The gene encoding a highly immunogenic mycobacterial heat-shock protein (hsp65) was transfected into the murine macrophage tumor cell line J774. The resulting hsp65-expressing cells (J774-hsp65) were no longer able to produce tumors in syngeneic mice. This loss of tumorigenicity was not mediated through T cells since the transfected cells did not produce tumors in athymic mice. If mice are first immunized with the J774-hsp65 cells and then challenged with the parent J774 cells, the mice do not develop tumors, indicating that the presence of the mycobacterial hsp65 protein greatly enhances immunological recognition of unique structures expressed by the parent tumor cells. This is further confirmed by the demonstration in vitro of T cells derived from J774-hsp65-immunized mice that are cytotoxic for the parent J774 cells. The results provide the basis for a novel strategy for enhancing the immunological recognition and decreasing the tumorigenicity of transformed cells.

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