1 Department of Immunology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Monoclonal Antibody Research Center, Avicenna Research Institute, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: In addition to passive immunotherapy using anti-HER2 monoclonal antibodies, active immunotherapy via HER2 targeting is an interesting approach to inducing specific anti-tumor immune responses. We have recently reported the immunogenicity of HER2 subdomains following DNA immunization and HER2 protein boosting. In the present study, we evaluated the immunogenicity of different HER2 extracellular subdomains for the induction of anti-HER2 antibody response in BALB/c mice. Objective: To investigate and characterize antibody responses to human recombinant proteins of HER2 extracellular subdomains in immunized mice. Methods: Four subdomains of HER2 extracellular domain were expressed in E.coli; subsequently, purified recombinant proteins were intraperitoneally injected in BALB/c mice with Freund's adjuvant. The anti-HER2 antibody response was detected by ELISA, immunoblotting and flow cytometry. Results: All the four HER2 subdomains along with the full extracellular domain (fECD) were able to induce specific anti-HER2 antibodies. Although anti-HER2 subdomains antibodies could not react with eukaryotic recombinant fECD protein by ELISA, they were able to recognize this protein by immunoblotting under both reduced and non-reduced conditions. Furthermore, only the sera of mice immunized with fECD protein could recognize native HER2 on HER2 overexpressing tumor cells (>99%) by flow cytometry. Moreover, fECD immunized mice sera inhibited the proliferation of tumor cells by XTT assay. Conclusion: The prokaryotic recombinant proteins of HER2 extracellular subdomains are immunogenic, yet the induced specific antibodies do not react with the native HER2 protein due to the paucity of post-translation modifications and /or distortion of the native conformation of isolated HER2 extracellular subdomains which might be potentially effective for induction of cell mediated immune response against HER2.