The metabolic enzyme arginase-2 is a potential target for novel immune modulatory vaccines

Stine Emilie Weis-Banke, Mie Linder Hübbe, Morten Orebo Holmström, Mia Aaboe Jørgensen, Simone Kloch Bendtsen, Evelina Martinenaite, Marco Carretta, Inge Marie Svane, Niels Ødum, Ayako Wakatsuki Pedersen, Özcan Met, Daniel Hargbøl Madsen, Mads Hald Andersen


One way that tumors evade immune destruction is through tumor and stromal cell expression of arginine-degrading enzyme arginase-2 (ARG2). Here we describe the existence of pro-inflammatory effector T-cells that recognize ARG2 and can directly target tumor and tumor-infiltrating cells. Using a library of 34 peptides covering the entire ARG2 sequence, we examined reactivity toward these peptides in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from cancer patients and healthy individuals. Interferon-γ ELISPOT revealed frequent immune responses against several of the peptides, indicating that ARG2-specific self-reactive T-cells are natural components of the human T-cell repertoire. Based on this, the most immunogenic ARG2 protein region was further characterized. By identifying conditions in the microenvironment that induce ARG2 expression in myeloid cells, we showed that ARG2-specific CD4T-cells isolated and expanded from a peripheral pool from a prostate cancer patient could recognize target cells in an ARG2-dependent manner. In the 'cold' in vivo tumor model Lewis lung carcinoma, we found that activation of ARG2-specific T-cells by vaccination significantly inhibited tumor growth. Immune-modulatory vaccines targeting ARG2 thus are a candidate strategy for cancer immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1771142
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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