Mouse embryo cells (C57BL/6, H-2b) transformed by the E1A and E1B genes of adenovirus type 5 (Ad5E1 MEC) are highly immunogenic. Previously, CTL were cloned from mice immunized with Ad5E1 MEC. These CTL clones were capable of tumor eradication in nude mice, and were directed against the Ad5E1A-encoded decapeptide SGPSNTPPEI, presented by the H-2Db MHC molecule. We have now generated Ad5E1 MEC containing a mutated Ad5E1A-encoded epitope. The mutant Ad5E1 MEC induce a strong CTL response when injected into immunocompetent mice. CTL clones generated against mutant Ad5E1-transformed tumor cells recognize an Ad5E1B-encoded epitope (VNIRNCCYI) in the context of H-2Db. Because this epitope is also present on wild-type Ad5E1 MEC, it is concluded that Ad5E1-transformed tumor cells express at least two CTL epitopes. Interestingly, the lysis of Ad5E1 MEC by the Ad5E1B-specific, but not by the Ad5E1A-specific, CTL clones was strongly diminished by the action of the activated ras oncogene. CTL directed against the Ad5E1B-encoded epitope were, like Ad5E1A-specific CTL, able to eradicate large established Ad5E1-induced tumors in B6 nude mice, demonstrating that CTL activity directed against different CTL epitopes expressed by the same tumor can be exploited for immunotherapy of cancer.

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