Title:
Methods and compositions for inducing an immune response
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This application relates generally to enhancing immune responses. Such immune responses may be elicited by vaccine administration. Compositions and methods for inducing or enhancing an immune response to an antigen are provided. The compositions and methods are useful for vaccine formulations for therapeutic and prophylactic use (immunization) and for production of antibodies.



Inventors:
Schall, Thomas J. (Menlo Park, CA, US)
Miao, Zhenhua (San Jose, CA, US)
Berkowitz, Robert (Berkeley, CA, US)
Wei, Zheng (Redwood City, CA, US)
Howard, Maureen (Los Altos Hills, CA, US)
Premack, Brett (San Carlos, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/141508
Publication Date:
11/20/2003
Filing Date:
05/07/2002
Assignee:
SCHALL THOMAS J.
MIAO ZHENHUA
BERKOWITZ ROBERT
WEI ZHENG
HOWARD MAUREEN
PREMACK BRETT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
C12N15/09; A61K9/127; A61K38/00; A61K39/00; A61K39/02; A61K39/145; A61K39/29; A61K39/39; A61K47/04; A61K47/10; A61K47/34; A61K47/36; A61K47/46; A61K47/48; A61K48/00; A61P31/04; A61P31/14; A61P31/16; A61P35/00; A61P37/04; A61P43/00; C07K7/00; C07K14/00; A61K35/12; (IPC1-7): A61K39/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GRASER, JENNIFER E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Barnes & Thornburg LLP (ChemoCentryx) (Raleigh, NC, US)
Claims:
1. A method for eliciting an immune response to an antigen in a subject comprising: administering at least one polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence having at least 80% sequence identity to a sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13 or fragment thereof; and at least one antigen.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the immune response is an antibody-mediated immune response.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the administering increases the titer of antigen-specific antibodies in the subject by at least two-fold.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the immune response is a cell-mediated immune response.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the polypeptide attracts a dendritic cell.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the polypeptide attracts an immature dendritic cell.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide and antigen are co-administered.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide and antigen are administered separately.

9. The method of claim 1, comprising administering at least two of the polypeptides selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide has at least 85% sequence identity to a peptide sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide has at least 90% sequence identity to a peptide sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide has at least 95% sequence identity to a peptide sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide has at least 99% sequence identity to a peptide sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide comprises a peptide sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13.

15. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide comprises SEQ ID NO:4.

16. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide is SEQ ID NO:4.

17. The method of claim 1, wherein the polypeptide is formulated in a sustained release pharmaceutical composition.

18. The method of claim 1, wherein the antigen is a polypeptide from a pathogen.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the pathogen is Hepatitis or Influenza.

20. The method of claim 1, wherein the antigen is a tumor antigen.

21. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering further comprises administering an adjuvant.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the adjuvant is selected from the group consisting of alum, incomplete Freund's adjuvant, a bacterial capsular polysaccharide, dextran, IL-12, GM-CSF, CD40 ligand, IFN-γ, IL-1, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, IL-18 and a cytokine, or fragments thereof.

23. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering further comprises administering a multivalent carrier.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the multivalent carrier is linked to the polypeptide, the antigen or an adjuvant.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein the multivalent carrier is selected from the group consisting of a bacterial capsular polysaccharide, a dextran and a polynucleotide vector.

26. The method of claim 25, wherein the bacterial capsular polysaccharide is a Pneumococci, Streptococci or Meningococci polysaccharide.

27. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering further comprises administering a pharmaceutical carrier.

28. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering further comprises administering into a solid tumor.

29. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering further comprises administering into tissue surrounding a solid tumor.

30. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering is injecting, inhaling, or oral.

31. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering is administering at least two administrations.

32. The method of claim 31, wherein the administrations are at the same site.

33. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering is at a site removed from a target site of the polypeptide delivery.

34. The method of claim 33, wherein the administering further comprises administering a liposome comprising the polypeptide.

35. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering the polypeptide comprises administering a polynucleotide encoding the polypeptide.

36. The method of claim 1, wherein the administering the antigen comprises administering a polynucleotide encoding the antigen.

37. The method of claim 1, wherein the subject is human.

38. A composition comprising at least one polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence having at least 80% sequence identity to an amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13, or fragment thereof; and at least one antigen.

39. The composition of claim 38, wherein the polypeptide is purified.

40. The composition of claim 38, comprising at least two polypeptides having an amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 and 13, or fragments thereof.

41. The composition of claim 38, wherein the polypeptide is in a sustained release formulation.

42. The composition of claim 38, further comprising a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.

43. The composition of claim 42, wherein the pharmaceutically acceptable carrier is an adjuvant.

44. The composition of claim 42, wherein the pharmaceutically acceptable carrier is selected from the group consisting of water, oil, saline, aqueous dextrose and glycerol.

45. A composition comprising a cell exogenously expressing at least one sequence having at least 80% sequence identity to a nucleic acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:7-12 and 14, or fragment thereof.

46. The composition of claim 45, wherein the cell is allogeneic.

47. The composition of claim 45, wherein the cell is autologous.

48. The composition of claim 45, further comprising a tumor-associated antigen.

49. The composition of claim 45, wherein the cell is a cancer cell.

50. The composition of claim 49, wherein the cancer cell is from a cancer cell line.

51. The composition of claim 50, wherein the cancer cell line is a human ovarian cancer cell line or a human brain cancer cell line.

52. The composition of claim 50, further comprising a tumor-associated antigen.

53. The immunogenic composition of claim 52, wherein the tumor-associated antigen is obtained from an autologous cell.

54. A composition, comprising: at least one tumor cell; and at least one cell exogenously expressing at least one sequence having at least 80% sequence identity to a nucleic acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:7-12 and 14, or fragment thereof.

55. The composition of claim 54, wherein the tumor cell is a primary tumor cell.

56. The composition of claim 54, wherein the tumor cell is autologous.

57. The composition of claim 54, wherein the tumor cell is a glioma, glioblastoma, gliosarcoma, astrocytoma, melanoma, breast cancer cell or an ovarian cancer cell.

58. The composition of claim 54, wherein the tumor cell is a cancer cell.

59. The composition of claim 54, wherein the cell exogenously expressing a SHAAGtide is an allogenic cell.

60. The composition of claim 54, wherein the cell exogenously expressing the polynucleotide is quiescent.

61. A kit comprising: a pharmaceutical composition comprising at lease one polypeptide having at least 80% sequence identity to an amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS: 1-6 and 13, or a fragment thereof, and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier; and a syringe.

62. A kit comprising: a pharmaceutical composition comprising at lease one polynucleotide having at least 80% sequence identity to a nucleic acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS:7-12 and 14, or a fragment thereof, and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier; and a syringe.

63. The method of claim 1, wherein the antigen is an allergen.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to compositions and methods relating to enhancing or modulating immune responses, such as those elicited by vaccination. The compositions and methods are useful for, among other things, vaccine formulation for therapeutic and prophylactic vaccination (immunization) and for production of useful antibodies (e.g., monoclonal antibodies, for therapeutic or diagnostic use).

BACKGROUND

[0002] In 1979, the World Health Organization announced that small pox had been vanquished—almost 200 years after the first small pox vaccination (puss from a cow pox-infected milkmaid) had been administered to a young boy, James Phipps. His life was spared from small pox infection because Edward Jenner had discovered that milkmaids that had contracted cow pox rarely catch small pox. The success of such a risky procedure was due to the molecular similarity of cow pox to small pox. Phipps' immune system could immediately mount a specific response upon the introduction of small pox, quickly disposing of the invaders.

[0003] Since then, many vaccines have been developed to prevent infection from a wide variety of agents, such as infectious microorganisms (bacteria and viruses), toxins, and even tumors. Despite significant advances since the 1790s, many infectious agents are free to prey on susceptible individuals because no effective vaccines exist. A glaring example, now having devastating quality-of-life and economic effects in many parts of the world is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the cases where vaccines do exist, they often are not available to those people and countries which lack access to funds, technical expertise and labor for multiple administrations. Any reduction in necessary resources, such as the number of required administrations to afford protection, would facilitate vaccination (immunization) of greater numbers of individuals.

[0004] Vaccination exploits the immune system, which comprises leukocytes (white blood cells (WBCs): T and B lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils, and neutrophils), lymphoid tissues and lymphoid vessels. To combat infection, B and T lymphocytes circulate throughout the body, interact with antigen-presenting cells and detect pathogens. Once an invader is detected, cytotoxic T cells or antibody-secreting B cells specific for the foreign agent are recruited to the infection site to destroy it. The concept of vaccination is to generate the same types of host-protective immune responses without exposing the individual to the pathology-inducing foreign agent (such as a pathogen or tumor). Such immune responses may be, for example, cell-mediated and/or antibody based.

[0005] Key player in the adaptive immune response to foreign invaders are the antigen presenting cells (APCs), such as macrophages, activated B cells and dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are especially important in the immune response. Immature or resting dendritic cells reside in epithelial layers, phagocytosing foreign material (called antigens). These dendritic cells become activated by tumor necrosis factor (TNF) secreted by nearby macrophages that have been stimulated by the foreign material. These activated dendritic cells, laden with foreign antigens, travel through the lymphatic system to the nearest lymph node. There, resting naïve (unexposed to antigen) T cells whose antigen-specific receptors recognize the foreign antigen are activated, and the immune system is triggered into action.

[0006] While vaccination can be accomplished with attenuated or dead infectious agents, the safest vaccinations are those that provoke an immune response to a subset of isolated antigens or epitopes, expressed by the foreign agent. However, many such antigens are by themselves are weakly immunogenic or incompetent for instigating a strong immune response. To enhance the effectiveness of such antigens, adjuvants are often added to vaccine compositions. Examples of adjuvants include oil emulsions of dead mycobacteria (Freund's complete), other dead bacteria (e.g., B. pertussis), bacterial polysaccharides, bacterial heat-shock proteins or bacterial DNA. While effective, many of these adjuvants cause significant inflammation and are not suitable for human administration.

[0007] Present immunization methods are not effective for all antigens, for all individuals, or for eliciting all forms of protective immunity. In addition, the number of useful adjuvants is small and directed mainly to antibody-related immunity and not to cell-mediated immunity. Moreover, there is a considerable lag time from immunization until the immune system provides protection for the subject. Improved vaccine compositions and/or effective safe adjuvants capable of inducing cell-mediated responses as well as antibody, would greatly aid current vaccination efforts.

SUMMARY

[0008] In one aspect, the invention provides methods for eliciting an immune response to an antigen in a subject, such as in a human, wherein a polypeptide with at least a part of a sequence of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 or 13 (“SHAAGtides”) is administered with an antigen to a subject. Such immune response may be antibody mediated, and upon administration, the titer of antigen-specific antibodies increases at least two-fold. In other aspects, the immune response is cell-mediated and the polypeptide having at least a portion of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 or 13 attracts and/or activates various leukocytes, including dendritic cells.

[0009] In another aspect, the invention provides methods of eliciting an immune response by co-administering a polypeptide having at least a portion of the sequence SEQ ID NOS:1-6 or 13 with an antigen; in other aspects, the antigen and polypeptide may be administered separately. In yet other aspects, more than one polypeptide of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 or 13 may be administered, either separately or as concatamers or fusion proteins. In all cases, variants of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 or 13 may be used. Likewise, in other aspects, the polypeptides having at least a portion of SEQ ID NOS:1-6 or 13 may be administered as polynucleotides (SEQ ID NOS:7-12 or 14) operably-linked such that they are expressed by the subject upon or after administration. Likewise, antigens may also be administered as polynucleotides that are expressed after administration.

[0010] In another aspect, the administered antigen is a polypeptide from a pathogen, such as Hepatitis, Influenza, tumor antigens or allergens.

[0011] The methods also provide the use of compositions containing the various SHAAGtide sequences incorporated into sustained release formulations. In yet other aspects, the methods also provide for the use of adjuvants in the administered compositioins. Such adjuvants include alum, incomplete Freund's adjuvant, a bacterial capsular polysaccharide, bacterial DNA, dextran, IL-12, GM-CSF, CD40 ligand, IFN-γ, IL-1, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, IL-18 or a cytokine, or fragments thereof.

[0012] The methods of the invention also provide for the administration of multivalent carriers with the SHAAGtide and antigen molecules. The multivalent carrier may be linked to a SHAAGtide polypeptide, the antigen or an adjuvant. Examples of multivariant carriers include bacterial capsular polysaccharide (such as Pneumococci, Streptococci or Meningococci polysaccharides), a dextran and polynucleotide vectors.

[0013] In yet other aspects, the methods of invention provide for the administration of a pharmaceutical carrier with the SHAAGtide and antigen molecules.

[0014] In some aspects, sites of administration include solid tumors or tissues surrounding such tumors. Administration may be accomplished by any number of means, including injection, inhalation, or oral. Suppositories may also be used.

[0015] The methods of the invention also provide for multiple administrations of the SHAAGtide-containing compositions; administrations may of course be at the same or different site. In some instances, the administration site is removed from a target site of polypeptide delivery. For example, liposomes may be administered containing SHAAGtides and antigens, as well as incorporating molecules that enable the liposome to be targeted to specific tissues or cells.

[0016] In further aspects, the invention provides compositions having at least one SHAAGtide-containing polypeptide or fragment thereof; and at least one antigen. In some aspects, two different SHAAGtide peptides may be used. Such compositions may be formulated in sustained release formulations. Furthermore, the compositions of the invention may also incorporate a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, which may be an adjuvant in some cases. Other pharmaceutically acceptable carriers include water, oil, saline, aqueous dextrose and glycerol.

[0017] In other aspects, the compositions may incorporate a cell, a microbial vector or viral vector expressing a polynucleotide, such as one encoding SHAAGtide sequences. The cell may be allogeneic or autologous. In yet more aspects, the compositions may also include tumor-associated antigens (which may be obtained from autologous cells), cancer cells, cells from cancer cell lines (such as human ovarian or human brain cancer).

[0018] In another aspect, the invention provides compositions formulated with at least one tumor cell; and at least one cell exogenously expressing at least one SHAAGtide polynucleotide sequence. The tumor cell may be a primary, autologous or allogenic. The tumor cell may also be a glioma, glioblastoma, gliosarcoma, astrocytoma, melanoma, breast cancer cell or an ovarian cancer cell. In other aspects, the tumor cell is a cancer cell.

[0019] In a final aspect, the invention provides for kits containing a pharmaceutical composition incorporating at least one SHAAGtide molecule (polypeptide and/or polynucleotide) and a syringe.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] The inventors have discovered a class of novel peptides (SHAAGtides), truncation mutants of a splice variant of the CC chemokine CCL23, CKβ8-1, that is able to modulate and/or enhance an immune responses in vitro and in vivo. To modulate an immune response is to influence the classes and subtypes of produced immunoglobulins (Ig's) and the number and type of cells (e.g., cytotoxic T cells, eosinophils, and mast cells) that localize to the site of infection. SHAAGtides act as ligands to a receptor because calcium flux in leukocytes is seen upon addition of these peptides. SHAAGtides effectively attract monocytes, neutrophils and mature dendritic cells (mDCs), as well as immature dendritic cells (iDCs). CKβ8 (CCL23, also known as myeloid progenitor inhibitor factor 1 or MPIF-1; 99 amino acids), a related molecule of CKβ-1, attracts monocytes, dendritic cells and resting lymphocytes (Forssmann et al., 1997), but lacks the alternatively-spliced exon encoding SHAAGtide sequences. CKβ8-1 (residues 1-116), an alternative spliced form of CKβ8 is a functional ligand for the CCR1 receptor, as is CKβ8 (Youn et al., 1998). However, CKβ8-1 (1-116) does not exert its functions through the SHAAGtide sequences. In light of these observations, the SHAAGtide sequences represent cryptic functional peptides that are therefore surprisingly effective as adjuvants and immunomodulators.

[0021] Without intending to be bound by a particular mechanism, it is believed that the SHAAGtide polypeptides promote an immune reaction to the immunogen by recruiting APCs to site of administration. Immunogens (antigens) are ingested by APCs and partially degraded. Subsequently, a fraction of the degraded antigen is presented associated with MHC class I or II molecules on the surface of the APC. Upon presentation to waiting T cells in a nearby lymph node, proliferation of cytotoxic T cells or helper T cells is stimulated, or antibody production and secretion by B cells is activated.

[0022] Because SHAAGtides act as effective molecular beacons to attract cells of the immune system, the immune response is enhanced and/or modulated. When used in vaccines, SHAAGtides enhance the immune response such that antigens that usually do not elicit (or weakly elicit) such a response do so; use of SHAAGtides can also decrease the need for subsequent booster injections. SHAAGtides can also modify the type of generated immune response.

[0023] The invention encompasses compositions containing SHAAGtide or nucleic acids encoding SHAAGtides and their prophylactic uses, as well as treating disease conditions. The SHAAGtide polypeptide sequence (SEQ ID NO:1) and some active variants (SEQ ID NOS:2-6) are shown in Tables 1 and 3; the polynucleotide sequences that encode SEQ ID NOS:1-6, respectively, are shown in Table 2 (SEQ ID NOS:7-12). 1

TABLE 1
Human SHAAGtide polypeptide sequence and some active variants
SEQ ID NO:NotesAmino acid sequence
1Native sequence;Met Leu Trp Arg Arg Lys Ile Gly Pro Gln Met Thr Leu Ser His Ala Ala Gly
high activity1 5 10 15 18
2High activityMet Leu Trp Arg Arg Lys Ile Gly Pro Gln Met Thr Leu Ser His
1 5 10 15
3Moderate activityMet Leu Trp Arg Arg Lys Ile Gly Pro Gln Met Thr
1 5 10
4Very effective asMet Leu Trp Arg Arg Lys Ile Gly Pro Gln Met Thr Leu Ser His Ala Ala Tyr
adjuvant; high1 5 10 15 18
activity
5Moderate activityMet Leu Trp Arg Arg Lys Ile Gly Pro Gln Met
1 5 10
6Moderate activityLeu Trp Arg Arg Lys Ile Gly Pro Gln Met Thr Leu Ser His
1 5 10

[0024] 2

TABLE 2
Human SHAAGtide polynucleotide sequence (SEQ ID NO:2)
SEQ ID NO:Polynucleotide sequence
7atgctctgga ggagaaagat tggtcctcag atgacccttt ctcatgctgc agga54
8atgctctgga ggagaaagat tggtcctcag atgacccttt ctcat45
9atgctctgga ggagaaagat tggtcctcag atgacc36
10atgctctgga ggagaaagat tggtcctcag atgacccttt ctcatgctgc atat54
11atgctctgga ggagaaagat tggtcctcag atg33
12ctctggagga gaaagattgg tcctcagatg accctttctc at42

[0025] Another derivative of CKβ8-1 that has SHAAGtide-like activity (CKβ8-1 (25-116; SEQ ID NO:13), is shown in Table 3; the nucleotide sequence that encodes SEQ ID NO:13 is shown in Table 4. The sequences corresponding to SEQ ID NOS:1 and 7 are underlined. 3

TABLE 3
Polypeptide sequence of CKβ8-1 (25-116)
Met Leu Trp Arg Arg Lys Ile Gly Pro Gln Met Thr Leu Ser His Ala(SEQ ID NO:13)
1 5 10 15
Ala Gly Phe His Ala Thr Ser Ala Asp Cys Cys Ile Ser Tyr Thr Pro
20 25 30
Arg Ser Ile Pro Cys Ser Leu Leu Glu Ser Tyr Phe Glu Thr Asn Ser
35 40 45
Glu Cys Ser Lys Pro Gly Val Ile Phe Leu Thr Lys Lys Gly Arg Arg
50 55 60
Phe Cys Ala Asn Pro Ser Asp Lys Gln Val Gln Val Cys Met Arg Met
65 70 75 80
Leu Lys Leu Asp Thr Arg Ile Lys Thr Arg Lys Asn
85 90

[0026] 4

TABLE 4
Polynucleotide sequence of CKβ8-1 (25-116)
(SEQ ID NO:14)
atgctctgga ggagaaagat tggtcctcag atgacccttt ctcatgctgc aggattccat60
gctactagtg ctgactgctg catctcctac accccacgaa gcatcccgtg ttcactcctg120
gagagttact ttgaaacgaa cagcgagtgc tccaagccgg gtgtcatctt cctcaccaag180
aaggggcgac gtttctgtgc caaccccagt gataagcaag ttcaggtttg catgagaatg240
ctgaagctgg acacacggat caagaccagg aagaattga 279

[0027] The “parent” sequences of SEQ ID NOS:1-14 are shown in Table 5 (SEQ ID NO:15; CKβ8-1 polypeptide) and Table 6 (SEQ ID NO:16, CKβ8-1 polynucleotide). SHAAGtide sequences are underlined. Note that CKβ8-1 (SEQ ID NO:15), while containing the SHAAGtide sequence (SEQ ID NO:1), does not possess the same activities as SEQ ID NO:1 by itself. 5

TABLE 5
Polypeptide sequence of CKβ8-1
Met Lys Val Ser Val Ala Ala Leu Ser Cys Leu Met Leu Val Thr Ala(SEQ ID NO:15)
1 5 10 15
Leu Gly Ser Gln Ala Arg Val Thr Lys Asp Ala Glu Thr Glu Phe Met
20 25 30
Met Ser Lys Leu Pro Leu Glu Asn Pro Val Leu Leu Asp Met Leu Trp
35 40 45
Arg Arg Lys Ile Gly Pro Gln Met Thr Leu Ser His Ala Ala Gly Phe
50 55 60
His Ala Thr Ser Ala Asp Cys Cys Ile Ser Tyr Thr Pro Arg Ser Ile
65 70 75 80
Pro Cys Ser Leu Leu Glu Ser Tyr Phe Glu Thr Asn Ser Glu Cys Ser
85 90 95
Lys Pro Gly Val Ile Phe Leu Thr Lys Lys Gly Arg Arg Phe Cys Ala
100 105 110
Asn Pro Ser Asp Lys Gln Val Gln Val Cys Met Arg Met Leu Lys Leu
115 120 125
Asp Thr Arg Ile Lys Thr Arg Lys Asn
130 135

[0028] 6

TABLE 6
Polynucleotide sequence of CKβ8-1
(SEQ ID NO:16)
atgaaggtct ccgtggctgc cctctcetgc ctcatgcttg ttactgccct tggatcccag60
gcccgggtca caaaagatgc agagacagag ttcatgatgt caaagcttcc attggaaaat120
ccagtacttc tggacatgct ctggaggaga aagattggtc ctcagatgac cctttctcat180
gctgcaggat tccatyctac tagtgctgac tgctgcatct cctacacccc acgaagcatc240
ccgtgttcac tcctggagag ttactttgaa acgaacagcg agtgctccaa gccgggtgtc300
atcttcctca ccaagaaggg gcgacgtttc tgtgccaacc ccagtgataa gcaagttcag360
gtttgcatga gaatgctgaa gctggacaca cggatcaaga ccaggaagaa ttga 414

[0029] Compositions that include SHAAGtide polypeptide or polynucleotide include those suitable for administration to a subject to enhance an immune response, such as in response to vaccination. Also included are kits that include SHAAGtide polypeptide and/or SHAAGtide nucleotide. Such kits may be assembled to facilitate administration of, for example, pharmaceutical compositions.

[0030] The methods of the invention include administering a SHAAGtide (SEQ ID NOS:1-6, 13) or SHAAGtide nucleic acid (SEQ ID NOS:7-12, 14) composition to a subject.

[0031] When used to enhance or modulate an immune response, SHAAGtides may be administered as polypeptide or as polynucleotides that are expressed in vivo. To further facilitate such methods, SHAAGtide polypeptides may be associated (covalently or non-covalently) to the antigen of interest. In some instances, SHAAGtides in either form may be administered prior to or after administration of the antigen. When SHAAGtide compositions are administered separately from antigen (immunogen) compositions, the compositions are administered at the same physical location in a subject.

[0032] The methods of the invention, when enhancing, eliciting or modulating an immune response, include administering SHAAGtide compositions containing the immunogens of interest. In other methods, SHAAGtide compositions may be administered in the absence of immunogens. For example, a SHAAGtide composition is first administered, followed by a second administration of immunogen, with or without SHAAGtide polypeptides. In some cases, the immunogen-containing composition is administered first, followed by administration of a SHAAGtide-containing composition. The different compositions may be administered simultaneously, closely in sequence, or separated in time, e.g., one hour to two weeks or more.

[0033] To promote and/or modulate an immune response to tumors and cancers, SHAAGtide compositions are administered at the sites of abnormal growth or directly into the tissue (i.e., a tumor). Tumor or cancer antigens are then detected by the SHAAGtide-recruited or activated leukocytes, such as dendritic cells. By provoking an immune response to these antigens, tumors and cancers are attacked by the body and are reduced or eliminated. As such, these methods represent treatments for conditions involving uncontrolled or abnormal cell growth, e.g., tumors and cancers. Immune responses to tumors and cancers may also be promoted and/or modulated by administering isolated polypeptide tumor antigens with SHAAGtides. SHAAGtides may either be conjugated to the antigen or unconjugated.

[0034] New methods and reagents are now provided for therapeutic and prophylactic immunization (i.e., the deliberate provocation, enhancement, intensification or modulation of an adaptive and/or innate immune response). Particular advantages over prior immunization methods include one or more of the following:

[0035] (1) an accelerated immune response following administration of immunogen,

[0036] (2) greater sensitivity to small amounts of immunogen (e.g., toxin or pathogen) or antigens that do not habitually provoke strong immune responses, and

[0037] (3) more effective anti-tumor therapies.

[0038] While current vaccines are effective against many pathogenic agents, some dangerous pathogens (such as HIV, cancer and tumor cells, etc.) as of yet do not have suitable vaccines. In some instances, the difficulties partly stem from the properties of candidate foreign antigens, such as insolubility of HIV glycoproteins (e.g., gp120) or the poor immunogenicity of tumor antigens. Thus a composition that augments and/or modulates immune responses will be helpful to prepare new and effective vaccines.

[0039] The SHAAGtide polypeptides are truncations of a splice variant of the CKβ8-1 chemokine. Chemokines act as molecular beacons for the recruitment and activation of T lymphocytes, neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages, flagging pathogen battlegrounds. Chemokines, a group of greater than 40 small peptides (7-10 kD), ligate receptors expressed on WBCs that signal through G-protein-coupled signaling cascades to mediate their chemotractant and chemostimulant functions. Receptors may bind more than one ligand; for example, the receptor CCR1 ligates RANTES (regulated on activation normal T cell expressed), MIP-1α (macrophage inflammatory protein) and MIP-1β chemokines. To date, 24 chemokine receptors are known. The sheer number of chemokines, multiple ligand binding receptors, and different receptor profiles on WBCs allow for tightly controlled and specific immune responses (Rossi and Zlotnik, 2000). Chemokine activity can be controlled through the modulation of their corresponding receptors, treating related inflammatory and immunological diseases and enabling organ and tissue transplants.

[0040] Exploiting the activities of the SHAAGtide polypeptides, the immune response such as elicited during vaccination can be enhanced and/or modulated. That is, the vigor and/or magnitude and/or quality of the immune response is increased. For example, the early appearance and/or a high titer and/or avidity of antigen-specific antibodies indicates a vigorous immune response. The magnitude is augmented at least two-fold up to ten-fold or even hundred-fold compared to traditional vaccination methods. Enhancing or modulating the immune response's quality includes the production of high affinity antibodies to the immunogen and/or a higher concentration of preferred immunoglobulin classes, e.g., IgGs. Modulating the quality of the immune response also includes inducing different subsets of T lymphocytes that are distinguished by different subsets of cytokines and/or chemokines and/or the co-stimulatory molecules they produce. Modulating the quality of the immune response also includes inducing antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells and/or antibodies of different isotypes.

[0041] To distinguish between genes (and related nucleic acids) and the proteins that they encode, the abbreviations for genes are indicated by italicized (or underlined) text while abbreviations for the proteins are not italicized. Thus, SHAAGtide or SHAAGtide refers to the nucleotide sequence that encodes SHAAGtide.

[0042] “Control sequences” are DNA sequences that enable the expression of an operably-linked coding sequence in a particular host organism. Prokaryotic control sequences include promoters, operator sequences, and ribosome binding sites. Eukaryotic cells utilize promoters, polyadenylation signals, and enhancers.

[0043] Nucleic acid is “operably-linked” when it is placed into a functional relationship with another nucleic acid sequence. For example, a promoter or enhancer is operably-linked to a coding sequence if it affects the transcription of the sequence, or a ribosome-binding site is operably-linked to a coding sequence if positioned to facilitate translation.

[0044] An “isolated” nucleic acid molecule is purified from the setting in which it is found in nature and is separated from at least one contaminant nucleic acid molecule. Isolated SHAAGtide molecules are distinguished from the specific SHAAGtide molecule, as it exists in cells.

[0045] An isolated SHAAGtide nucleic acid molecule comprises a nucleic acid molecule that is a complement of the nucleotide sequence shown in SEQ ID NOS:7-12, 14, or a portion of this nucleotide sequence. A “complementary nucleic acid molecule” is one that is sufficiently complementary to a sequence, e.g., SEQ ID NOS:7-12, such that hydrogen bonds are formed with few mismatches, forming a stable duplex. “Complementary” refers to Watson-Crick or Hoogsteen base pairing between nucleotides.

[0046] “Derivatives” are nucleic acid sequences (or amino acid sequences) formed from native compounds either directly or by modification or partial substitution. “Analogs” are nucleic acid sequences or amino acid sequences that have a structure similar, but not identical, to the native compound but differ from it in respect to certain components or side chains. Analogs may be synthesized or from a different evolutionary origin. Homologs are nucleic acid sequences or amino acid sequences of a particular gene that are derived from different species.

[0047] Derivatives and analogs may be full length or other than full length, if the derivative or analog contains a modified nucleic acid or amino acid. Derivatives or analogs of the nucleic acids or proteins of SHAAGtide include, but are not limited to, molecules comprising regions that are substantially homologous to the nucleic acids or proteins of SHAAGtide by at least about 70%, 80%, or 95% identity over a nucleic acid or amino acid sequence of identical size or when compared to an aligned sequence in which the alignment is done by a homology algorithm, or whose encoding nucleic acid is capable of hybridizing to the complement of a sequence encoding the aforementioned proteins under stringent, moderately stringent, or low stringent conditions (Ausubel et al., 1987).

[0048] “Homologous” nucleotide sequences encode those sequences coding for isoforms of SHAAGtide. For SHAAGtide, homologous nucleotide sequences include nucleotide sequences encoding for a SHAAGtide of species other than humans, such as vertebrates, e.g., frog, mouse, rat, rabbit, dog, cat, cow and horse. Homologous nucleotide sequences also include naturally occurring allelic variations and mutations of the nucleotide sequences. A homologous nucleotide sequence does not, however, include the exact nucleotide sequence encoding human SHAAGtide. Homologous nucleic acid sequences include those nucleic acid sequences that encode conservative amino acid substitutions as well as a polypeptide possessing SHAAGtide biological activity.

[0049] In addition to the SHAAGtide sequences shown in SEQ ID NOS:7-12, 14, DNA sequence polymorphisms that change the amino acid sequences of the SHAAGtide may exist within a population. For example, allelic variation among individuals will exhibit genetic polymorphism in SHAAGtide. The terms “gene” and “recombinant gene” refer to nucleic acid molecules comprising an open reading frame (ORF) encoding SHAAGtide, preferably a vertebrate SHAAGtide. Such natural allelic variations can typically result in 1-5% variance in SHAAGtide. “SHAAGtide variant polynucleotide” or “SHAAGtide variant nucleic acid sequence” means a nucleic acid molecule which encodes an active SHAAGtide that (1) has at least about 80% nucleic acid sequence identity with a nucleotide acid sequence encoding a full-length native SHAAGtide, (2) a full-length native SHAAGtide lacking the signal peptide, or (3) any other fragment of a full-length SHAAGtide. Ordinarily, an SHAAGtide variant polynucleotide will have at least about 80% nucleic acid sequence identity, more preferably at least about 81%, 82%, 83%, 84%, 85%, 86%, 87%, 88%, 89%, 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% nucleic acid sequence identity and yet more preferably at least about 99% nucleic acid sequence identity with the nucleic acid sequence encoding a full-length native SHAAGtide. A SHAAGtide variant polynucleotide may encode full-length native SHAAGtide lacking the signal peptide, or any other fragment of a full-length SHAAGtide. Variants do not encompass the native nucleotide sequence.

[0050] Ordinarily, SHAAGtide variant polynucleotides are at least about 30 nucleotides in length, often at least about 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 300, 450, 600 nucleotides in length, more often at least about 900 nucleotides in length, or more.

[0051] “Percent (%) nucleic acid sequence identity” with respect to SHAAGtide-encoding nucleic acid sequences identified herein is defined as the percentage of nucleotides in SHAAGtide that are identical with the nucleotides in a candidate sequence of interest, after aligning the sequences and introducing gaps, if necessary, to achieve the maximum percent sequence identity. Alignment for purposes of determining % nucleic acid sequence identity can be achieved in various ways that are within the skill in the art, for instance, using publicly available computer software such as BLAST, BLAST-2, ALIGN or Megalign (DNASTAR) software. Those skilled in the art can determine appropriate parameters for measuring alignment, including any algorithms needed to achieve maximal alignment over the full length of the sequences being compared.

[0052] When nucleotide sequences are aligned, the % nucleic acid sequence identity of a given nucleic acid sequence C to, with, or against a given nucleic acid sequence D (which can alternatively be phrased as a given nucleic acid sequence C that has or comprises a certain % nucleic acid sequence identity to, with, or against a given nucleic acid sequence D) can be calculated as follows:

% nucleic acid sequence identity=W/Z·100

[0053] where

[0054] W is the number of nucleotides scored as identical matches by the sequence alignment program's or algorithm's alignment of C and D

[0055] and

[0056] Z is the total number of nucleotides in D.

[0057] When the length of nucleic acid sequence C is not equal to the length of nucleic acid sequence D, the % nucleic acid sequence identity of C to D will not equal the % nucleic acid sequence identity of D to C.

[0058] Stringency

[0059] Homologs (i.e., nucleic acids encoding SHAAGtide derived from species other than human) or other related sequences (e.g., paralogs) can be obtained by low, moderate or high stringency hybridization with all or a portion of the particular human sequence as a probe using methods well known in the art for nucleic acid hybridization and cloning.

[0060] The specificity of single stranded DNA to hybridize complementary fragments is determined by the “stringency” of the reaction conditions. Hybridization stringency increases as the propensity to form DNA duplexes decreases. In nucleic acid hybridization reactions, the stringency can be chosen to either favor specific hybridizations (high stringency), which can be used to identify, for example, full-length clones from a library. Less-specific hybridizations (low stringency) can be used to identify related, but not exact, DNA molecules (homologous, but not identical) or segments.

[0061] DNA duplexes are stabilized by: (1) the number of complementary base pairs, (2) the type of base pairs, (3) salt concentration (ionic strength) of the reaction mixture, (4) the temperature of the reaction, and (5) the presence of certain organic solvents, such as formamide which decreases DNA duplex stability. In general, the longer the probe, the higher the temperature required for proper annealing. A common approach is to vary the temperature: higher relative temperatures result in more stringent reaction conditions. (Ausubel et al., 1987) provide an excellent explanation of stringency of hybridization reactions.

[0062] To hybridize under “stringent conditions” describes hybridization protocols in which nucleotide sequences at least 60% homologous to each other remain hybridized. Generally, stringent conditions are selected to be about 5° C. lower than the thermal melting point (Tm) for the specific sequence at a defined ionic strength and pH. The Tm is the temperature (under defined ionic strength, pH and nucleic acid concentration) at which 50% of the probes complementary to the target sequence hybridize to the target sequence at equilibrium. Since the target sequences are generally present at excess, at Tm, 50% of the probes are occupied at equilibrium.

[0063] (a) High Stringency

[0064] “Stringent hybridization conditions” conditions enable a probe, primer or oligonucleotide to hybridize only to its target sequence. Stringent conditions are sequence-dependent and will differ. Stringent conditions comprise: (1) low ionic strength and high temperature washes (e.g. 15 mM sodium chloride, 1.5 mM sodium citrate, 0.1% sodium dodecyl sulfate at 50° C.); (2) a denaturing agent during hybridization (e.g. 50% (v/v) formamide, 0.1% bovine serum albumin, 0.1% Ficoll, 0.1% polyvinylpyrrolidone, 50 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 6.5; 750 mM sodium chloride, 75 mM sodium citrate at 42° C.); or (3) 50% formamide. Washes typically also comprise 5×SSC (0.75 M NaCl, 75 mM sodium citrate), 50 mM sodium phosphate (pH 6.8), 0.1% sodium pyrophosphate, 5× Denhardt's solution, sonicated salmon sperm DNA (50 μg/ml), 0.1% SDS, and 10% dextran sulfate at 42° C., with washes at 42° C. in 0.2×SSC (sodium chloride/sodium citrate) and 50% formamide at 55° C., followed by a high-stringency wash consisting of 0.1×SSC containing EDTA at 55° C. Preferably, the conditions are such that sequences at least about 65%, 70%, 75%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98%, or 99% homologous to each other typically remain hybridized to each other. These conditions are presented as examples and are not meant to be limiting.

[0065] (b) Moderate Stringency

[0066] “Moderately stringent conditions” use washing solutions and hybridization conditions that are less stringent (Sambrook, 1989), such that a polynucleotide will hybridize to the entire, fragments, derivatives or analogs of SEQ ID NOS:7-12, 14. One example comprises hybridization in 6×SSC, 5× Denhardt's solution, 0.5% SDS and 100 mg/ml denatured salmon sperm DNA at 55° C., followed by one or more washes in 1×SSC, 0.1% SDS at 37° C. The temperature, ionic strength, etc., can be adjusted to accommodate experimental factors such as probe length. Other moderate stringency conditions have been described (Ausubel et al., 1987; Kriegler, 1990).

[0067] (c) Low Stringency

[0068] “Low stringent conditions” use washing solutions and hybridization conditions that are less stringent than those for moderate stringency (Sambrook, 1989), such that a polynucleotide will hybridize to the entire, fragments, derivatives or analogs of SEQ ID NOS:7-12, 14,. A non-limiting example of low stringency hybridization conditions are hybridization in 35% formamide, 5×SSC, 50 mM Tris-HCl (pH 7.5), 5 mM EDTA, 0.02% PVP, 0.02% Ficoll, 0.2% BSA, 100 mg/ml denatured salmon sperm DNA, 10% (wt/vol) dextran sulfate at 40° C., followed by one or more washes in 2×SSC, 25 mM Tris-HCl (pH 7.4), 5 mM EDTA, and 0.1% SDS at 50° C. Other conditions of low stringency, such as those for cross-species hybridizations are well-described (Ausubel et al., 1987; Kriegler, 1990; Shilo and Weinberg, 1981).

[0069] In addition to naturally-occurring allelic variants of SHAAGtide, changes can be introduced by mutation into SEQ ID NOS:7-12, 14 that incur alterations in the amino acid sequences of the encoded SHAAGtide that do not alter SHAAGtide function. For example, nucleotide substitutions leading to amino acid substitutions at “non-essential” amino acid residues can be made in the sequence of SEQ ID NOS:3 or 4. A “non-essential” amino acid residue is a residue that can be altered from the wild-type sequences of the SHAAGtide without altering biological activity, whereas an “essential” amino acid residue is required for such biological activity. For example, amino acid residues that are conserved among the SHAAGtide of the invention are predicted to be particularly non-amenable to alteration. Amino acids for which conservative substitutions can be made are well known in the art.

[0070] Useful conservative substitutions are shown in Table A, “Preferred substitutions.” Conservative substitutions whereby an amino acid of one class is replaced with another amino acid of the same type fall within the scope of the invention so long as the substitution does not materially alter the biological activity of the compound. If such substitutions result in a change in biological activity, then more substantial changes, indicated in Table B as exemplary, are introduced and the products screened for SHAAGtide polypeptide biological activity. 7

TABLE A
Preferred substitutions
Preferred
Original residueExemplary substitutionssubstitutions
Ala (A)Val, Leu, IleVal
Arg (R)Lys, Gln, AsnLys
Asn (N)Gln, His, Lys, ArgGln
Asp (D)GluGlu
Cys (C)SerSer
Gln (Q)AsnAsn
Glu (E)AspAsp
Gly (G)Pro, AlaAla
His (H)Asn, Gln, Lys, ArgArg
Ile (I)Leu, Val, Met, Ala, Phe,Leu
Norleucine
Leu (L)Norleucine, Ile, Val, Met, Ala,Ile
Phe
Lys (K)Arg, Gln, AsnArg
Met (M)Leu, Phe, IleLeu
Phe (F)Leu, Val, Ile, Ala, TyrLeu
Pro (P)AlaAla
Ser (S)ThrThr
Thr (T)SerSer
Trp (W)Tyr, PheTyr
Tyr (Y)Trp, Phe, Thr, SerPhe
Val (V)Ile, Leu, Met, Phe, Ala,Leu
Norleucine

[0071] Non-conservative substitutions that effect (1) the structure of the polypeptide backbone, such as a β-sheet or α-helical conformation, (2) the charge (3) hydrophobicity, or (4) the bulk of the side chain of the target site can modify SHAAGtide polypeptide function. Residues are divided into groups based on common side-chain properties as denoted in Table B. Non-conservative substitutions entail exchanging a member of one of these classes for another class. Substitutions may be introduced into conservative substitution sites or more preferably into non-conserved sites. 8

TABLE B
Amino acid classes
ClassAmino acids
hydrophobicNorleucine, Met, Ala, Val, Leu, Ile
neutral hydrophilicCys, Ser, Thr
acidicAsp, Glu
basicAsn, Gln, His, Lys, Arg
disrupt chain conformationGly, Pro
aromaticTrp, Tyr, Phe

[0072] The variant polypeptides can be made using methods known in the art such as oligonucleotide-mediated (site-directed) mutagenesis, alanine scanning, and PCR mutagenesis. Site-directed mutagenesis (Carter, 1986; Zoller and Smith, 1987), cassette mutagenesis, restriction selection mutagenesis (Wells et al., 1985) or other known techniques can be performed on the cloned DNA to produce the SHAAGtide variant DNA (Ausubel et al., 1987; Sambrook, 1989).

[0073] An “isolated” or “purified” polypeptide, protein or biologically active fragment is separated and/or recovered from a component of its natural environment. Isolated polypeptides include those expressed heterologously in genetically engineered cells or expressed in vitro.

[0074] Contaminant components include materials that would typically interfere with diagnostic or therapeutic uses for the polypeptide. To be substantially isolated, preparations having less than 30% by dry weight of non-SHAAGtide contaminating material (contaminants), more preferably less than 20%, 10% and most preferably less than 5% contaminants.

[0075] Polypeptides and fragments of interest can be produced by any method well known in the art, such as by expression via vectors such as bacteria, viruses and eukaryotic cells. In addition, in vitro synthesis, such as peptide synthesis, may be also used.

[0076] An “active” polypeptide or polypeptide fragment retains a biological and/or an immunological activity similar, but not necessarily identical, to an activity of the SHAAGtide polypeptide shown in Tables 1 and 3. Immunological activity, in the context of this immediate discussion of the polypeptide per se, and not an actual biological role for SHAAGtide in eliciting or enhancing an immune response, refers to an aspect of a SHAAGtide polypeptide in that a specific antibody against a SHAAGtide antigenic epitope binds SHAAGtide. Biological activity refers to a function, either inhibitory or stimulatory, caused by a native SHAAGtide polypeptide. A biological activity of SHAAGtide polypeptide includes, for example, chemotaxis, inducing, enhancing or aiding an immune response. A particular biological assay (see Examples), with or without dose dependency, can be used to determine SHAAGtide activity. A nucleic acid fragment encoding a biologically-active portion of SHAAGtide can be prepared by isolating a polynucleotide sequence that encodes a polypeptide having a SHAAGtide biological activity, expressing the encoded portion of SHAAGtide (e.g., by recombinant expression in vitro) and assessing the activity of the encoded portion of SHAAGtide polypeptide.

[0077] In general, a SHAAGtide polypeptide variant that preserves SHAAGtide polypeptide-like function and includes any variant in which residues at a particular position in the sequence have been substituted by other amino acids, and further includes the possibility of inserting an additional residue or residues between two residues of the parent protein as well as the possibility of deleting one or more residues from the parent sequence. Any amino acid substitution, insertion, or deletion is encompassed by the invention. In favorable circumstances, the substitution is a conservative substitution as defined above.

[0078] “SHAAGtide polypeptide variant” means an active SHAAGtide polypeptide having at least: (1) about 70% amino acid sequence identity with a full-length SHAAGtide sequence or (2) any fragment of a full-length SHAAGtide sequence. For example, SHAAGtide variants include SHAAGtide polypeptides wherein one or more amino acid residues are added or deleted at the N- or C-terminus of the sequences of SEQ ID NOS:1-6, 13. A SHAAGtide polypeptide variant will have at least about 70% amino acid sequence identity, preferably at least about 71% amino acid sequence identity, more preferably at least about 72%, 73%, 74%, 75%, 76%, 77%, 78%, 79%, 80%, 81%, 82%, 83%, 84%, 85%, 86%, 87%, 88%, 89%, 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% amino acid sequence identity and most preferably at least about 99% amino acid sequence identity with SHAAGtide polypeptide sequence.

[0079] “Percent (%) amino acid sequence identity” is defined as the percentage of amino acid residues that are identical with amino acid residues in a SHAAGtide sequence in a candidate sequence when the two sequences are aligned. To determine % amino acid identity, sequences are aligned and if necessary, gaps are introduced to achieve the maximum % sequence identity; conservative substitutions are not considered as part of the sequence identity. Amino acid sequence alignment procedures to determine percent identity are well known to those of skill in the art. Publicly available computer software such as BLAST, BLAST2, ALIGN2 or Megalign (DNASTAR) can be used to align polypeptide sequences. Parameters for measuring alignment, including any algorithms needed to achieve maximal alignment over the full length of the sequences being compared, can be determined.

[0080] When amino acid sequences are aligned, the % amino acid sequence identity of a given amino acid sequence A to, with, or against a given amino acid sequence B (which can alternatively be phrased as a given amino acid sequence A that has or comprises a certain % amino acid sequence identity to, with, or against a given amino acid sequence B) can be calculated as:

%amino acid sequence identity=X/Y·100

[0081] where

[0082] X is the number of amino acid residues scored as identical matches by the sequence alignment program's or algorithm's alignment of A and B

[0083] and

[0084] Y is the total number of amino acid residues in B.

[0085] If the length of amino acid sequence A is not equal to the length of amino acid sequence B, the % amino acid sequence identity of A to B will not equal the % amino acid sequence identity of B to A.

[0086] Chimeric and Fusion Polypeptides

[0087] Fusion polypeptides are useful in expression studies, cell-localization, bioassays, SHAAGtide purification and importantly in adjuvant applications when the peptide may be fused to the antigen(s) of interest. A SHAAGtide “chimeric polypeptide” or “fusion polypeptide” comprises SHAAGtide fused to a non-SHAAGtide polypeptide. A non-SHAAGtide polypeptide is not substantially homologous to SHAAGtide (SEQ ID NOS:1-6, 13). A SHAAGtide fusion polypeptide may include any portion to an entire SHAAGtide, including any number of biologically active portions. In some host cells, heterologous signal sequence fusions may ameliorate SHAAGtide expression and/or secretion.

[0088] Fusion partners can be used to adapt SHAAGtide therapeutically. SHAAGtide-Ig fusion polypeptides can be used as immunogens to produce anti-SHAAGtide Abs in a subject, to purify SHAAGtide ligands, and to screen for molecules that inhibit interactions of SHAAGtide with other molecules. Additionally, fusions with antigens of interest can be used to facilitate vaccination/immunication proceduresz

[0089] Fusion polypeptides can be easily created using recombinant methods. A nucleic acid encoding SHAAGtide can be fused in-frame with a non-SHAAGtide encoding nucleic acid, e.g., antigen(s) with which to immunize, to the SHAAGtide NH2- or COO-terminus, or internally. Fusion genes may also be synthesized by conventional techniques, including automated DNA synthesizers. PCR amplification using anchor primers that give rise to complementary overhangs between two consecutive gene fragments that can subsequently be annealed and reamplified to generate a chimeric gene sequence (Ausubel et al., 1987). Many vectors are commercially available that facilitate sub-cloning SHAAGtide in-frame to a fusion moiety.

[0090] Mimetics

[0091] Polypeptide mimetics of SHAAGtide may also be used. The terms “mimetic” and “peptidomimetic” refer to a synthetic chemical compound that has substantially the same structural and/or functional characteristics as a SHAAGtide polypeptide. Mimetics can be either entirely composed of synthetic, non-natural analogues of amino acids, or a chimeric molecule of partly natural peptide amino acids and partly non-natural analogs of amino acids. Mimetics can also incorporate any amount of natural amino acid conservative substitutions. Polypeptide mimetic compositions can contain any combination of nonnatural structural components, which are typically from three structural groups: (a) residue linkage groups other than the natural amide bond (“peptide bond”) linkages; (b) non-natural residues in place of naturally occurring amino acid residues; or (c) residues which induce secondary structural mimicry, i.e., inducing or stabilizing a secondary structure, e.g., a β turn, γ turn, β sheet, α helix conformation, and the like.

[0092] A polypeptide can be characterized as a mimetic when all or some of its residues are joined by chemical means other than natural peptide bonds. Individual peptidomimetic residues can be joined by peptide bonds, other chemical bonds or coupling means, such as, e.g., glutaraldehyde, N-hydroxysuccinimide esters, bifunctional maleimides, N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC) or N,N′-diisopropylcarbodiimide (DIC). Linking groups that can be an alternative to the traditional amide bond (“peptide bond”) linkages include, e.g., ketomethylene (e.g., —C(═O)—CH2— for —C(═O)—NH—), aminomethylene (CH2—NH), ethylene, olefin (CH═CH), ether (CH2—O), thioether (CH2—S), tetrazole (CN4—), thiazole, retroamide, thioamide, or ester (Spatola (1983) in Chemistry and Biochemistry of Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins, Vol. 7, pp 267-357, “Peptide Backbone Modifications,” Marcell Dekker, NY).

[0093] A polypeptide can also be characterized as a mimetic by containing all or some non-natural residues in place of naturally occurring amino acid residues. Nonnatural residues, as well as appropriate substitutions for each class of amino acids (Table B), are well known. For example, mimetics of aromatic amino acids can be generated by replacing by, e.g., D- or L-naphylalanine; D- or L-phenylglycine; D- or L-2 thieneylalanine; D- or L-1, -2, 3- or 4-pyreneylalanine, etc.

[0094] Other mimetics include those generated by hydroxylation of proline and lysine; phosphorylation of the hydroxyl groups of seryl or threonyl residues; methylation of the α-amino groups of lysine, arginine and histidine; acetylation of the N-terminal amine; methylation of main chain amide residues or substitution with N-methyl amino acids; or amidation of C-terminal carboxyl groups. A component of a natural polypeptide can also be replaced by an amino acid or peptidomimetic residue of the opposite chirality.

[0095] Mimetics also include compositions that contain a structural mimetic residue, particularly a residue that induces or mimics secondary structures, such as a β turn, β sheet, α helix structures, γ turns, and the like. For example, substitution of natural amino acid residues with D-amino acids; N-α-methyl amino acids; C-α-methyl amino acids; or dehydroamino acids within a peptide can induce or stabilize β turns, γ turns, β sheets or α helix conformations.

[0096] Cyclic Peptides

[0097] In some cases, cyclic SHAAGtide peptides may be advantageous. To make a SHAAGtide cyclic, cysteine residues included in a peptide can be oxidized to form —S—S-dimers or larger multimer (trimers, etc.) by oxidization. Two cysteines placed distal to each other in a peptide can be oxidized to prepare a cyclic peptide containing one or more functional amino acid sequences.

[0098] Practising the Invention

[0099] Assays Demonstrating SHAAGtide Activity

[0100] (a) In vitro Assays

[0101] SHAAGtides have certain properties when used as an adjuvant; namely, enhancing, eliciting or modulating an immune response. Other activities of the SHAAGtides are known, including inducing chemotaxis on certain cells, including those expressing the formyl-peptide receptor-like-1 (FPRL1) receptor. In vitro chemotaxis (cell migration) assays can be used to identify SHAAGtide chemotactic properties. Such assays physically separate the cells from the candidate chemoattractant using a porous membrane and assaying the cell migration from one side of the membrane to the other, indicating cell migration. As an example, a conventional cell migration assay, such as the ChemoTx® system (NeuroProbe, Rockville, Md.; (Goodwin, U.S. Pat. No. 5,284,753, 1994)) or any other suitable device or system (Bacon et al., 1988; Penfold et al., 1999) may be used. Cells expressing the target receptor are gathered. A candidate compound, such as SHAAGtide peptides or other chemokine/chemokine-like compound is prepared, usually in a concentration series by serial dilution in a buffer. The concentration range is typically between 0.1 nM and 10 mM, but will vary with the compound being tested.

[0102] To start the cell migration assay, solutions of the various candidate compound concentrations are added to the lower chamber of a cell migration apparatus, and the cell suspension is placed into the upper chamber that is separated by a porous membrane (about 3 μm to about 5 μm, depending on cell type(s) and cell size(s)). The cells are incubated under culture conditions (about 37° C. for human cells) for 60 to 180 minutes in a humidified tissue culture incubator. The incubation period depends on the cell type and if necessary, can be determined empirically.

[0103] After terminating the assay, non-migrating cells on the upper chamber of the apparatus are removed using a rubber scraper or other manual method, enzymatically or chemically, e.g., EDTA and EGTA solutions. The membrane that separates the two chambers is then removed from the apparatus and rinsed with Dulbecco's phosphate buffered saline (DPBS) or water. The number of cells that migrated into the lower chamber is then determined. Cell migration at levels above background (without a chemotactic or candidate compound), indicate that the candidate compound is chemotactic for the tested cells.

[0104] A candidate compound is considered chemotactic for a particular cell type if, at a concentration of about 1 pM to about 1 μm (e.g., between about 1 nM and 500 nM, e.g., 1 nM, about 10 nM, about 100 nM, or between about 1 pg/ml and about 10 μg/ml, e.g., between about 1 ng/ml and 1 μg/ml, e.g., about 10 ng/ml, about 100 ng/ml or about 1 μg/ml) attracts the cell at least 2-fold to 8-fold or more than a negative control.

[0105] (b) In vivo Assays

[0106] Chemotactic properties of a compound can be determined in animals, e.g., mammals such as non-human primates and mice. In one in vivo assay, the candidate compound (e.g., 2-20 μg in PBS) is administered by intradermal injection. After about 24 to about 96 hours or more, the presence or absence of cell infiltration is determined, using routine histological techniques. If an infiltrate is present, the cells are identified by type (mononuclear, neutrophil, dendritic, etc.) and are quantified.

[0107] Therapeutic Applications of SHAAGtide

[0108] SHAAGtide Compositions

[0109] SHAAGtide polypeptides (SEQ ID NOS:1-6, 13), or derivatives, analogs, etc. may be administered in compositions, such as those used to elicit, enhance or modulate an immune response; one or more of the SHAAGtide polypeptides (SEQ ID NOS:1-6, 13) may be included. The compositions may include antigens of interest; however, SHAAGtide polypeptides may be administered by themselves. In some embodiments, the SHAAGtide polypeptides are administered in sequence with other administrations containing other molecules, such as polypeptide or polysaccharide immunogens.

[0110] In one aspect, the methods of the invention involve administration of an immunogen, in addition to a SHAAGtide composition. These compositions are administered at the same physical site in the subject. For example, the immunogen may be combined with a SHAAGtide composition, and the mixture administered (e.g., injected) together. Alternatively, the composition and the antigen are administered separately to the same area of the subject (e.g., injected to the same site, applied topically to the same site, etc.). The different compositions are administered at different times.

[0111] SHAAGtide compositions can also be administered without an accompanying antigen (e.g., injection into a solid tumor to elicit an immune response to cancer cells, or injection in tissue surrounding a solid tumor, e.g., within 2 cm, of a solid tumor). Without intending to be bound by a particular mechanism, it is believed that SHAAGtides promote an immune reaction to the endogenous (e.g., tumor) antigen by recruiting APCs to the site of administration.

[0112] SHAAGtide compositions may additionally contain an excipient or carrier. SHAAGtide compositions may also include one or more immunogens (antigens; i.e., the antigen to which it is desired to induce, enhance or modulate an immune response).

[0113] SHAAGtide compositions may contain a conventional adjuvant. Conventional adjuvants typically convert soluble protein antigens into particulate material. Conventional adjuvants include Freund's incomplete, Freund's complete, Merck 65, AS-2, alum, aluminum phosphate, mineral gels such as aluminum hydroxide, and surface active substances such as lysolecithin, pluronic polyols, polyanions, peptides, oil emulsions, keyhole limpet hemocyanin, and dinitrophenol. Other useful adjuvants include, but are not limited to, bacterial capsular polysaccharides, dextran, IL-12, GM-CSF, CD40 ligand, IFN-γ, IL-1, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, IL-18 or any cytokine or bacterial DNA fragment.

[0114] Antigens

[0115] In one aspect, the present invention provides a method of eliciting or enhancing an immune response to an antigen, e.g., a predetermined or specified antigen. An antigen is a molecule that reacts with an antibody. In some embodiments the antigen is an immunogen. In some embodiments the antigen is linked to a protein carrier. For example, a SHAAGtide and an antigen may be physically linked, such as by a fusion protein, chemically cross-linking or complexes such as biotin and streptavidin.

[0116] An antigen (immunogen) is typically a peptide, a polypeptide, chemical compound, microbial pathogen, bacteria (e.g., live, attenuated, or inactivated), a virus (including inactivated virus particles, modified live viral particles, and recombinant virus particles), a recombinant cell, glycoproteins, lipoproteins, glycopeptides, lipopeptides, toxoids, carbohydrates, tumor-specific antigens, and other immunogenic components of pathogens. Mixtures of two or more antigens may be used. The antigen may be purified. In some embodiments, the antigen may be associated (covalently or non-covalently) with a SHAAGtide polypeptide.

[0117] The invention is used to provide protection from exogenous foreign infectious pathogenic agents prior to exposure. In addition, the invention can be used to provide therapeutic effects against exogenous foreign pathogens to which an individual has been exposed or to individual displaying symptoms of exposure. The invention can be used to treat cancers, including, but not limited to, melanomas, lung cancers, thyroid carcinomas, breast cancers, renal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, brain tumors and skin cancers. For example, the antigen may be a tumor-associated antigen (tumor specific-antigen). Tumor antigens are molecules, especially cell surface proteins, which are differentially expressed in tumor cells relative to non-tumor tissues.

[0118] For prophylactic use, compositions containing SHAAGtides are administered (e.g., in conjunction with immunogens) to a subject. For therapeutic use, compositions containing the SHAAGtides are administered to a subject once a disease is detected, diagnosed or even treated, such as after surgical removal of a tumor.

[0119] Exemplary antigens or vaccine components of the invention include antigens derived from microbial pathogens such as bacteria [e.g., Pertussis (Bordetella pertussis, inactivated whole organism); Cholera (Vibrio cholerae, whole killed organism); Meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis, polysaccharide from organism); Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi, lipoprotein OspA); Haemophilus B (Haemophilus influenza B polysaccharide, Tetanus conjugate or OmpC); Pneumonia (Streptococcs pneumoniae capsular polysaccharide) Typhoid (Salmonella typhi polysaccharide vaccine, killed whole organism)], viruses including inactivated virus particles, modified live viral particles, and recombinant virus particles to Influenza virus; Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Measles; Rubella virus; Mumps; Rabies; Poliovirus; Japanese Encephalitis virus; Rotavirus; Varicella], Diphtheria (Corynebacterium diphtheriae) and Tetanus (Clostridium tetani).

[0120] Polynucleotide Chemotactic Compositions

[0121] The SHAAGtide, the antigen, or both may be delivered as polynucleotides, such that the polypeptides are generated in situ. In the case of naked polynucleotides, uptake by cells can be increased by coating the polynucleotide onto a carrier, e.g. biodegradable beads, which is efficiently transported into cells. In such vaccines, the polynucleotides may be present within any of a variety of delivery systems, including nucleic acid expression systems, bacterial and viral expression systems.

[0122] Vectors, used to shuttle genetic material from organism to organism, can be divided into two general classes: Cloning vectors are replicating plasmid or phage with regions that are non-essential for propagation in an appropriate host cell and into which foreign DNA can be inserted; the foreign DNA is replicated and propagated as if it were a component of the vector. An expression vector (such as a plasmid, yeast, or animal virus genome) is used to introduce foreign genetic material into a host cell or tissue in order to transcribe and translate the foreign DNA, such as SHAAGtide. In expression vectors, the introduced DNA is operably-linked to elements such as promoters that signal to the host cell to transcribe the inserted DNA. Inducible promoters that control gene transcription in response to specific factors can be exceptionally useful. Operably-linking a SHAAGtide and/or antigen polynucleotide to an inducible promoter can control the expression of a SHAAGtide and/or antigen polypeptide or fragments. Examples of classic inducible promoters include those that are responsive to α-interferon, heat shock, heavy metal ions, and steroids such as glucocorticoids (Kaufman, 1990), and tetracycline. Other desirable inducible promoters include those that are not endogenous to the cells in which the construct is being introduced, but are responsive in those cells when the induction agent is exogenously supplied. In general, useful expression vectors are often plasmids. However, other forms of expression vectors, such as viral vectors (e.g., replication defective retroviruses, adenoviruses and adeno-associated viruses) are contemplated.

[0123] Vector choice is dictated by the organism or cells being used and the desired fate of the vector. Vectors may replicate once in the target cells, or may be “suicide” vectors. In general, vectors comprise signal sequences, origins of replication, marker genes, enhancer elements, promoters, and transcription termination sequences.

[0124] Administration of SHAAGtide and Immunogen (Antigen)

[0125] SHAAGtide compositions may contain one or more antigens or antigen-encoding polynucleotides. Antigens can be administered in combination with SHAAGtides (i.e., in the same mixture). Alternatively, they can be administered separately. In one aspect, the invention provides an immunization method in which a combination of one or more antigens (or antigen-encoding polynucleotides) and one or more SHAAGtides (or SHAAGtide-encoding polynucleotides) are administered to a subject. The antigen or SHAAGtide may be administered in a delivery vehicle such as a physiologically acceptable excipient.

[0126] The antigen may be administered simultaneously with the SHAAGtide composition or the antigen and the SHAAGtide composition is administered at different times, typically to the same site. For example, the chemotactic composition (without the antigen) can be administered between about 15 minutes and about 96 hours prior to the administration of the antigen, more often between about 15 minutes and about 48 hours, more often between 24 hours and 96 hours, often between about 48 hours and 72 hours or between 72 hours and 96 hours prior to the administration of the antigen.

[0127] When a SHAAGtide composition and an antigen composition are injected at the same site in a subject, preferably the injections are within 2 cm of each other, preferably within 1 cm or preferably within 0.5 cm of each other on the two dimensional surface of the body. The administrations should also be done to a similar depth and to the same tissue layers. For intramuscular injections, the depth should be more precisely monitored to achieve a three dimensional equivalent placement of the SHAAGtide and the antigen to within 2 cm of each other, preferably to within 1 cm, and more preferably to within 0.5 cm. The injection site can be marked with an indelible ink to assist the physician.

[0128] One dose (administration) of the composition may be given. However, the first administration may be followed by boosting doses. For example, the SHAAGtide composition is administered in multiple doses, often in combination with an antigen (e.g., by co-administration). The SHAAGtide composition (optionally including antigen) may be administered once, twice, three times, or more. The number of doses administered to a subject is dependent upon the antigen, the extent of the disease, and the response of a subject to the SHAAGtide composition. Within the scope of the present invention, a suitable number of doses includes any number required to immunize an animal to a predetermined antigen.

[0129] A second administration (booster) of the SHAAGtide composition and antigen may be given between about 7 days and 1 year after the first administration. The time between the first and second administrations may be 14 days to 6 months, 21 days and 3 months, often between about 28 days and 2 months after the original administration. A third administration (second booster) may be given between about 14 days and 10 years after the first administration, e.g., between about 14 days and 3 years, often between about 21 days and 1 year, very often between about 28 days and 6 months after the first administration. Subsequent boosters may be administered at 2 week intervals, or 1 month, 3 month or 6 month to 10 year intervals.

[0130] A variety of vaccine administration doses and schedules can be developed easily; the determination of an effective amount and number of doses of SHAAGtides of the invention, antigens, or some combination of SHAAGtides and antigens for administration is also well within the capabilities of those skilled in the art.

[0131] Effective Dose

[0132] Typically, the amount of SHAAGtide and antigen will be administered to a subject that is sufficient to immunize an animal against an antigen (i.e., an “immunologically effective dose” or a “therapeutically effective dose”). An amount adequate to accomplish an “immunologically effective dose” will depend in part on the SHAAGtide and antigen composition, the manner of administration, the stage and severity of the disease being treated, the weight and general state of health of the subject, and the judgment of the prescribing physician or other qualified personnel.

[0133] The effective dose of antigen and SHAAGtide can be formulated in animal models to achieve an induction of an immune response; such data can be used to readily optimize administration to humans based on animal data (see Examples). When the SHAAGtide is a polypeptide, a dose will typically be between about 1 fg and about 100 μg, often between about 1 pg and about 100 μg, more often between about 1 ng and about 50 μg, and usually between about 100 ng and about 50 μg. In some embodiments, the dose is between about 1 fg and about 100 μg per kg subject body weight, often between about 1 pg and about 100 μg, more often between about 1 ng and about 50 μg, and usually between about 100 ng and about 50 μg per kg subject body weight.

[0134] The amount of antigen will vary with the identity and characteristics of the antigen. A SHAAGtide composition may contain one or more antigens and one or more SHAAGtides at a molar or weight ratio of about 1:1000 or greater, SHAAGtide to antigen. Other useful ratios are between about 1:10 and 1:1000, between about 1:10 and 1:1000, or greater than 1:1000. The ratio of antigen to SHAAGtide in the composition may vary between about 1:10 and 10:1.

[0135] Carriers, Excipients, Conventional Adjuvants, Mode of Administration

[0136] The SHAAGtide-containing compositions of the invention may be administered in a variety of ways and in various forms. The SHAAGtide composition may include carriers and excipients, such as buffers, carbohydrates, mannitol, proteins, polypeptides or amino acids such as glycine, antioxidants, bacteriostats, chelating agents, suspending agents, thickening agents and/or preservatives; water, oils, saline solutions, aqueous dextrose and glycerol solutions, other pharmaceutically acceptable auxiliary substances as required to approximate physiological conditions, such as buffering agents, tonicity adjusting agents, wetting agents, etc.. A conventional adjuvant may also be incorporated into the composition.

[0137] While any suitable carrier may be used to administer the compositions of the invention, the type of carrier will vary depending on the mode of administration. Compounds may also be encapsulated within liposomes. Biodegradable microspheres are convenient in some instances as carriers; for example, such as those described in (Tice et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,942,252, 1999).

[0138] Sterilization of the compositions is desirable, such as that accomplished by conventional techniques or sterile filtering. The resulting aqueous solutions may be packaged for use as is, or lyophilized.

[0139] The SHAAGtide compositions of the invention may be administered in a variety of ways, including by injection (e.g., intradermal, subcutaneous, intramuscular, intraperitoneal etc.), by inhalation, by topical administration, by suppository, by using a transdermal patch or by mouth.

[0140] When administration is by injection, compositions may be formulated in aqueous solutions, preferably in physiologically compatible buffers such as Hanks solution, Ringer's solution, or physiological saline buffer. The solution may contain formulatory agents such as suspending, stabilizing and/or dispersing agents. Alternatively, the chemotactic composition may be in powder form for constitution with a suitable vehicle, e.g., sterile pyrogen-free water, before use. Inhalation-delivered compositions may be as aerosol sprays from pressurized packs or a nebulizer with the use of a suitable propellant, e.g., dichlorodifluoromethane, trichlorofluoromethane, carbon dioxide or other suitable gas. In the case of a pressurized aerosol, the dosage unit may be determined by providing a valve to deliver a metered amount. Capsules and cartridges of, e.g., gelatin for use in an inhaler or insufflator may be formulated containing a powder mix of the proteins and a suitable powder base such as lactose or starch. For topical administration, the compositions may be formulated as solutions, gels, ointments, creams, suspensions, and the like, as are well known in the art. In some embodiments, administration is by means of a transdermal patch. Suppository compositions may also be formulated to contain conventional suppository bases.

[0141] When administration is oral, a composition can be readily formulated by combining the composition with pharmaceutically acceptable carriers. Solid carriers include mannitol, lactose, magnesium stearate, etc.; such carriers enable the formation of tablets, pills, dragees, capsules, liquids, gels, syrups, slurries, suspensions etc., for oral ingestion. Such formulations may be powders, capsules and tablets; suitable excipients include fillers such as sugars, cellulose preparation, granulating agents, and binding agents.

[0142] Nucleic acid molecules, such as those encoding SHAAGtides, can be inserted into vectors and used as gene therapy vectors. Gene therapy techniques have recently become quite advanced and are meeting enviable success (Meikle, 2002). Gene therapy vectors can be delivered to a subject by, for example, intravenous injection, local administration (Nabel and Nabel, U.S. Pat. No. 5,328,470, 1994), or by stereotactic injection (Chen et al., 1994). The pharmaceutical preparation of a gene therapy vector can include an acceptable diluent or can comprise a slow release matrix in which the gene delivery vehicle is imbedded. Alternatively, where the complete gene delivery vector can be produced intact from recombinant cells, e.g., retroviral vectors, the pharmaceutical preparation can include one or more cells that produce the gene delivery system.

[0143] Other convenient carriers include multivalent carriers, such as bacterial capsular polysaccharide, a dextran or a genetically engineered vector. In addition, sustained-release formulations include, for example, SHAAGtide molecules and/or antigens, allowing for the release of SHAAGtides and/or antigens over extended periods of time, such that without the sustained release formulation, the SHAAGtides and/or antigens would be cleared from a subject's system or degraded.

[0144] Vaccination for Monoclonal and Polyclonal Antibody Production

[0145] Methods of producing polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies, including binding fragments (e.g., F(ab)2) and single chain versions are well known. However, many antigens are incapable of triggering an adequate antibody response. In one embodiment, a composition comprising a SHAAGtide of the invention and an antigen is administered to an animal, thus inducing or enhancing the immune response in the animal. Polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies are subsequently prepared by standard techniques.

[0146] Stimulation of Innate Immune Response

[0147] In another aspect, the compositions of the invention are administered to a subject to stimulate the innate immune response. The innate immune response is body's initial defense against pathogens and is elicited by a variety of cells including APCs. These cells express surface and cytoplasmic receptors that recognize molecules of foreign origin (e.g., bacterial and viral nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates). Upon detecting these signals, the dendritic cells and macrophage elicit a defensive response that includes the release of cytokines (including interferons, TNF-α, and IL-12) and chemokines that attract cells such as immature dendritic cells, macrophage, NK cells, and granulocytes, to the site of challenge.

[0148] The compositions of the invention can be used to attract dendritic cells and other cells to the site of administration, but also to stimulate these cells into eliciting elements of the innate immune response to confer non-specific protection while the body is generating the adaptive response. For example, a SHAAGtide composition is administered (without antigen) prior to or post exposure of an anticipated infection, including those that are sinisterly applied, such as in bioterrorism. In another embodiment, SHAAGtides are administered with “foreign” molecules (e.g., bacterial or viral nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, or synthetic elements which mimic these elements).

[0149] Kits

[0150] In an aspect, the invention provides kits containing one or more of the following in a package or container: (1) a SHAAGtide composition of the invention; (2) a pharmaceutically acceptable adjuvant or excipient; (3) an antigen (e.g., a biologically pure antigen); (4) a vehicle for administration, such as a syringe; (5) instructions for administration.

[0151] When a kit is supplied, the different components of the composition may be packaged in separate containers and admixed immediately before use. Such packaging of the components separately may permit long-term storage without losing the activity.

[0152] The reagents included in the kits can be supplied in containers of any sort such that the life of the different components are preserved and are not adsorbed or altered by the materials of the container. For example, sealed glass ampules may contain lyophilized SHAAGtide polypeptides or polynucleotides, or buffers that have been packaged under a neutral, non-reacting gas, such as nitrogen. Ampules may consist of any suitable material, such as glass, organic polymers, such as polycarbonate, polystyrene, etc.; ceramic, metal or any other material typically employed to hold similar reagents. Other examples of suitable containers include simple bottles that may be fabricated from similar substances as ampules, and envelopes that may comprise foil-lined interiors, such as aluminum or an alloy. Other containers include test tubes, vials, flasks, bottles, syringes, or the like. Containers may have a sterile access port, such as a bottle having a stopper that can be pierced by a hypodermic injection needle. Other containers may have two compartments that are separated by a readily removable membrane that upon removal permits the components to be mixed. Removable membranes may be glass, plastic, rubber, etc.

[0153] Kits may also be supplied with instructional materials. Instructions may be printed on paper or other substrate, and/or may be supplied as an electronic-readable medium, such as a floppy disc, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Zip disc, videotape, audiotape, etc. Detailed instructions may not be physically associated with the kit; instead, a user may be directed to an internet web site specified by the manufacturer or distributor of the kit, or supplied as electronic mail.

[0154] The following examples are given to illustrate the invention and are not meant to limit it in any way.

EXAMPLES

Example 1

[0155] Methods

[0156] Unless stated otherwise, reagents were obtained from Sigma Chemical Co. (St. Louis, Mo.).

[0157] SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) peptide preparation The peptide of SEQ ID NO:4, “SHAAYtide”, was chemically synthesized and purified (Phoenix Pharmaceuticals; Belmont, Calif.). The material was suspended in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at a concentration of approximately 1 mg/ml and stored at −20° C.

[0158] Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) First, 96-well U-bottom plastic dishes were coated overnight with 1 μg ovalbumin (OVA) in 100 μl PBS per well. The next day, the dishes were rinsed with PBS, blocked with PBS containing 5% fetal bovine serum (FBS), and rinsed with PBS again. Plasma samples from experimental animals (see below) were diluted 102- to 105-fold and added to the dishes for 2 hours, after which the dishes were again rinsed with PBS. The dishes were then incubated with biotinylated goat anti-monkey IgG detection antibodies, then rinsed with PBS and incubated with streptavidin-linked horseradish peroxidase (SA-HRP). After a final rinsing with PBS, the HRP substrate 2,2′-Azinobis[3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid]-diammonium salt was added. Color development was measured with an ELISA plate reader at 405 nm, and optical density (OD) units were converted to arbitrary “antibody units,” where a unit is defined as the inverse of the plasma dilution that produces 50% of the maximum response from a standard curve obtained by serial dilution of an ascites collected from OVA-injected mice and containing OVA-specific antibodies.

[0159] Dendritic cell purification Substantially purified dendritic cells (including subpopulations of mature or immature cells) can be prepared. Subpopulations of dendritic cells include: (1) immature peripheral blood monocyte derived cells, (2) mature peripheral blood monocyte derived cells, and (3) cells derived from CD34-expressing precursors.

[0160] Human or macaque dendritic cells of various developmental stages can be generated in culture from CD14-expressing blood progenitors using specific cytokines. A separate lineage of dendritic cells can be differentiated from CD34-expressing precursor cells from cord blood or bone marrow. Finally, immature and mature dendritic cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBCs) can also be produced (Bender et al., 1996). Mature dendritic cells can be made using macrophage conditioned medium and double stranded RNA-ploy (I:C) stimulation (Cella et al., 1999; Romani et al., 1996; Verdijk et al., 1999).

[0161] To confirm that a population of dendritic cells has been isolated, marked changes in chemokine receptor expression during dendritic cell maturation can be used to identify and confirm cell stage (Campbell et al., 1998; Chan et al., 1999; Dieu et al., 1998; Kellermann et al., 1999). For example, produced mature dendritic cells can be characterized by using cellular markers and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Generated dendritic cells express higher levels of MHC class II on the cell surface than immature dendritic cells. Expression of CD80, CD83 and CD86 are also up-regulated. Chemokine receptor expression also changes dramatically during maturation; e.g., CCR1 and CCR5 are down-regulated in mature cells while CCR7 is up-regulated. Functional characteristics may also be exploited to confirm a cell type. For example, mature dendritic cells are incapable of taking up antigen efficiently, but gain the ability to stimulate the proliferation of naive T cells and B cells. Mature dendritic cells also change their migratory behaviors, being unresponsive to CCR1, CCR2 and CCR5 ligands while being newly responsive to CCR7 ligands.

Example 2

[0162] SHAAGtide Variant (SEQ ID NO:2) Attracts Dendritic Cells

[0163] This example describes an in vivo assay in which the ability of several chemokines and SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:2) to attract dendritic cells was demonstrated.

[0164] The following chemokines were obtained from R&D Systems (Minneapolis, Minn.): vMCK-2, mC10, and GM-CSF. The following peptides were synthesized at Phoenix Pharmaceuticals (San Carlos, Calif.): SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4), several STRUCTURALLY MODIFIED peptides of SHAAGtide variant (SEQ ID NO:) (i.e. cyclized using the MPR-Cys linked cyclization), control peptide (SEQ ID NO:17, Gly Ala Ala His Ser Leu Thr Met Gln Pro Gly Ile Lys Arg Arg Trp Leu Met), randomly conjugated to OVA in either a 1:1 or 1:4 ratio (by MBS coupling method), and conjugated to OVA at the C-terminus (C-term, made by the addition of a cysteine), and SHAAGtide variant (SEQ ID NO:2). In three separate experiments, chemokines or peptides (2 μg or 20 μg in PBS) were injected intradermally into BALB/c or C57B1/6 mice (Jackson Laboratory; Bar Harbor, Me.). In each experiment, one mouse received an injection of PBS only as a negative control. At various times after injection, the mice were euthanized, and the area around the injection site was excised and subjected to immunohistology. Frozen sections were stained with anti-DEC-205 antibody (Bio-Whittaker Molecular Applications; Rockland, Me.) that recognizes a dendritic cell-specific molecule (Kraal et al., 1986). A relative staining number on a scale of 0 to 5 was assigned to each section (0, none; 1, slight; 2, mild; 3, moderate; 4, severe). Results are shown in Tables 7, 8 and 9.

[0165] As shown in Tables 7, 8 and 9, vMCK-2, C10, GM-CSF, SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4), and all administered versions of SHAAGtide, showed excellent infiltration of DEC-205-labeled cells. 9

TABLE 7
Dendritic cell infiltration in C57B1/6 mice (2 μg dose)
Time
Polypeptide(hours)Score
saline60
1
300
0
511
0
vMCK-263
3
2
303
1
3
510
3
3
mC1061
1
2
301
2
2
510
0
0
SHAAYtide (SEQ ID61
NO: 4)1
1
300
0
0
510
0
0
0

[0166] 10

TABLE 8
Dendritic cell infiltration in BALBc mice (various doses)
PolypeptideDoseTime (hours)Score
saline 0 μg60
1
0
302
1
2
vMCK-2 2 μg62
2
2
303
2
2
20 μg62
3
3
303
2
3
mC10 2 μg62
2
2
302
2
3
20 μg62
2
2
303
1
1
SHAAYtide 2 μg62
(SEQ ID2
(NO: 4)3
303
2
3
20 μg62
2
3
303
0
1

[0167] 11

TABLE 9
Infiltration in BALB/c mice, various doses
PolypeptideTime (hours)Score
saline61
2
1
vMCK-263
0
2
GM-CSF62
1
1
saline301
1
1
GM-CSF301
1
SHAAGtide variant (SEQ ID NO: 2)-15mer303
2
1
SHAAGtide (SEQ ID NO: 4)300
2
2
SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4), cyclized301
2
2
SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4) and OVA303
3
1
OVA-SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4) C-term302
2
2
OVA-SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4) 1:1304
4
3
OVA-SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4) 1:4303
3
4
Control peptide (SEQ ID NO: 17)301
0
2

Example 3

[0168] SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) Administration to Rhesus Monkeys

[0169] Different amounts (8, 20, or 60 μg in 100 μl PBS) of different polypeptides (see Table 10) were injected intradermally in Rhesus macaques under anesthesia. Twenty-four and 48 hours later, 6 mm skin punch biopsies were taken using aseptic technique and then bisected. One portion of the biopsy was embedded in OCT compound, flash frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored at −70° C. The other portion was immersed in formalin and embedded in paraffin wax; subsequently, sections cut on a microtome were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and then microscopically examined for cell infiltration into the dermis (Table 10). As a negative control, monkeys were injected with PBS lacking any polypeptides.

[0170] Mononuclear cell infiltration was scored on a scale of 0 to 5: 0, very mild perivascular mononuclear inflammatory infiltration throughout the dermis; 1, a mild perivascular mononuclear inflammatory infiltrate seen throughout the dermis; 2, a mild/moderate perivascular mononuclear inflammatory infiltrate seen throughout the dermis; 3, a moderate perivascular mononuclear inflammatory infiltrate seen throughout the dermis; 4, an extensive perivascular mononuclear inflammatory infiltrate seen throughout the dermis; 5, a florid perivascular mononuclear inflammatory infiltrate seen throughout the dermis. intermediate scores are indicates, e.g., “2/3” represents a score between 2 and 3.

[0171] As shown in Table 10, SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) at 20 μg caused a moderately strong infiltration in one of the two animals. vMCK-2 caused a dramatic infiltration of cell. The 20 μg administration caused more infiltration than did the 60 μg and 8 μg administration. vMIP-1 caused a mild infiltration at all doses tested. In contrast to similar experiments where lower chemokine concentrations were used, mC10 caused little to no infiltration in this experiment. VKB8-1 caused no infiltration in this experiment. 12

TABLE 10
Mononuclear cell infiltration
24 hours48 hours
PolypeptideDosemonkey 1monkey 2monkey 3monkey 4
vMIP-160 μg11
20 μg10
 8 μg00
C1060 μg00
20 μg00
 8 μg10
vMCK-260 μg33
20 μg42
 8 μg31
SHAAYtide60 μg00
(SEQ ID NO: 4)20 μg 2*0
 8 μg00
CKβ8-160 μg00
(residues 25-116)20 μg00
 8 μg
saline0100
*indicates several clusters of cells rather than spread-out infiltrate

Example 4

[0172] Identification of Infiltrating Cells

[0173] To better define the identity of the infiltrating cells seen in Example 3 (Table 10), the same samples were analyzed by immunohistochemistry using antibodies specific for different cell types. These antibodies included: CD68 (expressed on macrophages, neutrophils and dendritic cells), MHC II (antigen-presenting cells, e.g. macrophages and dendritic cells), HAM-56 (macrophages), fascin (dendritic cells, endothelial cells and epithelial cells), elastase (neutrophils), cytokeratin (epithelial cells), CD3 (T cells), CD20 (B cells), and CD1a (Langerhans cells).

[0174] The vMCK-2-injected skin samples contained primarily neutrophils and antigen-presenting cells, including macrophages and dendritic cells. The mC10-injected skin samples contained primarily antigen-presenting cells, including macrophages and dendritic cells, but few neutrophils. The vMIP-1-injected skin samples contained primarily neutrophils and macrophages, with few dendritic cells. Few T cells, and no B cells, were found in the skin samples for each of the three chemokines.

Example 5

[0175] SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) Adjuvant Activity in Rhesus Monkeys

[0176] Since the SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) and the chemokines mC10 and vMCK-2 recruited APCs, including dendritic cells, to the site of injection, these polypeptides were tested for their ability to act as immunization adjuvants to augment the immune response to a co-injected foreign antigen. Five groups of monkeys, 3 monkeys per group, were injected intradermally with chicken ovalbumin (OVA) as an antigen. The first group of monkeys received OVA alone, while the second group contained OVA emulsified 1:1 with incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA), a standard adjuvant. The third group contained OVA, IFA, and vMCK-2, the fourth group contained OVA, IFA, mC10; and the fifth group contained OVA, IFA, and SEQ ID NO:4. The formulations (containing 2 mg OVA and 16 μg polypeptide) were injected intradermally in 100 μl. Ten ml of peripheral blood was drawn from each monkey twice a week for three weeks, and the blood samples were then subjected to centrifugation over Ficoll to remove erythrocytes and granulocytes. The plasma supernatant was analyzed by sandwich ELISA to determine the levels of anti-OVA antibodies using OVA-coated plastic dishes and a biotinylated anti-monkey IgG detection antibody. The results, reported in “antibody units” (see Example 1), are shown in Table 11. Reported numbers represent OVA-specific IgG levels, expressed in antibody units/ml, in the plasma of the 15 monkeys. Each horizontal line shows the response of an individual monkey over time after immunization. 13

TABLE 11
Induction of anti-OVA antibodies in monkeys
FormulationNday 0day 5day 9day 12day 16day 19
OVA14283934458149411,116
24,5774,0734,2284,47582323,740
3243248255279280202
OVA + IFA111411836811,98736,43544,781
237032515629,67076,08476,240
329921022121,35350,37459,184
OVA + IFA +12492422614,2056,09710,827
vMCK2229426336026,98544,23053,383
331026226340,264109,919135,608
OVA + IFA +132329443055,49896,905114,818
mC10226725245188,9979807597,376
339035646550,94081,888109,445
OVA + IFA +111212335385,503248,798155,614
SHAAY244938946943,54393,760119,176
(SEQ ID NO: 4)316316120162,188118,359118,618

[0177] As shown in Table 11, monkeys injected with OVA and IFA developed a significant antibody to OVA, as demonstrated by development of circulating anti-OVA IgG, commencing on day 12. In comparison, the levels of OVA-specific IgG in monkeys injected with OVA, mC10 and IFA, or OVA, shaag and IFA were substantially greater than those in monkeys not receiving mC10 or SEQ ID NO:4 respectively.

Example 6

[0178] SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) Adjuvant Activity in Mice

[0179] The experiment described in Example 5 was repeated, except the formulations were administered to BALB/c mice with 10 μg (Table 12) or 500 μg (Table 13) of OVA with in 100 μl. IFA was not used.

[0180] BALB/c mice were given OVA with or without SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) either intraperitoneally on days 0 and 21 (Table 12), or sub-cutaneously on days 0 and 14 (Table 13). Blood samples were collected at the indicated time points. The results, reported in antibody units, are given in Tables 12 and 13, showing IgG levels. 14

TABLE 12
Induction of anti-OVA antibodies in mice (10 μg OVA)
Formulationn0 day (d)10 d15 d27 d31 d36 d
OVA14771,22519,25822,44924,656
25176723,7256,7106,084
318647579,92816,09418,524
424281251,9708,7669,796
5171703,78910,71012,419
average65214167,73412,94614,296
increase from day 003517,66912,88114,231
OVA and1105628114,60917,13418,119
2 μg SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4)2412014213,57215,91718,201
310706,67210,93312,047
4226718522,84322,39023,180
5915102035,0607,547
average2310012211,58014,28715,819
increase from day 0779811,55614,26315,795
OVA and1147343,116557,000951,900943,800
20 μg SHAAYtide (SEQ ID2014220589,300861,200807,400
NO: 4)31087248931,0161,187
410249917,32621,71420,529
556101645194,100132,910428,400
average18192821271,724393,748440,263
increase from day 0174803271,706393,730440,245
2 μg SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4)1700474760
272730471746
314001260
424005800
average13680511942
increase from day 055038629
20 μg SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4)13100122120
24700110320
3139400116690
46459216898470
average7015842112400
increase from day 08804100

[0181] 15

TABLE 13
Induction of anti-OVA antibodies in mice (500 μg OVA)
Formulationn0 days (d)7 d10 d14 d17 d21 d24 d28 d
OVA1985227,38017,01043,418530,680944,980942,870
25695410,14936,04165,8101,115,6601,277,790
3623932,55325,49079,466723,9501,158,5401,223,230
4371792,3168,72534,167398,560682,620511,990
5373114,96423,49141,107545,370779,110972,210
average584725,47222,15152,794662,844891,313985,618
increase from day 04145,41422,09352,736662,786891,255985,560
OVA and SHAAYtide1465,44314,59075,541152,6341,722,8801,943,0501,845,900
(SEQ ID NO: 4)26215,92039,148152,684372,1773,736,8285,170,7403,721,768
34612,38518,27887,000144,4021,237,0902,198,9201,959,610
4434,97818,324113,288184,5451,991,7102,473,6402,048,890
5378,27618,164147,302430,9183,309,0694,420,7303,572,379
average479,40021,701115,163256,9352,399,5153,241,4162,629,709
increase from day 09,35421,654115,116256,8882,399,4693,241,3692,629,663

Example 7

[0182] SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) Shows Different Modulatory Effects on Different Types of Immune Responses Generated in Rhesus Monkeys

[0183] Different types of immune responses can be induced in mammals by varying parameters such as the dose of antigen, the formulation, the route of administration, and the type of adjuvant. For example, when the adjuvant alum is used for vaccination purposes in humans or laboratory animals, the generated immune response is predominated by antibodies of the IgG1 and IgGE classes, shows little generation of cytotoxic T cells, and shows augmentation of eosinophils and mast cells. In contrast, when stronger adjuvants, such as Complete or Incomplete Freund's adjuvants, are used, a broader spectrum of immune responses is observed, including the appearance of cytotoxic T cells and IgG2 antibodies. To determine if SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) effects different types of immune responses in different ways, Rhesus monkeys were immunized in OVA formulated in either IFA adjuvant or alum adjuvant, with and without SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) (either unconjugated or directly conjugated to OVA). Results are shown in Table 14 and are repored as antibody units. 16

TABLE 14
Effect of SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO: 4) on OVA-specific antibody responses in monkeys,
using either IFA adjuvant or alum adjuvant
Formulationn0 days (d)5 d8 d12 d15 d19 d
OVA16,4917,7385,9566,50119,66131,138
24,0083,1874,9106,53810,39010,815
328,44219,92421,14746,87280,612135,978
average12,98010,28310,67119,97136,88859,310
increase from day 0006,99023,90746,330
OVA and IFA17,1536,0136,6491,115,4004,757,4001,339,900
26,1955,7076,4831,635,8404,549,1002,096,500
36,8106,3795,67131,200110,290464,200
average6,7196,0336,268927,4803,138,9301,300,200
increase from day 000920,7613,132,2111,293,481
OVA, IFA and110,91110,84519,7332,626,6808,155,8002,453,900
SHAAYtide (SEQ ID25,7615,7615,636226,4401,129,7001,641,100
NO: 4)35,1134,5414,072102,050979,800772,500
average7,2627,0499,814985,0573,421,7671,622,500
increase from day 002,552977,7953,414,5051,615,238
OVA and alum112,97211,97242,8083,111,61010,305,9002,733,400
210,3177,6996,10038,71090,470106,020
34,6234,4265,252870,1901,516,100931,300
average9,3048,03218,0531,340,1703,970,8231,256,907
increase from day 008,7491,330,8663,961,5191,247,603
OVA + alum and18,5636,6036,22729,76044,61065,680
SHAAYtide (SEQ ID23,2313,2903,28431,930159,320172,250
NO: 4)37,3276,0316,64922,22052,97066,580
average6,3745,3085,38727,97085,633101,503
increase from day 00021,59679,26095,130
OVA-PDx-S + alum114,31412,17910,38057,74091,480103,660
25,9414,9594,52617,18013,79015,830
34,0243,8204,42816,58022,40028,990
average8,0936,9866,44530,50042,55749,493
increase from day 00022,40734,46441,400
Formulationn22 d26 d30 d34 d37 d
OVA146,462120,111271,183224,626244,479
210,96112,51110,24812,21211,806
3184,220495,3301,008,627871,569977,820
average80,548209,317430,019369,469411,368
increase from day 067,567196,337417,039356,489398,388
OVA and IFA11,239,8001,616,1006,688,1005,192,8003,997,800
22,595,9003,629,90014,280,60012,801,7009,471,900
3776,800719,1001,705,3001,730,1001,640,600
average1,537,5001,988,3677,558,0006,574,8675,036,767
increase from day 01,530,7811,981,6477,551,2816,568,1475,030,047
OVA, IFA and12,167,9001,752,4006,539,1005,953,3003,884,600
SHAAYtide (SEQ ID23,504,6004,800,10014,210,20013,281,60011,330,700
NO: 4)31,096,1002,289,7007,837,3009,869,2006,649,100
average2,256,2002,947,4009,528,8679,701,3677,288,133
increase from day 02,248,9382,940,1389,521,6059,694,1057,280,872
OVA and alum12,624,3002,194,8009,286,2006,262,5007,581,600
2106,820214,5701,346,3001,078,300767,100
3826,0002,469,20014,421,70012,237,3007,778,500
average1,185,7071,626,1908,351,4006,526,0335,375,733
increase from day 01,176,4031,616,8868,342,0966,516,7295,366,429
OVA + alum and178,660130,850819,100789,500555,900
SHAAYtide (SEQ ID2163,670406,7701,607,1001,780,1001,619,300
NO: 4)369,31061,2401,110,800982,500750,500
average103,880199,6201,179,0001,184,033975,233
increase from day 097,506193,2461,172,6261,177,660968,860
OVA-PDx-S + alum175,81099,510711,090582,600547,100
215,27026,29091,38089,38096,440
331,070129,7201,056,8001,266,3001,035,400
average40,71785,173619,757646,093559,647
increase from day 032,62477,080611,664638,000551,554

[0184] While the co-administration of SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) did not diminish the OVA with IFA response, it dramatically reduced the IgG response induced by OVA plus alum. These data indicate SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) is capable of down-regulating immune responses to antigen administered in alum adjuvant, but not to the same antigen administered in IFA adjuvant. Thus, SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4) can be used as an immune modulator.

Example 8

[0185] (Prophetic) Procedure to Determine the Chemotactic Propertices of a Candidate Molecule

[0186] To perform chemotaxis assays, 29 μl of a candidate or known chemotaxins for a specific cell type, such as for dendritic cells (immature or mature), at 0, 1, 10 and 100 nM are placed in the wells of the lower chamber of a 96-well chemotaxis chambers (Neuroprobe; Gaithersburg, Md.). Day 7 immature dendritic cells are harvested, washed once with chemotaxis buffer (0.1% BSA in Hank's balanced salt solution (HBSS; Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.), with Ca++ and Mg++), and resuspended in chemotaxis buffer at 5×106 cells/ml. Twenty microliters of cells is placed onto the filter. The chambers are incubated for 90 minutes at 37° C. Migration is terminated by removing non-migrating cells on the top of the filter using a rubber scraper. After removing the filter and rinsing with Dulbecco's phosphate buffered saline (DPBS; Hyclone, Darra, Queensland, Australia), cells that have migrated are quantified by cell staining, such as the Hema3 staining kit (Fisher Scientific; Tustin, Calif.) or the CyQuant assay (Molecular Probes; Eugene, Oreg.), a fluorescent dye method that measures nucleic acid content and microscopic observation. The lower chamber is inspected microscopically to determine if any cells have migrated into the wells. If significant number of cells is present in the wells, quantification is done in the wells as well as the filter. The magnitude of migration is calculated as the ratio of absorbance between the wells with chemoattractants and the wells with chemotaxis buffer alone.

Example 9

[0187] (Prophetic) Procedure to Evaluate APC Chemotaxins in Augmenting or Modulating Systemic and/or Mucosal Immune Responses to Infectious Diseases

[0188] Groups of mice are injected either subcutaneously, intradermally, intranasally, or by any other mode with varying doses of the virus, bacterium, or parasite under study, using a typical immunization schedule, e.g., days 0, 7, and 14, in the presence or absence of APC chemotaxin given simultaneously with the microorganism in an appropriate formulation which may include adjuvants. Serum and/or mucosal secretions are collected on days −7, 0, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 for antigen-specific antibody analysis by ELISA. Mice are sacrificed at different time intervals (such as after the last immunization to quantitate the antigen-specific antibody-forming cells and antigen-specific T cell responses (both cytotoxic and helper T cell populations)) present in immune compartments, using standard procedures.

Example 10

[0189] (Prophetic) Procedure to Evaluate APC Chemotaxins in Augmenting or Modulating Anti-Tumor Immunity in Cancer Immunotherapy Regimens

[0190] While many tumor cells express unique tumor-associated antigens, these antigens are invariably weak immunogens and fail to generate potent anti-tumor immunity during tumor progression. The ability of APC chemotaxins, such as SHAAYtide (SEQ ID NO:4), to augment protective anti-tumor immunity can be evaluated using a model system of cancer immunotherapy in mice (REF?). In this model, mice are transplanted with a syngeneic thymoma (EL4 cells; American Type Tissue Collection (ATTC); Manassas, Va.; no. TIB-39) that have previously been transfected (SEQ) with the experimental protein antigen OVA (ATTC; no. CRL-2113 (chicken OVA EL4 transfectants). Without further intervention, the tumor grows and eventually kills the mouse. Animals can be at least partially protected by vaccinating them with OVA formulated in adjuvant to induce an antigen-specific immune response directed against the OVA-transfected thymoma cells (REF?). This model is effective to evaluate the relative efficacy of adjuvants in augmenting or modulating protective anti-tumor immunity. Positive controls in this model include the following adjuvants: CFA, IFA, alum and GM-CSF. The ability of APC chemotaxins to augment cancer immunotherapy regimens can be evaluated by comparison to these known adjuvants.

Example 11

[0191] (Prophetic) Procedure to Evaluate Ability of APC Chemotaxins to Modulate Allergen-Specific Immune Responses to Decrease Allergen-Induced Pathology

[0192] An animal model of asthma can be induced by sensitizing rodents to an experimental antigen (e.g., OVA) by standard immunization, and then subsequently introducing that same antigen into the rodent's lung by aerosolization. Three series of rodent groups, comprising 10 rodents per group, are actively sensitized on Day 0 by a single intraperitoneal injection with 100 μg OVA in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), along with an IgE-selective adjuvant, such as aluminum hydroxide (“alum” adjuvant). At 11 days after sensitization at the peak of the IgE response, the animals are placed in a Plexiglas chamber and challenged with aerosolized OVA (1%) for 30 minutes using an ultrasonic nebulizer (De Vilbliss Co.; Somerset, Pa.). One series of mice additionally receives phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and Tween 0.5% intraperitoneally at the initial sensitization, and at different dosing schedules thereafter, up until the aerosolized OVA challenge. A second series consists of groups of mice receiving different doses of APC chemotaxins given either intraperitoneally, intra-venously, sub-cutaneously, intramuscularly, orally, or via any other mode of administration, at the initial sensitization, and at different dosing schedules thereafter, up until the aerosolized OVA challenge. A third series of mice, serving as a positive control, consists of groups treated with either mouse IL-10 intraperitoneally, anti-IL4 antibodies intraperitoneally, or anti-IL5 antibodies intraperitoneally at the initial sensitization, and at different dosing schedules thereafter, up until the aerosolized OVA challenge.

[0193] Animals are subsequently analyzed at different time points after the aerosolized OVA challenge for pulmonary function, cellular infiltrates in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), histological examination of lungs, and measurement of serum OVA-specific IgE titers.

[0194] References

[0195] Ausubel, F. M., R. Brent, R. E. Kingston, D. D. Moore, et al. 1987. Current protocols in molecular biology. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

[0196] Bacon, K. B., R. D. Camp, F. M. Cunningham, and P. M. Woollard. 1988. Contrasting in vitro lymphocyte chemotactic activity of the hydroxyl enantiomers of 12-hydroxy-5,8,10,14-eicosatetraenoic acid. Br J Pharmacol. 95:966-74.

[0197] Bender, A., M. Sapp, G. Schuler, R. M. Steinman, et al. 1996. Improved methods for the generation of dendritic cells from nonproliferating progenitors in human blood. J Immunol Methods. 196:121-35.

[0198] Campbell, J. J., E. P. Bowman, K. Murphy, K. R. Youngman, et al. 1998. 6-C-kine (SLC), a lymphocyte adhesion-triggering chemokine expressed by high endothelium, is an agonist for the MIP-3β receptor CCR7. J Cell Biol. 141:1053-9.

[0199] Carter, P. 1986. Site-directed mutagenesis. Biochem J. 237:1-7.

[0200] Cella, M., M. Salio, Y. Sakakibara, H. Langen, et al. 1999. Maturation, activation, and protection of dendritic cells induced by double-stranded RNA. J Exp Med. 189:821-9.

[0201] Chan, V. W., S. Kothakota, M. C. Rohan, L. Panganiban-Lustan, et al. 1999. Secondary lymphoid-tissue chemokine (SLC) is chemotactic for mature dendritic cells. Blood. 93:3610-6.

[0202] Chen, S. H., H. D. Shine, J. C. Goodman, R. G. Grossman, et al. 1994. Gene therapy for brain tumors: regression of experimental gliomas by adenovirus-mediated gene transfer in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 91:3054-7.

[0203] Dieu, M. C., B. Vanbervliet, A. Vicari, J. M. Bridon, et al. 1998. Selective recruitment of immature and mature dendritic cells by distinct chemokines expressed in different anatomic sites. J Exp Med. 188:373-86.

[0204] Forssmann, U., M. B. Delgado, M. Uguccioni, P. Loetscher, et al. 1997. CKβ8, a novel CC chemokine that predominantly acts on monocytes. FEBS Lett. 408:211-6.

[0205] Goodwin, J., R H. U.S. Pat. No. 5,284,753. 1994. Multiple-site chemotactic test apparatus and method.

[0206] Kaufman, R. J. 1990. Vectors used for expression in mammalian cells. Methods Enzymol. 185:487-511.

[0207] Kellermann, S. A., S. Hudak, E. R. Oldham, Y. J. Liu, et al. 1999. The CC chemokine receptor-7 ligands 6Ckine and macrophage inflammatory protein-3β are potent chemoattractants for in vitro- and in vivo-derived dendritic cells. J Immunol. 162:3859-64.

[0208] Kraal, G., M. Breel, M. Janse, and G. Bruin. 1986. Langerhans' cells, veiled cells, and interdigitating cells in the mouse recognized by a monoclonal antibody. J Exp Med. 163:981-97.

[0209] Kriegler, M. 1990. Gene transfer and expression: A laboratory manual. Stockton Press, New York. 242 pp.

[0210] Meikle, J. 2002. Pioneering gene treatment gives frail toddler a new lease of life. In The Guardian, London.

[0211] Nabel, E. G., and G. J. Nabel. U.S. Pat. No. 5,328,470. 1994. Treatment of diseases by site-specific instillation of cells or site-specific transformation of cells and kits therefor.

[0212] Penfold, M. E., D. J. Dairaghi, G. M. Duke, N. Saederup, et al. 1999. Cytomegalovirus encodes a potent alpha chemokine. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 96:9839-44.

[0213] Romani, N., D. Reider, M. Heuer, S. Ebner, et al. 1996. Generation of mature dendritic cells from human blood. An improved method with special regard to clinical applicability. J Immunol Methods. 196:137-51.

[0214] Rossi, D., and A. Zlotnik. 2000. The Biology of Chemokines and their Receptors. Annu. Rev. Immunol. 18:217-242.

[0215] Sambrook, J. 1989. Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor.

[0216] Shilo, B. Z., and R. A. Weinberg. 1981. DNA sequences homologous to vertebrate oncogenes are conserved in Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 78:6789-92.

[0217] Tice, T., R. Gilley, J. Eldridge, and J. Staas. U.S. Pat. No. 5,942,252. 1999. Method for delivering bioactive agents into and through the mucosally-associated lymphoid tissues and controlling their release.

[0218] Verdijk, R. M., T. Mutis, B. Esendam, J. Kamp, et al. 1999. Polyriboinosinic polyribocytidylic acid (poly(I:C)) induces stable maturation of functionally active human dendritic cells. J Immunol. 163:57-61.

[0219] Wells, J. A., M. Vasser, and D. B. Powers. 1985. Cassette mutagenesis: an efficient method for generation of multiple mutations at defined sites. Gene. 34:315-23.

[0220] Youn, B. S., S. M. Zhang, H. E. Broxmeyer, S. Cooper, et al. 1998. Characterization of CKβ8 and CKβ8-1: two alternatively spliced forms of human β-chemokine, chemoattractants for neutrophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes, and potent agonists at CC chemokine receptor 1. Blood. 91:3118-26.

[0221] Zoller, M. J., and M. Smith. 1987. Oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis: a simple method using two oligonucleotide primers and a single-stranded DNA template. Methods Enzymol. 154:329-50.