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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Heat shock protein 70: role in antigen presentation and immune stimulation.

Heat shock proteins (HSP) when released into the extracellular milieu can act simultaneously as a source of antigen due to their ability to chaperone peptides and as a maturation signal for dendritic cells, thereby inducing DCs to cross-present antigens to CD8+ T-cells. HSP can also act independently from associated peptides, stimulating the innate immune system. Previous results regarding the activation of NK cells by HSP70 cell surface expression on tumour cells and soluble HSP70 will be further covered elsewhere within this issue. For cross-presentation, HSP70-peptide complexes (HSP70-PC) were used from two human melanoma cell lines that differ in the expression of the tumour- associated antigen tyrosinase. Purified HSP70-PC consists of both the constitutively expressed HSC70 and the inducible HSP70. HSP70-peptide complexes purified from tyrosinase positive (HSP70-PC/tyr+) human melanoma cells, incubated with immature DCs, results in the activation of HLA-*A0201-restricted tyrosinase peptide-specific T-cells. Receptor-mediated uptake of HSP70-PC by DCs and intracellular transport are required for efficient MHC class I restricted cross-presentation of chaperoned peptides. Demonstration of HSP70-PC mediated cross-presentation of such non-mutated naturally expressed tumour antigens is of special clinical interest with regard to hyperthermia. Tumour regression and improved local control have been shown within clinical phase II/III trials integrating regional hyperthermia combined with radiation and/or chemotherapy in multimodal treatment strategies. According to the proposed concept, local necrosis induced by hyperthermic treatment induces the release of HSPs, followed by uptake, processing and presentation of associated peptides by DCs. By acting as chaperone and a signal for DC maturation, HSP70-PC might efficiently prime circulating T-cells. Therefore, upregulating HSP70 and causing local necrosis in tumour tissue by hyperthermia offers great potential as a new approach to directly activate the immune system.[1]


  1. Heat shock protein 70: role in antigen presentation and immune stimulation. Milani, V., Noessner, E., Ghose, S., Kuppner, M., Ahrens, B., Scharner, A., Gastpar, R., Issels, R.D. International journal of hyperthermia : the official journal of European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology, North American Hyperthermia Group. (2002) [Pubmed]
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