Saupe F, Huijbers EJ, Hein T, Femel J, Cedervall J, Olsson AK, Hellman L
FASEB J. 29 (8) 3253-3262 [2015-08-00; online 2015-04-13]
We recently showed that it is possible to compromise tumor vessel function and, as a consequence, suppress growth of aggressive preclinical tumors by immunizing against the tumor vascular markers extra domain-A (ED-A) or -B (ED-B) of fibronectin, using a fusion protein consisting of the ED-A or ED-B peptide fused to bacterial thioredoxin. To address the mechanism behind fusion protein-induced immunization and the specific contribution of the different vaccine constituents to elicit an anti-self-antibody response, we immunized mice with modified or unmodified self-antigens, combined with different adjuvant components, and analyzed antibody responses by ELISA in sera. Several essential requirements to circumvent tolerance were identified: (1) a potent pattern recognition receptor agonist like an oligonucleotide containing unmethylated cytosine and guanine dinucleotides (CpG); (2) a depot adjuvant to keep the CpG at the site of injection; and (3) the presence of foreign sequences in the vaccine protein. Lack of either of these factors abolished the anti-self-response (P = 0.008). In mice genetically deficient for type I IFN signaling, there was a 60% reduction in the anti-self-response compared with wild-type (P = 0.011), demonstrating a key role of this pathway in CpG-induced circumvention of self-tolerance. Identification of these mechanistic requirements to generate a potent anti-self-immune response should significantly aid the design of efficient, specific, and safe therapeutic cancer vaccines.