mammals, particularly humans, to treat and/or prevent cancer. Vaccine compositions containing the peptides of the invention are administered to a patient susceptible to or otherwise at risk of cancer to elicit an immune response against the antigen and thus enhance the patient's own immune response capabilities. Such an amount is defined to be an "immunogenically effective dose." In this use, the precise amounts again depend on the patient's state of health and weight, the mode of administration, the nature of the formulation, etc., but generally range from about 1.0 µg to about 5000 µg per 70 kilogram patient, more commonly from about 10 µg to about 500 µg mg per 70 kg of body weight.

    [0148] As noted herein, the peptides of the invention induce HTL immune responses when contacted with a HTL specific to an epitope comprised by the peptide. The manner in which the peptide is contacted with the HTL is not critical to the invention. For instance, the peptide can be contacted with the HTL either in vivo or in vitro. If the contacting occurs in vivo, the peptide itself can be administered to the patient or other vehicles, e.g., DNA vectors encoding one or more peptide, viral vectors encoding the peptide(s), liposomes, can be used, as described herein.

    [0149] For therapeutic or immunization purposes, nucleic acids encoding one or more of the peptides of the invention can also be administered to the patient. A number of methods are conveniently used to deliver the nucleic acids to the patient. For instance, the nucleic acid can be delivered directly, as "naked DNA". This approach is described, for instance, in Wolff et. al., Science 247: 1465-68 (1990) as well as U.S. Patent Nos. 5,580,859 and 5,589,466. The nucleic acids can also be administered using ballistic delivery as described, for instance, in U.S. Patent No. 5,204,253. Particles comprised solely of DNA can be administered. Alternatively, DNA can be adhered to particles, such as gold particles.

    [0150] The nucleic acids can also be delivered complexed to cationic compounds, such as cationic lipids. Lipid-mediated gene delivery methods are described, for instance, in WO 96/18372; WO 93/24640; Mannino and Gould-Fogerite (1988) BioTechniques 6(7): 682-691; Rose U.S. Pat No. 5,279,833; WO 91/06309; and Feigner et al. (1987) Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 84: 7413-14.

    [0151] Nucleic acids encoding one or more of the peptides of the invention can also be administered to the patient. This approach is described, for instance, in Wolff, et. al., Science. 247:1465-68 (1990) as well as U.S. Patent Nos. 5,580,859 and 5,589,466.

    [0152] A preferred means of administering nucleic acids encoding the peptides of the invention uses minigene constructs encoding multiple epitopes of the invention. To create a DNA sequence encoding the selected HTL epitopes (minigene) for expression in human cells, the amino acid sequences of the epitopes are reverse translated. A human codon usage table is used to guide the codon choice for each amino acid. These epitope-encoding DNA sequences are directly adjoined, creating a continuous polypeptide sequence. To optimize expression and/or immunogenicity, additional elements can be incorporated into the minigene design. Examples of amino acid sequence that could be reverse translated and included in the minigene sequence include: a leader (signal) sequence, and an endoplasmic reticulum retention signal. In addition, MHC presentation of HTL epitopes may be improved by including synthetic (e.g. poly-alanine) or naturally-occurring flanking sequences adjacent to the HTL epitopes.

    [0153] The minigene sequence is converted to DNA by assembling oligonucleotides that encode the plus and minus strands of the minigene. Overlapping oligonucleotides (30-100 bases long) are synthesized, phosphorylated, purified and annealed under appropriate conditions using well known techniques. The ends of the oligonucleotides are joined using T4 DNA ligase. This synthetic minigene, encoding the HTL epitope polypeptide, can then cloned into a desired expression vector.

    [0154] Standard regulatory sequences well known to those of skill in the art are included in the vector to ensure expression in the target cells. Several vector elements are required: a promoter with a down-stream cloning site for minigene insertion; a polyadenylation signal for efficient transcription termination; an E. coli origin of replication; and an E. coli selectable marker (e.g. ampicillin or kanamycin resistance). Numerous promoters can be used for this purpose, e.g., the human cytomegalovirus (hCMV) promoter. See, U.S. Patent Nos. 5,580,859 and 5,589,466 for other suitable promoter sequences.

    [0155] Additional vector modifications may be desired to optimize minigene expression and immunogenicity. In some cases, introns are required for efficient gene expression, and one or more synthetic or naturally-occurring introns could be incorporated into the transcribed region of the minigene. The inclusion of mRNA stabilization sequences can also be considered for increasing minigene expression. It has recently been proposed that immunostimulatory sequences (ISSs or CpGs) play a role in the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines. These sequences could be included in the vector, outside the minigene coding sequence, if found to enhance immunogenicity.

    [0156] In some embodiments, a bicistronic expression vector, to allow production of the minigene-encoded epitopes and a second protein included to enhance or decrease immunogenicity can be used. Examples of proteins or polypeptides that could beneficially enhance the immune response if co-expressed include cytokines (e.g., IL2, IL12, GM-CSF), cytokine-inducing molecules (e.g., LeIF) or costimulatory molecules. Helper (HTL) epitopes could be joined to intracellular targeting signals and expressed separately from the CTL epitopes. This would allow direction of the HTL epitopes to a cell compartment different than the CTL epitopes. If required, this could facilitate more efficient entry of HTL epitopes into the MHC class II pathway, thereby improving CTL induction. In contrast to CTL induction, specifically decreasing the immune response by co-expression of immunosuppressive molecules (e.g. TGF-β) may be beneficial in certain diseases.

    [0157] Once an expression vector is selected, the minigene is cloned into the polylinker region downstream of the promoter. This plasmid is transformed into an appropriate E. coli strain, and DNA is prepared using standard techniques. The orientation and DNA sequence of the minigene, as well as all other elements included in the vector, are confirmed using restriction mapping and DNA sequence analysis. Bacterial cells harboring the correct plasmid can be stored as a master cell bank and a working cell bank.

    [0158] Therapeutic quantities of plasmid DNA are produced by fermentation in E. coli, followed by purification. Aliquots from the working cell bank are used to inoculate fermentation medium (such as Terrific Broth), and grown to saturation in shaker flasks or a bioreactor according to well known techniques. Plasmid DNA can be purified using standard bioseparation technologies such as solid phase anion-exchange resins supplied by Quiagen. If required, supercoiled DNA can be isolated from the open circular and linear forms using gel electrophoresis or other methods.

    [0159] Purified plasmid DNA can be prepared for injection using a variety of formulations. The simplest of these is reconstitution of lyophilized DNA in sterile phosphate-buffer saline (PBS). A variety of methods have been described, and new techniques may become available. As noted above, nucleic acids are conveniently formulated with cationic lipids. In addition, glyco lipids, fusogenic liposomes, peptides and compounds referred to collectively as protective, interactive, non-condensing (PINC) could also be complexed to purified plasmid DNA to influence variables such as stability, intramuscular dispersion, or trafficking to specific organs or cell types.

    [0160] The nucleic acids can also be administered using ballistic delivery as described, for instance, in U.S. Patent No. 5,204,253. Particles comprised solely of DNA can be administered. Alternatively, DNA can be adhered to particles, such as gold particles.

    [0161] In vivo immunogenicity is a second approach for functional testing of minigene DNA formulations. Transgenic mice expressing appropriate human MHC molecules are immunized with the DNA product. The dose and route of administration are formulation dependent (e.g. IM for DNA in PBS, IP for lipid-complexed DNA). Twenty-one days after immunization, splenocytes are harvested and restimulated for 1 week in the presence of peptides encoding each epitope being tested.

    [0162] An embodiment of a vaccine composition in accordance with the invention comprises ex vivo administration of a cocktail of epitope-bearing peptides to PBMC, or isolated DC therefrom, from the patient's blood. After pulsing the DC with peptides and prior to reinfusion into patients, the DC are washed to remove unbound peptides. In this embodiment, a vaccine comprises peptide-pulsed DCs which present the pulsed peptide epitopes in HLA molecules on their surfaces.

    [0163] Dendritic cells can also be transfected, e.g., with a minigene comprising nucleic acid sequences encoding the epitopes in accordance with the invention, in order to elicit immune responses. Vaccine compositions can be created in vitro, following dendritic cell mobilization and harvesting, whereby loading of dendritic cells occurs in vitro.

    [0164] Transgenic animals of appropriate haplotypes may additionally provide a useful tool in optimizing the in vivo immunogenicity of minigene DNA. In addition, animals such as monkeys having conserved HLA molecules with cross reactivity to CTL epitopes recognized by human MHC molecules can be used to determine human immunogenicity of CTL epitopes (Bertoni, et al., J. Immunol. 161:4447-4455 (1998)).

    [0165] Such in vivo studies are required to address the variables crucial for vaccine development, which are not easily evaluated by in vitro assays, such as route of administration, vaccine formulation, tissue biodistribution, and involvement of primary and secondary lymphoid organs. Because of their simplicity and flexibility, HLA transgenic mice represent an attractive alternative, at least for initial vaccine development studies, compared to more cumbersome and expensive studies in higher animal species, such as nonhuman primates.

    [0166] Antigenic peptides are used to elicit a HTL response ex vivo, as well. The resulting HTL cells, can be used to treat tumors in patients that do not respond to other conventional forms of therapy, or will not respond to a therapeutic vaccine peptide or nucleic acid in accordance with the invention. Ex vivo HTL responses to a particular antigen are induced by incubating in tissue culture the patient's (HTLp), or genetically compatible, HTL precursor cells together with a source of antigen-presenting cells (APC), such as dendritic cells, and the appropriate immunogenic peptide. After an appropriate incubation time (typically about 7-28 days (1-4 weeks)), in which the precursor cells are activated and matured and expanded into effector cells, the cells are infused back into the patient, where they will destroy their specific target cell (an infected cell or a tumor cell). Transfected dendritic cells may also be used as antigen presenting cells. In order to optimize the in vitro conditions for the generation of specific helper T cells, the culture of stimulator cells is maintained in an appropriate serum-free medium.

    [0167] The peptides may also find use as diagnostic reagents. For example, a peptide of the invention may be used to determine the susceptibility of a particular individual to a treatment regimen which employs the peptide or related peptides, and thus may be helpful in modifying an existing treatment protocol or in determining a prognosis for an affected individual. In addition, the peptides may also be used to predict which individuals will be at substantial risk for developing chronic infection.

    [0168] For example, a peptide of the invention may be used in a tetramer staining assay to assess peripheral blood mononuclear cells for the presence of antigen-specific CTLs following exposure to a pathogen or immunogen. The HLA-tetrameric complex is used to directly visualize antigen-specific CTLs (see, e.g., Ogg, et al. Science 279:2103-2106, 1998; and Altman, et al. Science 174:94-96, 1996) and determine the frequency of the antigen-specific CTL population in a sample of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A tetramer reagent using a peptide of the invention may be generated as follows: A peptide that binds to an allele-specific HLA molecule or supertype molecule is refolded in the presence of the corresponding HLA heavy chain and β2-microglobulin to generate a trimolecular complex. The complex is biotinylated at the carboxyl terminal end of the heavy chain at a site that was previously engineered into the protein. Tetramer formation is then induced by the addition of streptavidin. By means of fluorescently labeled streptavidin, the tetramer can be used to stain antigen-specific cells. The cells may then be identified, for example, by flow cytometry. Such an analysis may be used for diagnostic or prognostic purposes. In addition, the peptides may also be used to predict which individuals will be at substantial risk for developing chronic infection.

    EXAMPLES



    [0169] Examples not pertaining to the present invention are for illustrative purposes only.

    Materials and Methods



    [0170] The following materials and methods apply generally to all the examples disclosed herein. Specific materials and methods are disclosed in each example, as necessary.

    [0171] Reagents: Anti-IFN-γ and biotinylated anti- IFN-γ were obtained from Mabtech (Sweden). Phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), human serum albumin (HSA), polyclonal human IgG, tetanus toxin (TT), and ionomycin were from Sigma (St. Louis, MO, USA). Goat anti-human horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-conjugated antibody was obtained from Santa Cruz Biotechnology (Santa Cruz, CA). Hank's balanced salts solution (HBSS), RPMI- 1640 and phosphate-buffered saline were from Cellgro (Hernden, VA, USA). Ficoll-Paque was from Amersham Biosciences (Uppsala, Sweden). All peptides were synthesized by either the Mayo Clinic Protein Chemistry and Proteomics Core or by Epimmune, Inc. (San Diego, CA) and purified to >95% homogeneity by reverse-phase HPLC as previously described (Dzuris JL, Sidney J, Appella E, Chesnut RW, Watkins DI, Sette A. Conserved MHC class I peptide binding motif between humans and rhesus macaques. J Immunol 2000; 164: 283-91). Purity of peptides was determined with reverse-phase HPLC and amino acid analysis, sequencing, and/or mass spectrometry. Lyophilized peptides were resuspended at 20 mg/ml in 100% DMSO and then diluted to required concentrations in PBS.

    [0172] Epitope Prediction: The prediction program used, PIC (Predicted IC50), is a modified linear coefficient, or matrix-based method for predicting peptides with HLA-DR binding capacity. PIC is predicated on the assumption that each residue along a peptide molecule can independently contribute to binding affinity (Sette A, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1989;86: 3296-300; Sette A, et al. J Immunol 1989;142: 35-40). The algorithm yields a predicted IC50 value (designated as PIC) for the corresponding input sequence. Lower PIC values indicate a higher probability of binding to HLA. The program analyzes 15 amino acid long sequences offset by 3 residues encompassing the entire protein.

    [0173] Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Preparation (PBMC): PBMC were isolated from blood as described (Disis ML, et al. Clin Cancer Res 1999;5: 1289-97), and cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen (20 x 106/ml cells) in freezing media (RPMI with 12.5% HSA, penicillin, streptomycin and 2 mM glutamine) (Disis ML et al. J Immunol Methods 2005.).

    [0174] HLA-DR purification. Fifteen distinct HLA-DR molecules were used in quantitative assays to measure the binding of peptides to solubilized HLA-DR molecules. These HLA-DR molecules were chosen to allow balanced population coverage: DRB1*0101, DRB1*1501, DRB1*0301, DRB1*0401, DRB1*0404, DRB1*1101, DRB5*0101, DRB4*0101, DRB3*0101, DRB1*0701, DRB1*0405, DRB1*0802, DRB1*0901, DRB1*1201, and DRB1*1302 (24). MHC molecules utilized were purified from EBV transformed homozygous cell lines or single MHC allele transfected 721.221, C1R, or fibroblast lines. The cell lines were maintained by culture in RPMI-1640 medium supplemented with 2 mM L-glutamine, 100 U (100 µg/ml) penicillin-streptomycin solution, and 10% heat-inactivated FCS. HLA-DR molecules were purified using antibody-based affinity chromatography from cell lysates prepared in 50 mM Tris-HCL, pH 8.5, containing 1% (v/v) NP-40, 150 mM NaCl, 5 mM EDTA, and 2 mM PMSF. Briefly, columns of inactivated Sepharose CL4B and Protein A Sepharose were used as pre-columns. HLA-DR molecules were captured by passage of lysates over LB3.1 monoclonal antibody (anti-HLA-DRA) columns. Antibody columns were washed with 10 mM Tris-HCL, pH8.0 with 1% (v/v) NP-40, followed by PBS containing 0.4% (w/v) n-octylglucoside. MHC molecules were then eluted with 50 mM diethylamine in 0.15 M NaCl containing 0.4% (w/v) n-octylglucoside, pH 11.5. The pH was reduced to 8.0 and the eluates were concentrated by centrifugation in Centriprep 30 concentrators at 2000 rpm (Amicon, Beverly, MA).

    [0175] HLA-DR binding assays: Radioligand binding inhibition assays were used to measure the binding of peptides to soluble HLA-DR molecules based on the inhibition of binding of a radiolabeled standard peptide as described previously (Sidney J, Southwood S, Oseroff C, del Guercio MF, Grey HM, Sette A. Measurement of MHC/peptide interactions by gel filtration. Curr Protocols Immunol 1998;18: 18.3.2-.3.9.). Briefly, 1-10 nM of radiolabeled peptide was co-incubated for 2 days at either room temperature or 37°C with 1 µM to 1 nM purified HLA-DR molecules in the presence of a cocktail of protease inhibitors. Assays were performed at various pH conditions, ranging from pH 4 to pH 7. The final pH of assay mixtures is adjusted using citrate buffer as described elsewhere (Sidney J, Curr Protocols Immunol 1998). After incubation, the percentage of HLA-DR-bound radioactivity is determined by capturing HLA-DR/peptide complexes on Optiplates (Packard Instruments, Meriden, CT) coated with the LB3.1 antibody and determining bound counts per minute using the TopCount microscintillation counter (Packard Instruments). The amount of HLA-DR yielding 10-20% bound radioactivity is used in the inhibition assays in which the concentration of peptide yielding 50% inhibition of the binding of the radiolabeled peptide was calculated. Under the conditions used, the measured IC50 values are reasonable approximations of the true Kd values. Competitor peptides are tested in 2-4 complete, independent experiments, at concentrations ranging from 30 µg/mL to 300 pg/mL. As in previous studies, peptides with affinities for specific HLA-DR molecules of 1000 nM or better are defined as binders for the respective antigens.

    [0176] Enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay. A 10-day ELIspot for detecting low-frequency T cells was used to determine reactivity to the tumor antigen peptides (Table 1) as described (Knutson KL et al. J Clin One 2006;24: 4254-61). A positive response to a peptide was defined as a frequency that was significantly (p < 0.05, two-tailed t test) greater than the mean of control no-antigen wells and detectable (i.e., >1:100,000). PMA/Ionomycin and the CEF pool were used as positive non-tumor related controls as previously described (Knutson, 2006).

    [0177] ELISA. ELISAs were done as previously described (Knutson, 2006). Briefly, 96-well plates were coated with 1 µg/ml IGFBP-2 protein, 200 ng/ml tetanus toxin or 1 µg/ml BSA. Human IgG was added at a concentration range of 200 to 0.2 ng/ml to some wells for standard curve generation. After washing and blocking, human sera were added to the plate at a 1:40 dilution in triplicate and plates were incubated for 2 hr at RT. After washing, 100 µL/well of HRP (Santa Cruz Biotechnology) was diluted 1:2000 and incubated for 1 hr at RT. After a final wash, each well was incubated with 100 µL (tetramethylbenzadine) TMB substrate (BD Bioscience). Color development was stopped with diluted HCL and absorbance was read at 450 nm on a plate reader.

    [0178] The following examples are provided by way of illustration only and not by way of limitation. Those of skill in the art will readily recognize a variety of non-critical parameters that could be changed or modified to yield essentially similar results.

    Example 1


    Identification of conserved HLA Class II- restricted peptides derived from tumor associated antigens using established motif search algorithms



    [0179] To identify epitopes useful for vaccine design, a multidisciplinary approach was used based initially on amino acid motif searching of tumor associated antigen sequences to identify potential HLA Class II motifs (see Table I). This was followed by high throughput synthetic peptide binding assays using purified HLA molecules to determine affinity and breadth of epitope peptide binding.

    [0180] Algorithm motif searches: Motif search algorithms were validated for the most common HLA Class II alleles and were focused on the HLA DRB1*0101, DRB1*1501, DRB1*0301, DRB1*0401, DRB1*0404, DRB1*1101, DRB5*0101, DRB4*0101, DRB3*0101, DRB1*0701, DRB1*0405, DRB1*0802, DRB1*0901, DRB1*1201, and DRB1*1302 supertypes in order to attain virtually 100% population coverage. The selected tumor associated antigen sequences were scanned for motif positive amino acid sequences using the motif definitions.

    [0181] A total of about 150 Class II-restricted peptide sequences were identified that were specific for various DR supertypes (see Table I). Table I lists for each identified DR antigen peptide, the IC50 (nM) for each purified HLA.

    Example 2


    Identification of HTL epitopes for tumor vaccine inclusion



    [0182] Of the peptides listed in Table I, those peptides that bound to at least 4 different HLA with an IC50 of less than 1000 nM were identified and are shown in Table II. The peptide sequences of Table II were further evaluated for their binding capacity to purified MHC molecules. Figures 1 through 4 show those peptides of Table II which were immunogenic (shown in a circle). These HTL peptides are candidates for inclusion into a tumor vaccine.

    [0183] Using predictive algorithms discussed above, candidate HLA-DR1-binding epitopes were identified. Binding assays targeting 15 different HLA-DR molecules revealed that 10 of the epitopes were indiscriminate, binding (IC50 < 1000nM) to at least four different HLA-DR variants. An interferon-gamma ELIspot assay was used to assess immunity to the indiscriminate binding peptides in 48 patients with either breast or ovarian cancer and 18 healthy controls. The results showed that elevated T cell immunity in patients was detected to several peptides (Figures 1-4).

    [0184] Healthy donor and patient samples were obtained. Patients were free from active treatment for at least 30 days when blood (200 ml) was collected. For the T cell studies, the mean (± s.e.m) ages of the healthy donors and patients were 42 ± 11 and 55 ± 2 years, respectively (p<0.0001). Due to sera unavailability, not all of the controls used in the T cell studies were examined for tumor associated antigen antibodies in their sera. However, additional control and patient sera were available for antibody assessment. Additional healthy donor sera was obtained from Bioreclamation (Hicksville, NY).

    [0185] Using an ELIspot assay with a limit of detection of approximately 1:100,000 antigen-specific T cells per million PBMC, patient-derived PBMC were screened for reactivity against all of the HLA-DR binding peptides. The immunogenicity data of several peptides is shown in Figures 1-4.

    Example 3


    Design and development of multi-epitope vaccines



    [0186] Peptides that bound to at least 4 different HLA subtypes as described above, and were shown to be immunogenic, as shown in Figures 1-4, were selected for inclusion in a multi-epitope vaccine. Table III shows the percent of patients that demonstrated positive responses and the binding patterns to specific HLA subtypes of eight vaccine candidates.

    [0187] These example and equivalents thereof will become more apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the present disclosure and the accompanying claims. It should be understood, however, that the examples are designed for the purpose of illustration only and not limiting of the scope of the invention in any way.













    TABLE III Vaccine Candidates
    EPITOPE%DRB1 *0101DRB1 *0301DRB1 *0401DRB1 *0404DRB1 *0405DRB1 *0701DRB1 *0802DRB1 *0901DRB1 *1101DRB1 *1201DRB1 *1302DRB1 *1501DRB3 *0101DRB4 *0101DRB5 *0101
    HER2/NEU.59 15 X   X X X X X   X X X X   X X
    HER2/NEU.885 25 X X X X X   X   X X X X   X X
    CEA.24 17 X   X X X X X   X   X X     X
    CEA.653 25 X   X X X       X   X       X
    IGFBP2.17 19 X   X X     X   X X   X   X  
    IGFBP2.249 23 X   X X X X       X   X      
    CYCLIND1.53 13 X   X X X X   X   X X X   X X
    CYCLIND1.199 13 X   X X   X   X X   X X   X  
    %=Percent of patients with responses

    DISCLOSED ITEMS



    [0188] 
    1. 1. An isolated HLA-DR binding peptide selected from the group consisting of the peptides listed in Table I.
    2. 2. A composition comprising the peptide of item 1.
    3. 3. The composition of item 2, further comprising a second HTL-inducing peptide.
    4. 4. The composition of item 2, further comprising a CTL peptide.
    5. 5. The composition of any one of items 2-4, further comprising a lipid.
    6. 6. The composition of any one of items 2-4, further comprising a liposome.
    7. 7. The composition of item 2, wherein said peptide is linked to a spacer molecule.
    8. 8. The composition of any one of items 2-4, further comprising a carrier.
    9. 9. The composition of any one of items 2-4, further comprising an antigen presenting cell.
    10. 10. An isolated nucleic acid encoding the peptide of item 1.
    11. 11. An isolated nucleic acid encoding the peptide of item 1 and at least one additional peptide or signal sequence.
    12. 12. The isolated nucleic acid of item 11, wherein said at least one additional peptide or signal sequence is a second HTL-inducing peptide.
    13. 13. The isolated nucleic acid of item 11, wherein said at least one additional peptide or signal sequence is a CTL peptide.
    14. 14. An isolated nucleic acid encoding the peptide of item 1 and at least one protein or polypeptide included to enhance or decrease immunogenicity.
    15. 15. A composition comprising the nucleic acid of any one of items 10-14.
    16. 16. The composition of item 15, further comprising a lipid.
    17. 17. The composition of item 15, further comprising a liposome.
    18. 18. The composition of item 15, further comprising a carrier.
    19. 19. A method of preventing or treating cancer comprising administering the peptide of item 1 to a patient.
    20. 20. A method of preventing or treating cancer comprising administering the nucleic acid of any of items 10-14 to a patient.
    21. 21. The use of the peptide of item 1 as a diagnostic reagent to determine treatment, prognosis, or risk of cancer in a patient.
    22. 22. The peptide of item 1 which is selected from the group of peptides listed in Table II.
    23. 23. The peptide of item 1 which is selected from the group of peptides consisting of HER-2/neu p59, HER-2/neu p83, HER-2/neu p88, HER-2/neu p422, HER-2/neu p885, CEA p24, CEA p75, CEA p176, CEA p423, CEA p488, CEA p650, CEA p663, IGFBP-2 p17, IGFBP-2 p22, IGFBP-2 p249, IGFBP-2 p293, Cyclin D1 p3, Cyclin D1 p49, Cyclin D1 p53, Cyclin D1 p98, Cyclin D1 p137, Cyclin D1 p145, Cyclin D1 p174, and Cyclin D1 p199.
    24. 24. An isolated HLA-DR binding peptide less than 30 amino acids in length comprising an epitope selected from the group consisting of those listed in Table I.
    25. 25. An isolated HLA-DR binding peptide less than 30 amino acids in length comprising an epitope selected from the group consisting of those listed in Table II.
    26. 26. The isolated HLA-DR binding peptide of item 24 corresponding to an epitope selected from the group consisting of those listed in Table I.
    27. 27. The isolated HLA-DR binding peptide of item 24 corresponding to an epitope selected from the group consisting of those listed in Table II.
    28. 28. A composition comprising at least one HLA-DR binding peptide thirty residues or less in length, wherein said peptide comprises an HTL epitope selected from any one of the HTL epitopes listed in Table 1, and admixtures thereof.
    29. 29. A composition comprising at least one HLA-DR binding peptide thirty residues or less in length, wherein said peptide comprises an HTL epitope selected from any one of the HTL epitopes listed in Table 2, and admixtures thereof.
    30. 30. The composition of item 28 or 29 comprising at least 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54 or 55 peptides.
    31. 31. The composition of item 29 or 30 comprising at least two Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) HTL peptides, at least two Cyclin D1 HTL peptides, at least two Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) HTL peptides, and at least two Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein 2 (IGFBP-2) HTL peptides, wherein said peptides are selected from the peptides listed in Table 1.
    32. 32. The composition of item 31, wherein said peptides are selected from the peptides listed in Table 2.
    33. 33. The composition of item 31 consisting of two Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) HTL peptides, at least two Cyclin D1 HTL peptides, at least two Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) HTL peptides, and at least two Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein 2 (IGFBP-2) HTL peptides, wherein said peptides are selected from the peptides listed in Table 2.
    34. 34. The composition of item 29 or 30, comprising at least two peptides selected from the group consisting of: HER-2/neu p59, HER-2/neu p83, HER-2/neu p88, HER-2/neu p422, HER-2/neu p885, CEA p24, CEA p75, CEA p176, CEA p423, CEA p488, CEA p650, CEA p663, IGFBP-2 p17, IGFBP-2 p22, IGFBP-2 p249, IGFBP-2 p293, Cyclin D1 p3, Cyclin D1 p49, Cyclin D1 p53, Cyclin D1 p98, Cyclin D1 p137, Cyclin D1 p145, Cyclin D1 p174, and Cyclin D1 p199.
    35. 35. The composition of item 34, comprising at least two Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) HTL peptides, at least two Cyclin D1 HTL peptides, at least two Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) HTL peptides, and at least two Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein 2 (IGFBP-2) HTL peptides.
    36. 36. A isolated polynucleotide selected from the group consisting of a multi-epitope construct comprising between five and fifty-five nucleic acids each encoding an tumor associated antigen (HTL) epitope, wherein the HTL epitope is selected from the group consisting of HER-2/neu p59, HER-2/neu p83, HER-2/neu p88, HER-2/neu p422, HER-2/neu p885, CEA p24, CEA p75, CEA p176, CEA p423, CEA p488, CEA p650, CEA p663, IGFBP-2 p17, IGFBP-2 p22, IGFBP-2 p249, IGFBP-2 p293, Cyclin D1 p3, Cyclin D1 p49, Cyclin D1 p53, Cyclin D1 p98, Cyclin D1 p137, Cyclin D1 p145, Cyclin D1 p174, and Cyclin D1 p199, and wherein the nucleic acids are directly or indirectly joined to one another in the same reading frame.
    37. 37. A isolated polynucleotide selected from the group consisting of:

      (a) a multi-epitope construct comprising between five and fifty-five nucleic acids each encoding an tumor associated antigen (HTL) epitope, wherein the HTL epitope is any one of the epitopes listed in Table 1, and wherein the nucleic acids are directly or indirectly joined to one another in the same reading frame;

      (b) a multi-epitope construct comprising between five and fifty-five nucleic acids each encoding an tumor associated antigen (HTL) epitope, wherein the HTL epitope is any one of the epitopes listed in Table 2, and wherein the nucleic acids are directly or indirectly joined to one another in the same reading frame;

      (c) a multi-epitope construct comprising five and eight nucleic acids each encoding an tumor associated antigen (HTL) epitope, wherein the HTL epitope is any one of the epitopes listed in Table 3, and wherein the nucleic acids are directly or indirectly joined to one another in the same reading frame;

      (d) the multi-epitope construct of (a) to (d), wherein said one or more spacer nucleic acids are positioned between the HTL epitope nucleic acids of (a) or (b) or (c) or (d);

      (e) the multi-epitope construct of (d), wherein said one or more spacer nucleic acids each encode 1 to 8 amino acids;

      (f) the multi-epitope construct of (d) or (e), wherein one or more of said spacer nucleic acid encodes an amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of: an amino acid sequence comprising or consisting of GPGPG (SEQ ID NO:__), an amino acid sequence comprising or consisting of PGPGP (SEQ ID NO:_), an amino acid sequence comprising or consisting of (GP)n, an amino acid sequence comprising or consisting of (PG)n, an amino acid sequence comprising or consisting of (GP)nG, and an amino acid sequence comprising or consisting of (PG)nP, where n is an integer between zero and eleven;

      (g) the multi-epitope construct of any of (a) to (f), further comprising one or more MHC Class II targeting nucleic acids;

      (h) the multi-epitope construct of (g), wherein said one or more targeting nucleic acids encode one or more targeting sequences selected from the group consisting of : an Ig kappa signal sequence, a tissue plasminogen activator signal sequence, an insulin signal sequence, an endoplasmic reticulum signal sequence, a LAMP-1 lysosomal targeting sequence, a LAMP-2 lysosomal targeting sequence, an HLA-DM lysosomal targeting sequence, an HLA-DM-association sequence of HLA-DO, an Ig-a cytoplasmic domain, Ig-ss cytoplasmic domain, a li protein, an influenza matrix protein, an HCV antigen, and a yeast Ty protein;

      (i) the multi-epitope construct of any of (a) to (h), which is optimized for HTL epitope processing;

      (j) the multi-epitope construct of any of (a) to (i), wherein said HTL nucleic acids are sorted to minimize the number of HTL junctional epitopes encoded therein;

      (k) the multi-epitope construct of any of (a) to (j), wherein said multi-epitope construct comprises at least two Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) HTL epitopes, at least two Cyclin D1 HTL epitopes, at least two Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) HTL epitopes, and at least two Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein 2 (IGFBP-2) HTL epitopes.

      (1) the multi-epitope construct of (k), wherein at least two Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) HTL epitopes, at least two Cyclin D1 HTL epitopes, at least two Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) HTL epitopes, and at least two Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein 2 (IGFBP-2) HTL epitopes are selected from the epitopes listed in Table 2.

      (k) the multi-epitope construct of any of (a) to (j), wherein said multi-epitope construct consists of the epitopes listed in Table 3.


    SEQUENCE LISTING



    [0189] 

    <110> MAYO FOUNDATION FOR MEDICAL EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

    <120> HLA-DR BINDING PEPTIDES AND THEIR USES

    <130> 116-091T1

    <140>
    <141> 2008-10-30

    <150> EP 08 843 542.5
    <151> 2008-10-30

    <150> PCT/US2008/081799
    <151> 2008-10-30

    <150> 60/984,646
    <151> 2007-11-01

    <160> 198

    <170> PatentIn version 3.5

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    <211> 13
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <220>
    <221> MOD_RES
    <222> (1)..(1)
    <223> Ala or D-Ala

    <220>
    <221> MOD_RES
    <222> (3)..(3)
    <223> cyclohexylalanine, Phe or Tyr

    <220>
    <221> MOD_RES
    <222> (13)..(13)
    <223> Ala or D-Ala

    <400> 4

    <210> 5
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 5

    <210> 6
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 6

    <210> 7
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 7

    <210> 8
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 8

    <210> 9
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 9

    <210> 10
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 10

    <210> 11
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 11

    <210> 12
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 12

    <210> 13
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 13

    <210> 14
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 14

    <210> 15
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 15

    <210> 16
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 16

    <210> 17
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 17

    <210> 18
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 18

    <210> 19
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 19

    <210> 20
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 20

    <210> 21
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 21

    <210> 22
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 22

    <210> 23
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 23

    <210> 24
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 24

    <210> 25
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 25

    <210> 26
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 26

    <210> 27
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 27

    <210> 28
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 28

    <210> 29
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 29

    <210> 30
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 30

    <210> 31
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 31

    <210> 32
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 32

    <210> 33
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 33

    <210> 34
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 34

    <210> 35
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 35

    <210> 36
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 36

    <210> 37
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 37

    <210> 38
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 38

    <210> 39
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 39

    <210> 40
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 40

    <210> 41
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 41

    <210> 42
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 42

    <210> 43
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 43

    <210> 44
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 44

    <210> 45
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 45

    <210> 46
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 46

    <210> 47
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 47

    <210> 48
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 48

    <210> 49
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 49

    <210> 50
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 50

    <210> 51
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 51

    <210> 52
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 52

    <210> 53
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 53

    <210> 54
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 54

    <210> 55
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 55

    <210> 56
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 56

    <210> 57
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 57

    <210> 58
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 58

    <210> 59
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 59

    <210> 60
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 60

    <210> 61
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 61

    <210> 62
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 62

    <210> 63
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 63

    <210> 64
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 64

    <210> 65
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 65

    <210> 66
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 66

    <210> 67
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 67

    <210> 68
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 68

    <210> 69
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 69

    <210> 70
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 70

    <210> 71
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 71

    <210> 72
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 72

    <210> 73
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 73

    <210> 74
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 74

    <210> 75
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 75

    <210> 76
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 76

    <210> 77
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 77

    <210> 78
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 78

    <210> 79
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 79

    <210> 80
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 80

    <210> 81
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 81

    <210> 82
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 82

    <210> 83
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 83

    <210> 84
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 84

    <210> 85
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 85

    <210> 86
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 86

    <210> 87
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 87

    <210> 88
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 88

    <210> 89
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 89

    <210> 90
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 90

    <210> 91
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 91

    <210> 92
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 92

    <210> 93
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 93

    <210> 94
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 94

    <210> 95
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 95

    <210> 96
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 96

    <210> 97
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 97

    <210> 98
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 98

    <210> 99
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 99

    <210> 100
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 100

    <210> 101
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 101

    <210> 102
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 102

    <210> 103
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 103

    <210> 104
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 104

    <210> 105
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 105

    <210> 106
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 106

    <210> 107
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 107

    <210> 108
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 108

    <210> 109
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 109

    <210> 110
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 110

    <210> 111
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 111

    <210> 112
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 112

    <210> 113
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 113

    <210> 114
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 114

    <210> 115
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 115

    <210> 116
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 116

    <210> 117
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 117

    <210> 118
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 118

    <210> 119
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 119

    <210> 120
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 120

    <210> 121
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 121

    <210> 122
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 122

    <210> 123
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 123

    <210> 124
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 124

    <210> 125
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 125

    <210> 126
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 126

    <210> 127
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 127

    <210> 128
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 128

    <210> 129
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 129

    <210> 130
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 130

    <210> 131
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 131

    <210> 132
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 132

    <210> 133
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 133

    <210> 134
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 134

    <210> 135
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 135

    <210> 136
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 136

    <210> 137
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 137

    <210> 138
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 138

    <210> 139
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 139

    <210> 140
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 140

    <210> 141
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

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    <210> 142
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 142

    <210> 143
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 143

    <210> 144
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 144

    <210> 145
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 145

    <210> 146
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 146

    <210> 147
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 147

    <210> 148
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 148

    <210> 149
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 149

    <210> 150
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 150

    <210> 151
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 151

    <210> 152
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

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    <210> 153
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 153

    <210> 154
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 154

    <210> 155
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 155

    <210> 156
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 156

    <210> 157
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 157

    <210> 158
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

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    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 158

    <210> 159
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 159

    <210> 160
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 160

    <210> 161
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 161

    <210> 162
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 162

    <210> 163
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 163

    <210> 164
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 164

    <210> 165
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 165

    <210> 166
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 166

    <210> 167
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 167

    <210> 168
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 168

    <210> 169
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 169

    <210> 170
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 170

    <210> 171
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 171

    <210> 172
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 172

    <210> 173
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 173

    <210> 174
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 174

    <210> 175
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 175

    <210> 176
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 176

    <210> 177
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 177

    <210> 178
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 178

    <210> 179
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 179

    <210> 180
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 180

    <210> 181
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    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 181

    <210> 182
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    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 182

    <210> 183
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 183

    <210> 184
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 184

    <210> 185
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 185

    <210> 186
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 186

    <210> 187
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 187

    <210> 188
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 188

    <210> 189
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 189

    <210> 190
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 190

    <210> 191
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 191

    <210> 192
    <211> 15
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 192

    <210> 193
    <211> 5
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 193

    <210> 194
    <211> 5
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <400> 194

    <210> 195
    <211> 22
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <220>
    <223> This sequence may encompass 0-11 "Gly Pro" repeating units

    <400> 195

    <210> 196
    <211> 22
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <220>
    <223> This sequence may encompass 0-11 "Pro Gly" repeating units

    <400> 196

    <210> 197
    <211> 23
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <220>
    <221> MOD_RES
    <222> (1)..(22)
    <223> This region may encompass 0-11 "Gly Pro" repeating units

    <400> 197

    <210> 198
    <211> 23
    <212> PRT
    <213> Artificial Sequence

    <220>
    <223> Description of Artificial Sequence: Synthetic peptide

    <220>
    <221> MOD_RES
    <222> (1)..(22)
    <223> This region may encompass 0-11 "Pro Gly" repeating units

    <400> 198






    Claims

    1. A composition comprising the isolated HLA-DR binding peptide of the sequence PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO:145), wherein the peptide is lipidated, and further comprising one or more additional HLA-DR binding peptides selected from the group consisting of NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID NO:86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID NO:89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID NO:90), and LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID NO:109), wherein the one or more additional peptides are lipidated.
     
    2. The composition of claim 1, comprising the isolated HLA-DR binding peptide of the sequence PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO:145), wherein the peptide is lipidated, and further comprising two or more additional HLA-DR binding peptides selected from the group consisting of NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID NO:86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID NO:89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID NO:90), and LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID NO:109), wherein two or more additional peptides are lipidated.
     
    3. The composition of claim 1, comprising the isolated HLA-DR binding peptide of the sequence PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO:145), wherein the peptide is lipidated, and further comprising three or more additional HLA-DR binding peptides selected from the group consisting of NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID NO:86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID NO:89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID NO:90), and LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID NO:109), wherein the three or more additional peptides are lipidated.
     
    4. The composition of claim 1, comprising PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO:145), NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID NO:86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID NO:89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID NO:90), and LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID NO:109), wherein each peptide is lipidated.
     
    5. The composition of any one of claims 1-4, further comprising an additional HTL-inducing peptide, a CTL peptide, a lipid, a liposome, a carrier, or an adjuvant.
     
    6. The composition of claim 5, wherein the additional HTL-inducing peptide or CTL peptide is lipidated.
     
    7. The composition of any one of claims 1-6, wherein any of said peptides is linked to a spacer molecule.
     
    8. The composition of any one of claims 1-7, further comprising an antigen presenting cell.
     
    9. The composition of any one of claims 1-8 for use in preventing or treating cancer in a patient.
     
    10. The composition of any one of claims 1-8 for use in inducing a helper T cell response against Her2/neu.
     
    11. The composition for use according to claim 9 or claim 10, wherein the peptide(s) in the composition are in the context of an HLA DR supertype molecule, optionally wherein the peptide(s) are contacted in vitro or in vivo with a dendritic cell, a helper T lymphocyte, or a cytotoxic T lymphocyte.
     
    12. The composition for use according to claim 9 or claim 10, wherein the composition is for ex vivo incubation with antigen-presenting cells.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Eine Zusammensetzung, umfassend das isolierte HLA-DR-Bindepeptid der Sequenz PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO:145), wobei das Peptid lipidiert ist, und ferner umfassend ein oder mehr zusätzliche HLA-DR-Bindepeptide ausgewählt aus der Gruppe bestehend aus NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID NO:86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID NO:89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID NO:90) und LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID NO:109), wobei die ein oder mehr zusätzlichen Peptide lipidiert sind.
     
    2. Die Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 1, umfassend das isolierte HLA-DR-Bindepeptid der Sequenz PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO:145), wobei das Peptid lipidiert ist, und ferner umfassend zwei oder mehr zusätzliche HLA-DR-Bindepeptide ausgewählt aus der Gruppe bestehend aus NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID NO:86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID NO:89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID NO:90), und LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID NO:109), wobei die zwei oder mehr zusätzlichen Peptide lipidiert sind.
     
    3. Die Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 1, umfassend das isolierte HLA-DR-Bindepeptid der Sequenz PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO:145), wobei das Peptid lipidiert ist, und ferner umfassend drei oder mehr zusätzliche HLA-DR-Bindepeptide ausgewählt aus der Gruppe bestehend aus NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID NO:86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID NO:89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID NO:90), und LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID NO:109), wobei die drei oder mehr zusätzlichen Peptide lipidiert sind.
     
    4. Die Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 1, umfassend PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO:145), NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID NO:86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID NO:89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID NO:90), und LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID NO:109), wobei jedes Peptid lipidiert ist.
     
    5. Die Zusammensetzung nach einem der Ansprüche 1-4, ferner umfassend ein zusätzliches HTL induzierendes Peptid, ein CTL Peptid, ein Lipid, ein Liposom, einen Trägerstoff oder ein Adjuvans.
     
    6. Die Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 5, wobei das zusätzliche HTL induzierende Peptid oder CTL Peptid lipidiert ist.
     
    7. Die Zusammensetzung nach einem der Ansprüche 1-6, wobei eines jener Peptide mit einem Spacermolekül verbunden ist.
     
    8. Die Zusammensetzung nach einem der Ansprüche 1-7, ferner umfassend eine Antigen präsentierende Zelle.
     
    9. Die Zusammensetzung nach einem der Ansprüche 1-8 zur Verwendung bei der Vorbeugung oder Behandlung von Krebs in einem Patienten.
     
    10. Die Zusammensetzung nach einem der Ansprüche 1-8 zur Verwendung bei der Induzierung einer T-Helfer-Zellen-Antwort gegen Her2/neu.
     
    11. Die Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 9 oder Anspruch 10, wobei das Peptid/ die Peptide in der Zusammensetzung im Kontext eines HLA-DR Supertypmoleküls ist/ sind, optional wobei das Peptid/ die Peptide in vitro oder in vivo mit einer dendritischen Zelle, einem Helfer-T-Lymphozyten oder einem zytotoxischen T-Lymphozyten in Kontakt gebracht werden.
     
    12. Die Zusammensetzung zur Verwendung nach Anspruch 9 oder Anspruch 10, wobei die Zusammensetzung für die ex vivo Inkubation mit Antigen präsentierenden Zellen ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Composition comprenant le peptide de liaison à HLA-DR isolé de la séquence PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID N° : 145), dans laquelle le peptide est lipidé, et comprenant en outre un ou plusieurs peptides de liaison à HLA-DR supplémentaires sélectionnés à partir du groupe constitué par NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID N° : 86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID N° : 89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID N° : 90) et LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID N° : 109), dans laquelle les un ou plusieurs peptides supplémentaires sont lipidés.
     
    2. Composition selon la revendication 1, comprenant le peptide de liaison à HLA-DR isolé de la séquence PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID N° : 145), dans laquelle le peptide est lipidé, et comprenant en outre deux peptides de liaison à HLA-DR supplémentaires ou plus sélectionnés à partir du groupe constitué par NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID N° : 86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID N° : 89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID N° : 90) et LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID N° : 109), dans laquelle deux peptides supplémentaires ou plus sont lipidés.
     
    3. Composition selon la revendication 1, comprenant le peptide de liaison à HLA-DR isolé de la séquence PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID N° : 145), dans laquelle le peptide est lipidé, et comprenant en outre trois peptides de liaison à HLA-DR supplémentaires ou plus sélectionnés à partir du groupe constitué par NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID N° : 86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID N° : 89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID N° : 90) et LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID N° : 109), dans laquelle les trois peptides supplémentaires ou plus sont lipidés.
     
    4. Composition selon la revendication 1, comprenant PIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID N° : 145), NLELTYLPTNASLSF (SEQ ID N° : 86), YVLIAHNQVRQVPLQ (SEQ ID N° : 89), HNQVRQVPLQRLRIV (SEQ ID N° : 90) et LSVFQNLQVIRGRIL (SEQ ID N° : 109), dans laquelle chaque peptide est lipidé.
     
    5. Composition selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, comprenant en outre un peptide induisant des HTL supplémentaire, un peptide CTL, un lipide, un liposome, un véhicule ou un adjuvant.
     
    6. Composition selon la revendication 5, dans laquelle le peptide induisant des HTL supplémentaire ou le peptide CTL est lipidé.
     
    7. Composition selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans laquelle l'un quelconque desdits peptides est lié à une molécule d'espacement.
     
    8. Composition selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, comprenant en outre une cellule présentatrice d'antigène.
     
    9. Composition selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8 pour une utilisation dans la prévention ou le traitement d'un cancer chez un patient.
     
    10. Composition selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8 pour une utilisation dans l'induction d'une réponse des lymphocytes T auxiliaires contre Her2/neu.
     
    11. Composition pour une utilisation selon la revendication 9 ou la revendication 10, dans laquelle le(s) peptide(s) dans la composition est/sont dans le contexte d'une molécule de super-type HLA-DR, facultativement dans laquelle le(s) peptide(s) est/sont mis en contact in vitro ou in vivo avec une cellule dendritique, un lymphocyte T auxiliaire ou un lymphocyte T cytotoxique.
     
    12. Composition pour une utilisation selon la revendication 9 ou la revendication 10, dans laquelle la composition est pour une incubation ex vivo avec des cellules présentatrices d'antigène.
     




    Drawing























    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description




    Non-patent literature cited in the description