Background: Mimotopes are peptides mimicking protein, carbohydrates or lipid epitopes and can be generated by phage display technology. When selected by antibodies, they represent exclusively B-cell epitopes and are devoid of antigen/allergen-specific T-cell epitopes. Coupled to carriers or presented in a multiple antigenic peptide form mimotopes achieve immunogenicity and induce epitope-specific antibody responses upon vaccination.
Objective/methods: In allergy IgG antibodies may block IgE binding to allergens, whereas other IgG antibody specificities enhance this and support the anaphylactic reaction. In cancer, inhibitory antibody specificities prevent growth signals derived from overexpressed oncogenes, whereas growth-promoting specificities enhance signalling and proliferation. Therefore, the mimotope concept is applicable to both fields for epitope-specific vaccination and analysis of conformational B-cell epitopes for the allergen/antigen.
Results/conclusions: Mimotope technology is a relatively young theme in allergology and oncology. Still, proof of concept studies testing allergen and tumour mimotope vaccines suggest that mimotopes are ready for clinical trials.