Leukemias are highly immunogenic but have a low mutational load, providing few mutated peptide targets. Thus, the identification of alternative neoantigens is a pressing need. Here, we identify 36 MHC class I-associated peptide antigens with O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) modifications as candidate neoantigens, using three experimental approaches. Thirteen of these peptides were also detected with disaccharide units on the same residues and two contain either mono- and/or di-methylated arginine residues. A subset were linked with key cancer pathways, and these peptides were shared across all of the leukemia patient samples tested (5/5). Seven of the O-GlcNAc peptides were synthesized and five (71%) were shown to be associated with multifunctional memory T-cell responses in healthy donors. An O-GlcNAc-specific T-cell line specifically killed autologous cells pulsed with the modified peptide, but not the equivalent unmodified peptide. Therefore, these post-translationally modified neoantigens provide logical targets for cancer immunotherapy.
- Received October 19, 2016.
- Revision received January 31, 2017.
- Accepted March 9, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.